What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

by
SeaportResized What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Bustling Tuckerton Seaport on a sweltering Friday night. Photo: Casey Butler

Surfers of the Pacific may know a good burrito, but their Atlantic counterparts know that crab cakes and beer are tough to top in terms of summer eats. Jersey surfers, in particular, also tend to appreciate the blurry distinction between life on a barrier island and that on the “mainland,” the beauty of surfing in the snow, and sharing stories with friends–both old and new. On Friday, July 22nd, surfers from up and down the New Jersey coast gathered at Tuckerton Seaport to gorge on all of the above at Black Sails Publications and Intercourse Brewery’s Singlefins, Boardwalks, & Storytalks II.

Narrated slideshows by N.J. natives Dick “Mez” Meseroll, Donald Cresitello, Seth Stafford, and Bruce Chrisner spanned 30 years and offered a glimpse of the state’s often forgotten surfing heritage.

Black Sails’ Jon Coen created Singlefins after the New Jersey Surf Museum opened in Tuckerton in 2010.

SurfMuseumReSize 300x199 What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

The New Jersey Surf Museum at Tuckerton Seaport. Photo: Casey Butler

“I always thought the Seaport was a really worthwhile place because it preserves the seafaring history of the Jersey Shore. The people who worked and lived on the water back in the day were the predecessors of the surf community. To me, we owe as much of our history to those pioneers as we do the early waveriders in Hawaii and California,” he said. “I grew up here–crabbing, fishing, boating, surfing in the snow. I wanted to do something that was about our own roots and encompassed the whole coast.” That coast was presently saddled with a 119-degree heat index.

Even at dark, sweat trickled down backs and legs, and coconut water was guzzled en masse. Seth Stafford strategically placed himself in front of the entrance to the Surf Museum so that every time someone opened the door, blasts of refrigerated air offered temporary relief. Despite the swelter, we were all still there because, clearly, Coen was onto something.

Mez began the show and set the mood, which was very much like that of a family reunion boasting multiple generations and lots of inside jokes. When he reached a prototypical snow shot, someone in the audience said, “You miss that, don’t ya?” Mez, who now lives in Florida, thoughtfully said, “I do miss the snow. Yeah, I really do.”
“All of the old pictures–that’s my favorite,” Stafford said. “Seeing Mez’s pictures. [This event] opens everyone’s eyes to the surfing community in New Jersey and brings everyone together.”

StaffordResize What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Seth Stafford tells the story behind one of his killer shots. Photo: Casey Butler

As slides elapsed, Cresitello’s shots of Andy Irons boosting at Manasquan and Sam Hammer’s mental drops brought open-mouthed awe to most people’s faces. Stafford’s water photos and flash work were mind-blowing. He called a picture of Matt Keenan hovering in front of a Ferris wheel his “luckiest shot ever.” Chrisner’s photos of steroidal Jersey waves looked nearly foreign and his hilarious anecdotes made a perfect event finale.

cresitello sam hammer resize What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Sam Hammer throwing fins at Jenkinsons in Point Pleasant, N.J. Photo: Donald Cresitello

HurricanGloria SquanInlet 1985 Resize What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Hurricane Gloria thrashing Manasquan Inlet in 1985. Photo: Bruce Chrisner

Mez, who was born and raised in Point Pleasant Beach, said, “To me, it’s about getting the tribe together. Surfers, traditionally, we like gatherings. We like talking about our experiences, and Singlefins–you couldn’t come up with a better way to do just that.” It also teaches the younger generation “how deep Jersey surfing roots run,” he said. “You should know your past.” The past keeps the future alive.

Seaport1Resize What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Dirty Jerz family reunion. Photo: Casey Butler

JessycaThompsonJesseHemlingerTylerHeffernanClayPollioni RS What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Jessyca Thompson, Jesse Hemlinger, Tyler Heffernan, and Clay Pollioni. Photo: Casey Butler

GleasonStaffordDePhillipoFriend RS What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Mike Gleason, Seth Stafford, and Alex DePhillipo. Photo: Casey Butler

MoransBradTrevorJamie RS What’s Summer in New Jersey, If Not Sticky and Full of Great Stories?

Brad, Trevor, and Jamie Moran. Photo: Casey Butler

 

Comments

Buy SURFBANG Gear

Buy SURFBANG T-Shirts and Stickers