East of the Boardwalk, by Earl Paul

In 1995, Earl Paul retired from his career as a union pipe fitter and moved with his wife to Ocean City, New Jersey. He had lived in a row house in Philadelphia for 60 years, and occasionally he would mention to his wife that someday he would like to live at the shore for just a year—just to see what it was like. When his time to retire came, Earl and his wife decided to take a weekend vacation to Ocean City, staying at a condo about 50 yards off the Plymouth Place beach. They enjoyed it so much that they went eight more times. Eventually, the condo owners offered the property to them and they took it. Earl’s daydream serendipitously came true.

In a perfect world, this would have been the end of the story, but tragic circumstances changed Earl's life completely. In 1997, after two wonderful years at the shore, Earl’s wife passed away. They had met when they were 16 and had talked every day for the next 45 years. It was devastating. “When I arose each morning, I noticed that my condo was getting smaller and smaller,” he says. “The walls seemed to be closing in and the ceiling was dropping down. I knew that my sanity depended on how I handled those next few weeks.” Not knowing what else to do, he made the decision that he would simply wake up every morning and go to the beach. In the years that have followed, he hasn’t stopped. East of the Boardwalk is Earl’s story about all those days he’s spent out on the sand.

Earl Paul enjoying a winter day at the beach in Ocean City NJ

The World's #1 Beach Bum

The Press of Atlantic City says, "Earl Paul calls himself the world's number one beach bum, and no one should argue."

In the peak of summer, Earl spends 12 hours a day at the beach, and in the winter, at least five—even if he has to bring a shovel to clear the snow. "You don’t get credit for a day at the beach until you go there for at least three hours," Earl says. He passes the time reading the paper, boogie boarding, and talking to friends.

Earl’s yellow and white umbrellas have become a year-round fixture on the Plymouth Place beach, and he always brings a couple of extra chairs. "My friends know where they can always find someone to talk to. I am an addict to the beach. It’s a problem, but it’s a good problem."

To date, Earl has spent at least 350 days on the beach every year, and some years he's logged over 360. "It's a hard job, but somebody's got to do it," he says. In all that time, he's seen and experienced a lot, including:

  • getting hypothermia
  • saving a seagull from drowning
  • catching a four-foot shark with a boogie board
  • being suspected of vagrancy
  • getting a visit from a seal
  • …and much more!

Earl's account of all these things, and the wisdom and insight gained while contemplating the waves rolling in, are shared in his book, East of the Boardwalk.

Reader Reviews

"We all enjoyed your book! I sat on the music pier and read the entire thing. It made me cry and laugh. Thank you for sharing your story with so many!" – Kelly, Marmora, NJ

"East of the Boardwalk is a most enjoyable, true, and accurate testimony of the past and present that lives within us and is now preserved forever. You have mastered the expression of love for the world's greatest beach town. I love it." – Joyce, Ocean City, NJ

"I enjoyed your book. You have a great sense of humor and a nice take on life." – Melinda

"Earl is truly the #1 Beach Bum, for all seasons. God bless him." – Debbie


You can purchase a copy of East of the Boardwalk by finding Earl on the beach, or simply by ordering online. Payment is simple and secure using PayPal, and Earl will package your book and personally send it to you by US Mail once your order is completed.  $19.95


Catch Earl's daily dispatches and updates right from the Plymouth Place beach on Twitter @Number1BeachBum. Check it out!


Contact Earl Paul by email at earlpaul22@comcast.net or through the mail at PO Box 1496, Ocean City, NJ 08226.