New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame set to
These 35 men and women made waves.
It's the inaugural class of the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame and the induction ceremony is set for
Saturday, June 6 at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan.
"We're properly honoring the people who have come before us," said event organizer Kris Kopsaftis, owner of the NJ Surf Shop in Lavallette and Manasquan. "The pioneers of the sport and the culture. It's the guys who have done a lot of competitive surfing and the guys who have opened up beach access and those who fought for surf beaches."
The list is made up of two batches. Those who have previously been inducted the East
Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame will be inducted into the Jersey hall as automatic members and 18 more who will be inducted directly into the Jersey hall.
Among those inducted will be Greg "Grog" Mesanko of Toms River.
"He's sort of Ocean County's most famous surfer," Kopsaftis said. "He led the whole Casino Pier crew, charging really big waves in New Jersey. From there, he got involved in the surf business opening up a store called Grog's Surf Palace (in Seaside Park) and it's become one of the main stores in Ocean County."
Carl "Tinker" West, the founder of Challenger Surfboards East, originally of Neptune, will also be inducted.
"He was one first to realize how popular surfing on the East Coast was, instead of picking for scraps on the West Coast," Kopsaftis said. "He got into a truck with a bunch of guys, some material and he started the first large-scale surfboard manufacturing company in the East."
West also had an interest in music and he managed the band Steel Mill, which featured a young Bruce Springsteen.
Inductee Vince Troniec, owner of the Islander Surf Shop on Ocean Avenue in Long Branch, also has an E Street Band connection.
"(Members of the E Street Band) lived in an apartment building behind the Islander," Kopsaftis said. "When it was cold, Clarence Clemons sold Christmas trees in the lot."
Inductee Richard Meseroll, founder of Eastern Surf Magazine. (Photo: New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame)
"Those guys were all surfers, Bruce and Clarence," Kopsaftis said.
E Street Band drummer Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, also a surfer, will perform with his group Dawg Whistle at the ceremony on Saturday. There will be a red carpet, an optional pig roast luau from Max Devros, a pop up museum and more.
WHAT: Saltwater Festival featuring the First Annual NJ Surfing Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
WHEN: 5 p.m. Saturday, June 6
WHERE: Algonquin Arts Theatre, 60 Abe Voorhees Drive, Manasquan
INFO: $25. www.algonquinarts.org; 732-528-9211
East Coast Surfing Hall Of Fame/New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame:
Dick Meseroll, Bals Bill Yerkes, Charlie Keller, Dan Heritage, Jim Philips, Sam Reid, Barbie Belyea, Janice Demorski Demetroplis, Cecil Lear, Henry Stretch Pohl, John "Bull" Carey, Dean Randazzo, Dan Heritage, Ron Dimenna, Linda Davoli, George Gerlach and Richard Lisiewski
New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame
Ray Hallgreen, Greg "Grog" Mesanko, Bill Devereax, Jack Homer, Gary Germain, Ron Curcio, Carl "Tinker" West, Kim Fioriglio, Regan Quail, Les Reitman, Vince Troniec, Jim "J.J." Jefferey, Tom Eadon, Mike "Monk" Monroe, Allen Wolf, Chuck Allison, Bob Simon and Steve Adeskavitz