All images by Julien Roubinet

January in the Northeast might seem like an unlikely time to catch a wave, but winter storms often result in some of the best surfing conditions. For locals who build their lives around an obsession for the ocean, unforgiving weather is simply part of the overall surfing experience. New York and New Jersey, in particular, are home to distinctive surfing cultures that are now being documented in a new book, Ice Cream Headaches, by writer Ed Thompson and French photographer, Julien Roubinet.

Recently funded on Indiegogo, Ice Cream Headaches — whose title refers the “brain freeze” experienced by surfers tackling cold waters — is a collection of photographs and essays that sheds light on the local East Coast surfing scene. From the process of crafting a surf board to the risks of building a career around the ocean, the book includes personal stories about both professionals and local characters, including legends like Tony Caramanico and Mikey De Temple, as well as surfing veterans like Sam Hammer, Maddie Peterson, Quincy Davis and Balaram Stack.

Thompson and Roubinet, who met surfing at Rockaway Beach, have traveled more than 4,000 miles to interview and photograph these individuals — surfers, photographers, filmmakers and more —  who are willing to don a thin wet suit and traverse through snow covered beaches just to reach the waves.

“We found ourselves thinking of New York as a surf city, something that goes by almost unnoticed by most people living here and the hundreds of thousands of visitors who pass through each year,” Thompson and Roubinet write on their website. 

Over 110 images and four essays have been complied to paint the picture of an “often-overlooked facet of life and leisure” in coastal metropolises. To learn more about Ice Cream Headaches, published by Damiani Editore, and to the pre-order the book, click here.

Next, read about our experience swimming with sharks without leaving New York.