SHREWSBURY - Surfing in the library is reality this month as the Monmouth County Library Eastern Branch features a Sun, Sea and Surf Expo on Thursday, July 21 beginning at 4 p.m.

“Whether they’re just trying it for the first time, or have been doing it for years, surfing certainly draws teens into the sport,” said Renee Swartz, chairperson of the Monmouth County Library Commission. “Living at the shore makes it easier for teens to pursue surfing as well as boating as hobbies, sports they can pursue on or near any number of beaches throughout Monmouth County.” The library wants to highlight the recreational value of the sports, as well as the health benefits of connecting with the waves, communing with nature and simply enjoying life, she continued. “So it is important for the library to offer more information, even nostalgia and history, on surfing in particular, all water sports in general.”

Surfing is particularly interesting, Swartz said, since stories about it date back to the late 18th century when a seaman traveling with Capt. James Cook first wrote about it. It’s a part of ancient Polynesian culture, and even in New Jersey, it’s got a history. Thomas Edison made a film on surfing in the early part of the 20th century and was apparently intrigued by the sport when he first saw it in Hawaii. A New Jersey Surfing Hall of Fame was created last year, and already has a number of both male and female athletes on its roster.

It’s stories like that that Jack Ryan of the NJ Surfing Hall of Fame will highlight and discuss at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 21 in the meeting room at the Library. Ryan will also speak on the impact female athletes have had on the sport, as well as the art of surfing.

Ryan’s presentation is part of the Expo which will feature several tables set up throughout the library featuring books, information, cds, and information on both rowing and surfing as skills that teach teamwork and discipline as well as provide health benefits and recreation.

Beginning at 4 p.m., there will be programs in the library as well as the library’s meeting room with speakers available to answer questions and interact with visitors.

Navesink River Rowing, an organization that has introduced hundreds of men and women to the benefits of rowing, will hold a Meet and Greet at the library from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and explain and demonstrate the many benefits of rowing for persons of all ages; the organization has rowers ranging in age from 14 to over 80 years of age.

   At 5 p.m., the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association, and educational organization designed to engage youth and adults in preserving Navesink River heritage and the maritime environment, will present a program highlighting paddling on the Navesink River with canoes the organization’s community boat building program made. Visitors can learn about rivers, tides and marine life and discuss the benefits of the Association with certified instructors.

At 6 p.m., reporter and historian Dan Radel will give lessons on how to stand up on that first wave and be safe in the ocean. Radel, who writes the Hook, Line and Sinker column for the Asbury Park Press, is a Jersey Shore native and avid surfer and paddle boarder.

   There are also art and photography displays of surfing, with many by noted photographer and surfer Chris Spiegel on display throughout the month.

   The library is also featuring two films on surfing, the documentary A Life Outside, the award winning film on the lives of six New Jersey surfers who pioneered the sport at the Casino Pier in Seaside Heights and how the destruction of the Pier in Hurricane Sandy changed their lives forever. That documentary will be shown Thursday, July 21 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, July 28 at 6:30 p.m.

   A film about mythic mavericks, the biggest waves on earth, will be featured on Saturday, July 16 and Monday, July 18, both at 2 p.m. The movie stars Jonny Weston, Gerard Butler and Elizabeth Shue.