Name: Rick “Napp” Napoliello
Hometown: Colts Neck, NJ
Major: Entrepreneurship and Event Planning
Occupation: Food Service Manager / Event Coordinator at Raceway Park in Englishtown NJ
Relationship Status: Single
HC: So, what are you involved in on campus?
RN: I’m a board member of the Ski and Board Club which means I help set up for events, plan trips, and occasionally run bus trips. I also co-founded the Surf Club last semester, which now has 70+ members. The Surf Club does trips to the beach (even in the winter) and to an indoor wave-pool in New Hampshire called SurfsUp.
HC: Cool! And what are your hobbies?
RN: I love surfing and snowboarding, fishing and spearfishing, as well as hiking. I like building and working on classic cars (mostly from the 30’s and 50’s) and motorcycles. I just recently finished rebuilding and customizing a 1981 Honda CB750 last semester and I look forward to ripping it around Amherst if it ever gets warm out! I also enjoy photography and traveling.
HC: Wow that’s a lot! So awesome. Tell me more about how you co-founded the Surf Club and why you wanted to bring a surf club to UMass.
RN: Growing up close to the Jersey Shore, I always had an affinity to the ocean. My dad and family grew up surfing and as soon as I could swim I was put on a board and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Coming up to UMass without a car my freshman year made it very hard to get to the beach when there were waves. First I started hitching rides with the Outing Club during their kayak surfing trips, and then eventually I made friends who had cars and surfed. Still, it was hard to get out there, so with some inspiration from my since-graduated friend, Travis and tremendous help from the Surf Club’s co-founder, Owen we started a club that made it possible for people without access to waves to get to the beach and make friends who also enjoy surfing. Since we officially became an RSO in the fall, we have had several trips to the beach and taught countless more how to surf for the first time. Seeing the smile on someone’s face when they ride a wave for the first time really makes it all worthwhile.
HC: How did you get into spearfishing?
RN: I have always loved fishing, whether it’s 100 miles out to sea on a boat for tuna, marlin or mahi mahi, or 10-50 feet underwater with a spear gun, the times you have together with friends and the even better meals you share after make it one of my favorite hobbies. In the past few years a lot of my friends have gotten into spearfishing, and being the water person that I am, I had to give it a try. The calmness that takes over your body as you go deeper and deeper into the murky New Jersey water is indescribable. Then once you reach the bottom everything slows down and you wait to select the best fish. It’s a very powerful experience. Fishing with a spear gun, you choose the fish you want and if hours of breath-hold training go well and your aim is straight you’ve got a meal. The supermarket is too boring anyway.
HC: You also said that you enjoy working on classic cars and motorcycles, do you own either of these?
RN: Yes. For my high school graduation my dad gave me a very special gift, a 1932 Ford Four Door that my grandfather had turned into a racecar in the 60’s. The frame, body and even the paint are original, but that’s about it. He had put a ’65 mustang engine in it and rebuilt all of the mechanicals as well as put new racing tires and rims on it. I love surprising people with how fast it is on the road. They never expect it. As I mentioned before, I just finished rebuilding a 1981 Honda CB750. Before that I had rebuilt a 1981 Yamaha GS250, both of which I bought not running for only a few hundred dollars. Being owners of a racetrack, cars run in the family, my dad has a few hot rods that I also enjoy driving from time to time, including a 1955 Ford Thunderbird that was my grandfather’s first car (also turned into a racecar) and a 1932 Ford Two Door that we just finished building together.
HC: Very cool. What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between living in New Jersey and living in Massachusetts?
RN: The snow! Seriously, I’ve never seen this much snow in my life! Besides that, the distance from the beach is a bummer, but Puffers Pond can suffice. Aside from that, its not all that different.
HC: What are characteristics you look for in potential significant others?
RN: Smart, goofy, ambitious, and they have to get my humor. I love being outdoors and doing outside activities so they should be very active and outgoing. I also love someone who is willing to go out of her comfort zone and not be afraid to try new things.
HC: And what does your ideal date look like with this kind of girl?
RN: The formal stuff is boring. I would want to go on an adventure somewhere or hang out in a cool place. A day at the beach or a day on the boat maybe.
HC: What’s been your best experience at UMass so far?
RN: There’s too many to count. Every weekend I meet new and cool people and that’s what I love. Some highlights though, are the annual Ski and Board Club trip to Quebec City, the Red Sox celebration last year, and again, meeting new people and making great friends.
HC: Your BDIC for entrepreneurship and event planning is interesting. What’s your ideal career?
RN: Back at home, my family owns and operates a large motorsports complex with a drag strip, motocross tracks, a drifting course and plenty of space for awesome events. Back in 1979, 14 years after my grandfather built it, he managed to get the Grateful Dead to come play a concert with the Marshall Tucker Band. I have no idea how he pulled it off but 100,000 people came and the entire town shut down. That’s what I want to do. I want to host the biggest, most awesome concerts, festivals and all around fun events I can possibly think of at the racetrack. Lately I’ve been in contact with some artists like the Chainsmokers and Kygo, so we’ll see where that takes me.
HC: Name the number one thing on your bucket list.
RN: Surf and hang out in Bali for a while.
Photos courtesy of @ricknapp