How crab pots taught work ethic

  • Dave Shoemaker got his first tattoo when he was 16, and was soon learning how to make them.
  • Shoemaker worked in multiple shops to hone a variety of skills.
  • He opened Ninth Wave Tattoos in 2017 with “a very clear notion of how I wanted to run the business.”

ASBURY PARK – What made Dave Shoemaker good at running Ninth Wave Tattoo, his tattoo shop on Bangs Avenue? Working with his father in commercial crabbing certainly helped.

“During the summer, I worked with my dad doing that type of work,” Shoemaker said. “We would go out to the beach and use a string of crab pots. We would catch the crabs and I ended up doing that for 12 years.

“It was a little tricky at times, but I learned how to work hard,” Shoemaker said. “It taught me the essence of running your own business, dealing with clients and meeting your deadlines. It taught me what hard work is and how to persevere. That was what was instilled in us from a young age.”

Shoemaker got into surfing at a young age, and that propelled him into an appreciation for the art of tattoos.

Dave Shoemaker, tattooist and owner of Ninth Wave Tattoo, works on a custom tattoo for Jonathan Quinones-Verace of Farmingdale as he talks about his business in Asbury Park, NJ Thursday, October 20, 2022.

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“I grew up on the beach and it was something I had always enjoyed,” Shoemaker said. “It was a creative outlet to be expressive and creative. I just loved everything about it.

“I never thought much about why I got into it,” Shoemaker said. “I had a natural engagement with the water and I was always psyched to get out there and ride the waves. After a while, I got into repairing surf boards, which I really enjoyed as well. I eventually worked in a factory putting fiberglass on surfboards and I worked out on the bay. I just loved the connection I had with the water.”

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