A locally launched attraction begins anew this Saturday and Sunday when SkimBash returns to “the pristine beach and consistently good wave conditions” of the Sea Bright shoreline, following a two-year relocation in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
If that doesn’t ring true somehow, you’re probably thinking of the September Skimbash that continued post-Sandy during the “Local Summer” interval. This, however, is the June edition that’s been unseen on the borough’s municipal beach since 2012.
The nationally sanctioned “premier Pro/Am skimboarding contest on the Jersey Shore” put Sea Bright on the map for a generation of top competitors from up and down the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts (to say nothing of the talented sharks, shredders, newbies and groms anxious to show off their skills).
From 9 am to about 4 pm both days, the stretch of sand and surf out back of Borough Hall will once again come alive with a gathering of pros who compete for points and a cash purse — a 12th annual event sponsored by Jersey Shore Skim Camp and its owner Felicia Stratton, who inaugurated Skimbash in 2003 (the tournament was folded into Skim USA’s national pro tour in 2009).
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, which while it’s grown exponentially over the past several years, is still a “raw” experience that’s largely free of corporate overkill. Local vendors who are sponsoring the contest will display a wide variety of merchandise — and attendees are advised that (unlike the post-Labor Day events) daily beach fees apply for a spot on the sand.
Sign-in commences at 8 am each morning, 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 ($140 fee), semi-pro ($65) or amateur ($50), with discounts to participants who have previously paid their yearly Skim USA membership fee, and online registration right here. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (732)598-6029.