During the frigid winter of 2015, Nantucket Photographer, Jonathan Nimerfroh arrived at his local beach to find a layer of slush sitting atop the surface of the line-up out 300 yards.
Struggling to work with frozen fingers, he snapped off as many photos as he could. He'd never even seen photos of this happening. Surely it was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.
The photos of the now famous "Slurpee Wave" were published far and wide. They became the topic of national news, displayed in art shows and even adorned on surfboards.
Then in early January, it happened again.
"You can only get to and from Nantucket by ferry. So my wife and I were leaving the island for New Year's Eve and as we were coming around Brant Point Lighthouse, I looked down and saw Slurpee waves in the wake. The next morning was New Year's Day. I saw that storm coming and I knew we had to get home. So on Jan. 1, we were on the last boat of the day back home," Nimerfroh tells ASN.
He and his wife Rebecca got home before midnight. He slept in a bit on Jan. 2 and missed a call from surfer Nick Hayden.
"He left a message that they were going to paddle out and we should come check it out. I think the windchill was -12," said Nimerfroh. "So we mosey on up and we see two trucks, Nick’s and Jamie Briard. We find them out surfing and it’s happening again. It was mostly on the inside, so as the wave would reform, it formed into a Slurpee wave. My wife and I were the only ones on the beach to see it. Those guys were stoked.”
For all the work they had done around the Slurpee waves with media and art shows, Rebecca had never seen the phenomenon in person. Nimerfroh grabbed his video camera and his still camera and began shooting as many videos and photos as he could. Hayden was first to get out of the water.
"I asked him if he wanted to get in the car and warm up, but he said he had to stay for Jamie. If anything happened to Jamie among all that ice, Nick would be the only person who had a suit and could get to him. So he stayed out in the cold," Nimerfroh joked.
Nimerfroh got the video out on Instagram and it went viral. It was the 2015 “Slurpee Wave” all over again.
"I didn't leave my desk for five days with all the emails. It was rad," he admitted to ASN.
In fairness, he couldn't go far as Winter Storm Grayson growled through the North Atlantic.
He has limited edition of prints of the new “Slurpee Waves” at the Samuel Owens Gallery in Greenwich, Connecticut.
“It might have actually been colder this week than the day of the shots," he added. "We're kind of looking forward to spring or a little trip out to Cardiff in March."
More Nature content from ASN