By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
In its eight years of wave-hopping, Skimbash has gone from family fun in the suburban seascape of Sea Bright to full-swell national attraction, drawing hundreds of participants and spectators from beyond the state.
This year, the borough is hosting, in addition to its usual end-of-summer contest, a portion of the traveling Skim U.S.A. Pro Tour, which had been held on Long Beach Island for years, said Felecia Stratton, one of the founders of Sea Bright’s Skimbash.
“They said, ‘we love it in Sea Bright. Can we do it there?'” Stratton said of the tour’s organizers. “We were thrilled.”
The Skimbash tournament, in which contestants of all ages foot a small board into an incoming wave, is typically held in September, and will continue later this year, Stratton said. With the addition of the multi-city tour stop, the burgeoning sport will now bookend the borough’s summer.
If the weather‘s right, the competition could certainly be a boon for the local economy, she said. Thousands are expected to watch, and hundreds may hit the waves in pursuit of cash prizes. And so far, the surf report looks favorable to providing “hot beach action.”
“The wave report is looking perfect,” Stratton said. “If we have good waves, we’ll have some really exciting skim boarding here.”
Stratton suggests pulling up a beach chair to catch the action and rallying for the local talent, of which, she said, there’s plenty. Sea Bright has become a breeding ground for the relatively new sport, she said.
“It’s really nice bringing that new generation of skim boarders in,” she said. “It would really be awesome to get a good crowd out there to support the local kids.”
The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the public beach behind borough hall. Registration is closed to contestants, but to watch it’s $8.
For more details and the schedule of events, visit the Skimbash website.