SEA BRIGHT: SKIMMING WITH THE ‘SHARKS’

SkimbashTop skimboarding talent converges on Sea Bright this weekend as the annual Skimbash event brings the Skim USA Pro/Am Tour action to the borough’s municipal beach. (File photos by Peter Lindner) 

It’s fast becoming one of the most anticipated sporting events of that post-Labor Day interlude known as Local Summer — a nationally sanctioned tournament that draws top competitors from up and down the Atlantic shores, as well as the Gulf Coast.

Not even the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy could wipe out the spirit of SkimBash, billed as the “premier Pro/Am skimboarding contest on the Jersey Shore,” and an annual occurrence that’s put Sea Bright on the map for a certain segment of the populace — thanks in large part to Jersey Shore Skim Camp owner Felecia Stratton, who inaugurated Skimbash in 2003 (it was folded into Skim USA’s national pro tour in 2009).

On Saturday and Sunday, September 6 and 7, the stretch of sand and surf out back of Borough Hall will once again come alive with a gathering of the pros who compete for cash — in addition to the talented sharks, shredders, newbies and groms anxious to show off their skills, and the all-ages aficionados who are there to cheer on their favorites.

Displaying an arsenal of leaps, spins, and acrobatics that have more in common with skateboarding than with surfboarding, the polished competitors attract a fanbase that’s not afraid to make clear its champions of choice. And if the crashing, sometimes slapstick finishes to the maneuvers have the spills running neck-and-neck with the thrills, there’s no doubt that this an event that’s sufficiently serious to attract contestants from many hundreds of miles away. There’s serious cash at stake, too, with thousands of dollars in prize money awarded to the top professionals.

There’s also a considerable spectator element to the two-day affair, with a great contingent of locals coming out to the beach as early as 8 am, to be part of an event which — while it’s grown by leaps and bounds over the past several years — is still a “raw” and fun experience that hasn’t been overrun by corporate buzzkill and overkill.

Sign-in commences at 8 am on September 6 and 7, with Saturday devoted to preliminary heats, and Sunday’s action centered around the semifinals and finals. There’s still time to enter as a pro ($100 fee), semi-pro ($80) or amateur ($30), with online registration right here – and as always, there’s no charge to come on out to the beautiful September beach and be a spectator.

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