New Jersey isn't exactly the easiest place to be a female surfer. Cold water, heavy waves, and a hardcore local surf scene are all pretty intimidating for newcomers, so the Garden State has decidedly less wahines than places like Florida, California, Hawaii, or Australia. But that's not to say that there isn't still a strong women's surfing community. And New Jersey clothing company Jetty does its part each year to ensure that community continues to grow and flourish by bringing everyone together for a little bonding and friendly competition at the annual Coquina Jam.
This year's edition went down on August 3rd at the Taylor Avenue beach in Beach Haven, NJ, and 32 ladies showed up ready to rip, though the conditions were less than favorable. The waves were more dribbling than pumping, and the skies were overcast, but the fact that all proceeds from the event benefited David's Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation — and went straight to local breast cancer patients — was enough to brighten everyone's day. And now that the final tally is in, everyone who took part in the Coquina Jam can hold their heads high, knowing that they helped to raise more than $7,500 this year alone.
As far as the competition itself goes, the Coquina Jam is a bracket-style tournament designed to strengthen the bonds between New Jersey's female surfers by bringing women of different generations together through the random pairing of each younger surfer with a more experienced surfer. These teams of two then face off against each other in the bracket system. This year, the final teams left standing were 15-year-old Taylor Herman and teammate Beth Mann, 46, and 16-year-old globe-trotter Selena Moberly and her teammate, 26-year-old Brittany Gomulka. The competition was stiff, and all the ladies stayed busy, surfing a combined total of 24 waves throughout the final, but in the end, Moberly and Gomulka were awarded the Coquina Jam trophy. There was certainly no love lost though, as Herman told Jetty that the experience of getting to know some of her peers was rewarding enough.
"This was my first time at the event," she said. "I think it's so cool to have so many women of all ages." And that's really the entire point. The Coquina Jam is all about strengthening bonds: getting a few girls together to share stories and waves while helping out a good cause. And it must be working. Because each year, the event just seems to get bigger and bigger. So, until next year, ladies, keep reppin' it loud and proud for the Garden State.