Clean Ocean Action

Waves of Thanks for a Swell 2023 COA Surf Open

The Small to the Tall Gathered to Celebrate the Ocean at the 6th Annual Surf Open Ocean at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch, NJ 

Long Branch, NJ – It was a clear, sunny, fall Sunday on October 8, 2023, as Clean Ocean Action hosted its 6th Annual Surf Open contest at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch, NJ. Surfers and spectators were welcomed with consistent waves all day, making for an exciting competition and celebration of the pristine ocean following Tropical Storm Ophelia. The COA crew was supported largely throughout the day by our fabulous volunteers, including former students of COA’s Student Environmental Leaders & Advocates (SEAL) Program for high school students and supporters from the community! Also, important to the success include Contest Director, Tyler Thompson, who dedicates hundreds of hours for months to coordinate the numerous details of the contest, Head Judges Joe Schluter of Fair Haven, Tom Eadon of Rumson, and Tyler Vaughan of Red Bank, who oversee the judges and ensure a smooth process from dawn to dark on contest day, as well as the several judges who volunteered their day to score the contestants. Pink Pineapple Surf was also present with their tent, tables, and team to assist with kids' fun, educational activities. 

“Surfers know more than most how important clean waves are. It is inspiring to have their support for Clean Ocean Action through the Surf Open for what is now a three-generation event. The growing support and enthusiasm from the business community is also empowering. Together we can protect and defend the ocean,” said Cindy Zipf, Executive Director of Clean Ocean Action. 

Aerial view of the COA Surf Open at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park in Long Branch, NJ 

Photo By: Michael McKenna Photography 


This year’s Surf Open was a contest of many firsts, including surpassing previous years’ income by raising over $36,000 to support Clean Ocean Action due to overwhelming support from sponsors, contestants, and supporters. COA had its first-ever Tsunami level sponsor, thanks to the support of DEFENDER by Land Rover. Double Overhead sponsors were 2nd Jetty Seafood, Warshauer Electric Supply and Woodside Pools NJ; Overhead sponsors were Butcher's Block, Hatteras Printing, Hearthly Organic, Klein Chiropractic Institute, Marinus Financial LLC, MCM Electric, and Red Rabbit Aesthetics; Ground Swell sponsors were Advisor Solar Group, Coffee Surf Co, Goldtinker, G's Trees, Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C., Long Branch Iron & Metal Works, Offshore Coffee Roasters, Parnagian Architects, S. W. Decorators, Shovlin Mattress Factory, SkyTop Landscaping, Smootch, Summa Love Surf Camp, Suneagles Golf Club, Toes over the Nose Surf School, and Wells Painting. 

This year’s Surf Open received its most overwhelming support of In-Kind donations, including thousands of dollars’ worth of gear from international companies such as Vuori, Volcom, Oakley, Katin, Former, and Adelio Wetsuits, as well as from local businesses such as AB Fit, Greenlines, Lucky Dog Surf Co, North Beach Surf, Poe, and Traveling Mermaid; pizzas were donated for the public from Scala’s Pizzeria, and Smootch drinks were enjoyed by all, to name a few!  

The COA crew is positively overwhelmed by the immense support from previous and newly fostered community relationships that have developed from this SEA-rific day of sea, sun, and surf.  

Every year I’m blown away by the success of the COA Surf Open. We grow each year, and this year was no different. Not only are funds increased, bringing in new sponsors to help Clean Ocean Action continue to fight to keep the ocean clean and industrialization-free, but also community involvement is increased,” said Tyler Thompson, volunteer Contest Director of COA Surf Open. “It is truly inspiring to see the excitement from surfers of all ages every year and how much they and the spectators look forward to the contest. It would not be as successful of an event without the help of our judges, volunteers, and sponsors. The entire day is a testament to how special the ocean and environment are and how much people care. Special thanks to the Monmouth County Park Service for helping make the contest such a success by allowing us to hold the contest when the waves and conditions are the best. We are all already looking forward to next year!”    

This was the first year of running double heats for most of the day which added to the momentum and helped expedite the contest. Groms as young as 5 years old and Master’s age 60+ took to the surf and crushed it from start to finish. Meanwhile, from 9am – 2pm, kids were engaged with fun, eco-focused activities, assisted by the Pink Pineapple Surf crew, which included necklace making, seashell painting, and surfboard hopping (a lawless game created by the little ones themselves with Pink Pineapple foam surfboards as props!)  



Surfboard hopping—the sand is lava! 



The kids use paint markers to decorate shells! Some of the kids who joined for the day are  

from long time COA supporter and sponsor, Summa Love Surf Camp. 


The Results 


Surf Open Pro Division Contest Winner, Garrett Servis.  

Photo By: Ryan Struck Photography 

Taking first place in the Pro Division, and in the Men’s 18 and Up Division, Garrett Servis was ripping! His exciting style and excellent precision blew away the judges. Taking second place in both the Pro and Men’s Division, close competitor Pat Parenty showed consistency throughout the competition.  


Surf Open Pro Division Finalists (left to right) Garrett Servis in 1st place, Drew McCoy 5th place,  

Brian Parnagian 4th place, Jon Smyth 3rd place, and Pat Parenty 2nd place. 

Photo By: Ryan Struck Photography 

Garrett’s winnings for taking first place in the Pro included a $500 award, which he immediately donated to Clean Ocean Action for their ocean protection efforts. Waves of thanks, Garrett, for the incredibly thoughtful donation and your true-blue commitment to the ocean! Garrett also received a custom crafted metal sculpture award from JR Janosko of JDR Home Repair & Maintenance, made from re-purposed metal. JR donated similar sculptures and re-purposed wood frames for the prints that artists Ronnie Jackson donated for 1st Place winners in all nine divisions. 

Congratulations to Makena Taylor for her incredible commitment and showmanship, snagging first place in both Jr Women’s 13-17 and Women’s 18 and Up Divisions! Coming in a close second in the Jr Women’s Division, was 11-year-old Keira Soleau—who won the Grom Girls 12 and Under—and wowed the crowd with her excellent performance. Fletcher Heinle also surfed above his age, winning both Grom Boys 12 and Under and Jr. Men’s 13-17 divisions.  


Grom Girls 12 & Under winner, Keira Soleau (solo) and winner of Jr. Women’s 13-17 and Women’s 18 & Up divisions, Makena Taylor (background). 

Photo By: Ryan Struck Photography 


Surf Open Jr Men’s 13-17 Division Finalists (left to right) Fletcher Heinle in 1st place, Dane Casey 4th place, Seamus Waltsak 3rd place,                and Finn Holloway 2nd place 

Photo By: Ryan Struck Photography 

Also, congratulations to Open Longboard division winner, Jake O’Donnell who put on an incredible and stylish show all day, as well as Legends division winner, Steven Schrenk, and Master’s 60 and Up winner, Scott “The General” Thompson for phenomenal and creative performances.  


Surfer and winner of Open Longboard division, Jake O’Donnell 

Photo By: Jack Flaherty Photography 

Open Longboard Division Finalists (left to right) Jake O’Donnell in 1st place, Michael Melega 2nd place, 

Scott Thompson 3rd place, and Gary Finnegan Sr. 4th place 

Photo By: Ryan Struck Photography 

“The outpouring of support from both past and new supporters really touched my heart. Clean Ocean Action not only has years and years of notable work for the betterment of our waterways, beaches and marine life, it also has an infectious effect on individuals throughout the community! A real family-oriented feel of unification that makes me so proud and honored to be a part of COA. The Surf Open had people of all ages and walks of life come together for such an amazing cause! This is what it’s all about,” said Jocelyn Graham, COA’s Resource & Development Director. 

Surfers and spectators kicked back with delicious complimentary beverages, including cold brew coffee courtesy of Coffee Surf Co and all-natural, no-caffeine energy drinks, thanks to Smootch. Amazing (and warm!) food was provided by Scala’s Pizzeria and Brewton’s Restaurant & Catering. Fanagel the Bagel and Jersey Mikes provided breakfast and lunch for COA's dedicated volunteers who helped make this event happen from start to finish with registration, judging, set up, and breakdown. Waves of thanks to all for their generous support and passionate commitment to the ocean! 


Winners from each division received a “North End” print donated by CarvinArt  

in a custom frame made of reclaimed wood donated by JDR Home Repair 

Each contestant received amazing prizes, including repurposed trophies donated by surfer Carly Coble; trophy plaques and replating kindly donated by G&M Trophy Co; fantastic metal sculptures for first place awards and beautifully handmade frames from repurposed wood created by JR Janosko, owner of JDR Home Repair & Maintenance LLC; and within the handcrafted frames, a stunning print of the iconic “North End” by in-kind sponsor, and local surfer, Ronnie Jackson of CarvinArt. Prizes were given to the top 5 winners in each of the nine divisions. The prizes were generously donated by 2nd Jetty Seafood, AB Fitness Monmouth Beach, Adelio Wetsuits, Amy’s Diner, Captain Fin Co, Caputo’s Pastry Shoppe, CarvinArt, Greenlines, Lucky Dog Surf Co, North Beach Surf, Oakley, On the Water LBI, Poe, TAK Waterman, The Traveling Mermaid, Volcom, and Vuori. 

COA is most grateful to the remarkable community-wide collaboration that made the event possible beginning with the outstanding committee who brought it all together: Tyler Thompson, Contest Director; Kyle Hopfensperger of 2nd Jetty Seafood in Sea Bright; Mike Gleason and Nick Spadavecchia of TAK Waterman Surf n Fish in Long Branch; Rick Jones, Beach Techno Wizard and his assistants Sean Power, Don Jones, and Guy Gallo; dawn patrol registration team Jess O'Hagen, Mary Jane O’Hare, Pat Raphael, and Mary Thompson; Doug Lynch; Basil Henning; Tyler Vaughan; SEAL students; and extended Thompson Family who have been dedicated to COA since 1984.  Special thank you to Head Judges Tom Eadon, Joe Schluter, and Tyler Vaughn; Co-announcer and judge Max Berry, and judges Owen Eastwood, Gerard Faccone, Jamian Laviola, Sal Martelli (owner and sponsor of Suneagles Golf Club) Derf McTighe, Brian Parnagian, Jon Smyth, Mark Thompson, Steve Walker, Jess Lisa, Steve Schrenk, and Rol Woolson.  



COA Surf Open 2023 Judges 

Special recognition also to the creative volunteer photographers who share their talents with COA to capture exciting moments both in the water and on the beach: Jack Flaherty, Michael McKenna, Robert Siliato, Brian Shea, and Ryan Struck. 

The Monmouth County Freeholders and especially the Monmouth County Parks and Recreation Commission have COA’s sincere and beachy gratitude for allowing the event to take place when the surf conditions align at Seven Presidents Oceanfront Park, Long Branch, NJ. 


Our SEA-rific Tsunami Sponsor for their generous donation and support for the ocean through COA's Surf Open event:



Our wonderful Double Overhead Sponsors:



Our fantastic Overhead Sponsors:




Our fabulous Ground Swell Sponsors:

Advisors Solar Group

Coffee Surf Co.


G's Trees

Jardim, Meisner, & Susser, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Long Branch Iron and Metal Works

Offshore Coffee Roasters

Parnagian Architects

Shovlin Mattress Factory

Skytop Landscaping


Summa Love Surf Camp

Suneagles Golf Club

S. W. Decorators

Toes Over the Nose Surf School

Wells Painting 



49 Avenel Blvd.
Long Branch, NJ 07740

Field Office:

Gateway National Recreation Area
Sandy Hook, New Jersey

Voice: (732) 872-0111
FAX: (732) 872-8041

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