Words: Amy Feminella
Photos: Jeff Smith
Opportunity. Timing. Love. These three things were all that was needed to create Zimzala, a surf art and music charity event.
Add to that the tremendous amount of nationwide support from sponsors, donors and media alike, and the Jersey-born Zimzala was able to bring together over 600 guests from the East Coast surfing community in support of SurfAid International.
SurfAid is a non-profit humanitarian aid organization dedicated to the alleviation of human suffering. It was founded by Dr. Dave Jenkins after a 1999 surf trip to the Mentawai Islands. There for the joy of the waves, he witnessed the locals suffering from deadly diseases that could be easily treated and prevented. The discrepancy of lifestyles prompted him to create an organization that would utilize the surfing community to help those in the areas of the world we love so much.
Now, with SurfAid active in over 53 countries, spreading their mission is crucial to their continued success. This is especially true for the East Coast, where much of this demographic is still learning about SurfAid’s work.
That’s how I, Amy Feminella, fellow Okoto Apparel owners, Joe and Mike Hodnicki, surf artist Jay Alders and Chelsea Rabbe of Sun Dreams Productions got involved.
The five of us met at an industry event not even a year ago, and quickly became friends. Whether it was our mutual love for the ocean, philanthropic nature, or just plain enthusiasm, I’m not sure … we just knew we wanted to work together. The idea of throwing an East Coast charity event came about when friends of ours at SurfAid said they were working to build a stronger presence here.
For us, it was mixing compassion with opportunity, and giving others the chance to get involved. It’s how all of our businesses came about, how our friendships started and what Zimzala was born from.
The evening’s entertainment included live musical performances by Maryland natives Shoreline, the Jersey Shore/Philadelphia favorite Ted Hammock and Echo Movement, an eight piece surf reggae band from New Jersey.
Zimzala’s hypnotic headlining performance was by the North Shore legend and two-time Kokua performer, Paula Fuga.
Auctions included over 75 items donated from local and national businesses like Shark River Kayak Co., ProLite, Bustin Boards, Ocean Minded, Costa Surf Tours and many, many more.
The artwork displayed and auctioned off was donated by Jay Alders, and included his newest piece, “Second Glance”. Joe Hodnicki displayed some of Okoto’s SurfAid shirts and the original sketches they were inspired by. Other pieces among them were from Heather Brown, Wade Koniakowsky, John Severson, Robb Havassy, Erik Abel, Drew Brophy, Ronnie Jackson to name a few.
Photography included prints from Sean Davey, Jeff Smith, Matt Clark, Jeff Divine, DJ Struntz and others.
The island-style cuisine was available courtesy of Surf Taco, the good vibes Jersey Shore chain of eight locations.
Starbucks of Monmouth County donated to the event and provided a free frappuccino and coffee bar all night.
One of the visual highlights of the evening was the promotional staff provided by Sun Dreams Productions. The lovely ladies in their signature bright blue bikinis mingled with the crowd and kept the event’s activities running smoothly.
A few art items will be up for auction online, as they were donated back to further support the cause. Zimzala merchandise will also be available soon.
The first annual Zimzala exceeded our expectations in so many ways, and we would like to thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. Without all of your contributions, none of this would have been possible.
More information can be found at TheZimzala.com.