BELMAR, NJ For nearly 40 years, Don Tarrant has been a steadfast advocate for the surfing community — not only as a surfer, but as owner of Eastern Lines Surf Shop in Belmar, and supporter of both amateur and professional surfing.

In fact, he’s credited with putting Belmar on the map as a destination for surfing competitions, including the Eastern Surfing Association’s annual Northeast Regional Surfing Championship and his own signature event — the Belmar Pro, which every September attracts the best surfers from around the world to the 17th to 18th Avenue beachfront.

This longstanding commitment to the sport — and to his profession — has earned Tarrant a coveted place in the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame (NJSHOF), which recently held its induction ceremony at the Algonquin Arts Theatre in Manasquan. He was among 12 individuals selected to join this elite group that now consists of 57 lifetime members.

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“This is a great honor, to be mentioned with so many of the state’s most legendary surfers,” he said, adding that NJSHOF plays a major role in preserving the history of surfing in New Jersey.

With its headquarters at the Tuckerton Seaport Museum, NJSHOF is a nonprofit group dedicated to honoring surfers, artists, media/photographers and those with significant achievements in the surf community from Sandy Hook to Cape May. It inducts new members every two years.

Tarrant began surfing at age 12, primarily in Seaside Heights and not far from his childhood home. But as soon as he started driving, he would travel regularly to the Belmar area, where he would eventually plant his surfing roots.

After operating his original shop, Zodiac Surf & Skate, in downtown Belmar during the 1980s — changing its name to Eastern Lines Surf Shop during that time — Tarrant moved the business down to the beachfront in 1991.

Since then, the family-run store at 1605 Ocean Avenue has become the hub for the surfing community, located directly across from the two-block strip of oceanfront that has also emerged as one of the most popular surfing beaches along the Jersey Shore.

And most everyone would agree, including the selection committee for the New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame, Tarrant has undoubtedly been the driving force for making that happen.

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