Surfing culture, Superstorm recovery at Ocean County

TOMS RIVER –  At the Jersey Shore surfing is more than a sport; it is a cultural phenomenon that has a spiritual, economic, humanitarian and social influence on a growing community in Ocean County.

The Ocean County Library will present two programs that explore that phenomenon.

“Ride the Wave of Recovery,” a panel discussion and film series with local surfers, gives people the opportunity to see inside that community, how it was affected by Superstorm Sandy and how it assisted its neighbors during the recovery process.

A short documentary film “East Coast Rising: A Surfer’s Tale of Hurricane Sandy,” will kickoff the program. This film contains mature language.

The discussions will be moderated by Paul Hart, director of the Tuckerton Seaport that also houses the New Jersey Surf Museum. Topics to be discussed include the evolution of surfing and how the surfing community helped the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy. 

These panels will take place on Wednesday Oct. 16 at the Long Beach Island branch (217 S. Central Av., Surf City; (609) 494-2480) at 7 p.m., and at the Point Pleasant Borough branch (834 Beaver Dam Rd. (732) 295-1555) on Monday Oct. 21 at 6 p.m.

Because clean water and good waves are needed for surfing, many surfers have taken up the role of environmental activists. In addition many in this community feel an intense emotional and spiritual connection with the sea. After Superstorm Sandy, this community took a strong role in helping to rebuild the beaches and to help those people in need. Surfers are active and involved in restore-the-shore dialogues.

“Landfall: The Eyes of Sandy,” a film produced by A.D. Pictures, will be shown as an additional program. The film documents the approach and aftermath of Superstorm Sandy in the Stafford and Long Beach Island communities.

The film will be shown at the Pt. Pleasant Borough branch Wednesday Oct. 16 and the Long Beach Island branch on Monday Oct. 28. Both showings will begin at 6:30 p.m.

The programs are free and open to the public but registration is required. To register telephone the branch or visit the library’s Website at www.theoceancountylibrary.org .

In addition to those programs, two artists will display their works about the surfing community.

Photographs by Ann Coen will be displayed at the Long Beach Island branch during October, featuring surf and recovery photos.

The artwork of Chris Lesniak, a recent Toms River High School North graduate, will be featured at the Toms River branch. It will showcase several pairs of hand-painted Vans brand sneakers as well as more traditional art.

These programs were made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in these programs do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.

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