Jetty Coquina Jam 2019

Jetty’s Coquina Jam to Expand Effort to Raise Funds for David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation

11th Annual all-female surf event to be held Sunday in Brant Beach
By Jon Coen | Jul 24, 2019
Photo by: Dan Pryzgocki The Jetty Coquina Jam, featuring female surfers of all ages, goes down on the 68th Street beach in Brant Beach on Sunday, July 28. Sammy Jo Alvarez of Beach Haven, who won the event with partner Morgan Iglay in 2018, cross steps her way to the podium.

The Jetty Coquina Jam has come a long way since a little gathering 10 summers ago on a weeknight in Harvey Cedars. The event has grown, and this year’s 11th annual all-female surf event, on Sunday, July 28, will be biggest yet, and possibly the best attended surfing contest in LBI’s history.

The first contest was a calm weeknight in 2010. The waves were glassy. Thirty-two local women came together for the first all-female surf event the community had ever seen.

A year earlier, Jetty had held its Clam Jam in giant northeast swell, a local event designed to bring the community together that included several female heats. When there was simply too much to fit into one day, Jetty decided to hold a separate contest that would highlight just the female surfers. The Coquina Jam, named for the colorful tiny bivalves found in the surf, was born.

Each year, the event attracts both local and regional surfers and a growing number of spectators. Island business owners such as Mary Tantillo of SwellColors Glass Studio and Mary Frack, a local musician/gymnastics coach who has been surfing LBI since the ’70s, will compete. Beach Haven native Jamie DeWitt, who has a collection of professional surfing trophies going back to the early 2000s, returns each year to surf and inspire young girls who are just learning.

By 2010, Jetty CFO and founding partner Jeremy DeFilippis decided to direct the funds raised to David’s Dream & Believe Cancer Foundation, the then-fledgling organization started by stage IV cancer survivor David Caldarella.

Caldarella, a surfer and former lifeguard, had known DeFilippis growing up, and they had been in touch since Caldarella’s recovery. DeFilippis would become a board member of the foundation, which has now helped hundreds of families in New Jersey.

“The partnership between Jetty and DDBCF has a substantial impact on both organizations,” Caldarella explained. “Jeremy and myself have been friends for the better part of 25 years, and both of us and our organizations are committed to supporting our local and regional community.”

To date, Jetty has donated over $70,000 to this organization.

“Giving back is just part of our DNA,” said DeFilippis. “Our second year in business we were sending a few hundred dollars down to New Orleans after Katrina. Now between the money we’ve raised in Sandy relief through our Jetty Rock Foundation and what we give to David’s Dream & Believe, we just recently topped $1 million in donations,

“We’ve all lost someone to cancer. We’re really proud to raise this money that we know is going directly to families within a few days.”

This year, Jetty has committed itself to aiding David’s Dream & Believe in helping even more families, first by expanding the field to 64 women. They will be randomly paired by age in the tradition of the Clam and Coquina Jams (one surfer younger, one older) to make 32 teams competing in a “bracket”-style competition.

Additionally, Jetty has partnered with four local businesses this year, each of which will sponsor a bracket. The female competitors are being encouraged to raise money online leading up to the event, using the stories of David’s Dream & Believe and Jetty. By the event, Fantasy Island, the Tide Table Restaurant Group, the Wright Law Firm and Farias Surf and Sport/Five O Six Surf Boutique will all match the donations of their brackets.

“I am particularly excited about this new addition to the contest this year,” said David’s Dream Executive Director Dani Corso. “Each competitor will be encouraged to crowdfund as an individual, as a team and as part of a bracket. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the online campaign will be directed to female patients battling a cancer diagnosis.

“This is our first year of crowdfunding for Coquina, but our Shave The Date event in November raised $30,000 for New Jersey males, and I am certain that with the girls’ help we can crush that number.”

Anyone can follow their favorite surfer to donate or simply text “Coquina” to 71777. The decision was made to add this fundraising element for 2019 as there has been an increase in demand.

“In the first six months of this year, we were able to provide $200,327 in direct financial assistance to 174 families affected by a cancer diagnosis,” Corso said. “The other day, we received seven applications from cancer patients and now have 30 patients in queue. The Coquina Jam has the potential to answer every request from females currently awaiting funding. That’s a quantifiable impact, and it gives me chills to know that together we can change worlds.”

Also, for the second year Hackensack Meridian Health Southern Ocean Medical Center will present the Coquina Jam. The overall goal is to be the largest raised and donated amount yet.

“Jeremy will turn around the donations from the event within a couple days to DDBCF, and we will direct 100 percent of the proceeds right back to local females battling a cancer diagnosis,” said Caldarella.

The Coquina Jam will once again take place at 68th Street in Brant Beach near the Long Beach Township municipal building, with Kubel’s Too setting up the beach and a live band in the afternoon. The Tide Table Group of restaurants will have the traditional clams on the half shell, a full raw bar and grill. The middle of the day will feature a free surf clinic for the children of families battling cancer.

The ocean has not shown much energy to this point in the summer. Although it’s early, Sunday’s forecast calls for small leftover south windswell with a chance for small long-period underlying swell and relatively light winds. Check-in for competitors begins at 7 a.m., and the contest will start promptly at 8. The no-wave date is Aug. 4.

— Jon Coen

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