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‘Slurpee waves’ again wash ashore on Nantucket

One good thing about this winter? Slurpee waves!
One good thing about this winter? Slurpee waves!

The long cold snap this week brought on some strange phenomenons, including “sharksicles” found washed up on Cape Cod beaches; ice chunks stacked along the coast, crushing docks in a scene like something plucked from “The Revenant”; and increasing use of the term “bombogenesis,” a word that likely wasn’t in most daily lexicons.

On Tuesday, for the second time in at least three years, another oddity was added to that list: so-called “Slurpee waves” — slush-like ocean water that slowly rolls towards the shoreline in a hypnotizing fashion.

Nantucket resident Jonathan Nimerfroh spotted the stunning sight after a few friends called him up this week and invited him to take photographs as they surfed the chilly waters at Nantucket’s Nobadeer Beach, a stretch of land that’s popular amongst island surfers.


“I drove right up there and I was like, ‘Oh my God, the waves are frozen and these guys are out surfing,’ ” he said.

The full-time photographer was familiar with the spectacle. In 2015, he stumbled upon the icy-waves while out exploring with his camera during a particularly frigid February day. Witnessing the steady roll of the waves for a second time didn’t diminish the charm.

Jonathan Nimerfroh

“I was really surprised they came back,” he said. “My wife, Rebecca, had never seen them in person. She was just blown away.”

The first time Nimerfroh took images of the waves, he stood in two feet of snow as he watched the swells crash about 300 yards from the shore. This time, the “Slurpee stuff,” he said, was breaking closer to his feet.

“They would break all the way to the beach,” he said. “I was on the shoreline taking photos and they were washing up against my boots — I was trying to not get my boots wet.”


Steve Annear can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.