“It’s about understanding the ocean, respecting the ocean, and all the environment that goes around it.” After all, the art of surfing at its core is about a peaceful coexistence with the ocean.
The beach is beautiful, and the attitudes are fearless—so what better place than Asbury Park for premier surf school Summertime Surf to establish their fifth location? Offering private and group surfing and stand-up paddle lessons, as well as guided ecotours, Summertime Surf has quickly become a staple of community life since its opening in 2013.
The school is set up for enthusiasts of all ages to come to learn about the art of surfing, and much more. The goal, says Mark Gilmartin (operations director of Summertime Surf), is to “change the surfer stereotype that was established in the ’60s and ’70s era.” There’s the tactical aspect to lessons of course, but programs are designed to go way beyond. A core focus on environmental responsibility, tips for healthy living, and an emphasis on the surrounding ecosystem are all embedded into the curriculum.
At the heart of the school is the idea that the ocean should be shared by all. Every year, iStar sponsors a group of children from the local Boys and Girls Club, providing them with a scholarship to the surf school. In just a week, these kids–many of whom have grown up nearby but with very limited access to the beach and ocean–make extraordinary strides. As Gilmartin notes, “The progression and level of comfort they gain in those couple of days is pretty astounding.”
The instructors at Summertime Surf take their responsibility seriously. Out of the water, there are organized beach cleanups, and the sale of re-usable water bottles with the hope of lessening plastic waste. They also partner with Clean Ocean Action, a nonprofit working to protect the waterways through a number of means.
According to Gilmartin, “It’s about understanding the ocean, respecting the ocean, and all the environment that goes around it.” After all, the art of surfing at its core is about a peaceful coexistence with the ocean. Summertime Surf works tirelessly to instill this sense of responsibility in all of its patrons– protecting the ocean to ensure many, many more years of happy surfing.