Eastern Lines began its existence in a little store in the Acme shopping center in Belmar in February 1981, although in the early years the shop was known as Zodiac Surf & Skate. Although I grew up in the Seaside Heights area, when I began to look around for a location for a shop, Belmar was an easy choice. Besides the fact that there was no other shop there, Belmar has always been rich in the surfing history of the Jersey Shore.
In the 60’s many surf shops flourished in Belmar, Manatee, Hobie, Challenger, and West Winds, to name a few. Many surfers in New Jersey in the 60’s got their first surfboard in Belmar. Led by the East Coast Hall of Fame member, Cecil Lear (pictured right: holding his single fin), Belmar was the first municipality in NJ to open a full time surfing beach during the summer season. Cecil also pioneered amateur surfing as a sport on the East Coast. He held surf contests all along the East Coast and founded the Eastern Surfing Association.
Zodiac slowly grew both in inventory and popularity during the ensuing years. In 1984, Zodiac moved across the parking lot to the Pyanoe Plaza. The store was twice the size with lots of great display area. During this time Zodiac Surfboards was born. Working out of a hangar at Allaire Airport, we produced hundreds of surfboards during the next few years.
In 1986, my brothers Tony and Michael decided that they wanted to go on their own way. I thought that I was going to move permanently to Hawaii. We closed Zodiac.
After a stint in Hawaii (pictured left:DT in Hawaii, 1986), I returned to open Eastern Lines Surf Shop on Main street in Belmar in October 1986. Again we spent the next several years doing the growing thing aided greatly by our terrific relationships with O’Neill and Billabong.
In 1992 we made the move to our current location on Ocean Avenue. Once again, we increased our square footage. Being located right on the beach in busy Summertime Belmar, our business exploded. I also petitioned the Belmar Town Council to move the small surfing beach to a greatly expanded location directly across the street from the shop. The current surfing beach location has become one of the most popular surfing beaches at the Jersey Shore.
We’ve been lucky enough over the years to make a great many friends in the Belmar area. Bill Simone, the Buckeley brothers, Benj Scwartz, Bob Wilkie, Dave Cesareo, Bob Riggs, Harry Harsin,and Danny Stockdale are a few among the many friends of Eastern Lines. Many of these customers sons and daughters have continued to support us.
In 1997, along with my partner Kim Mayer, we opened Eastern Lines 2 on Grand Central Avenue in Lavallette. Once again we decided to open a shop in Lavallette based partly on the fact that it has such a rich surfing tradition and legacy. We located the shop at the corner of Brown Avenue, which coincidently is also the Lavallette surfing beach.
During the last 3 years we’ve begun to build those strong bonds with customers and new friends in Lavallette. We gear the Lavallette location more toward the older surfer and stock lots of funboards and longboards.
During the last few years we’ve run free surfing clinics in the Summer for boys and girls 14 and under. These clinics have become wildly popular and are always filled within days of the announced schedule.
In April 2001 we moved into our new store in Belmar(pictured left). Located just two doors to the South, the new shop has two floors and finally allowed us to greatly expand our surfboard, bodyboard, wetsuit, and skateboard display areas.
Our philosophy has always been based on the three words: Soul ,Tradition , & Experience . As Eastern Lines continues forward we’ll never lose sight of those ideals!