Skimtown USA

by Dave on October 15, 2009

Skimboarders from around the country will gather on Dewey Beach this Saturday to begin an annual ritual that dates back nearly 30 years: the East Coast Skimboarding Championships.

The event has come a long way since its humble beginnings to become not only one of the biggest events in skimboarding, but one of the most recognizable events on the Delaware beach summer calendar.

“It marked the beginning of skimboarding being a big thing in Dewey Beach,” says professional skimboarder Jason Wilson, owner of Alley Oop Skim in Dewey Beach. “My father started the event because he originally owned Dewey Beach Surf & Sport and a skimboard company, Sandblaster Skimboards, and he began running that event to promote both of those things. And it’s grown and grown. We’re going into our 28th year now. The event is what got skimboarders into Dewey Beach and basically put Dewey Beach on the map as the east coast skimboarding capital.”

But promotion alone did not create the event as it stands today. Mother nature had a hand as well.

“Along with that,” adds Wilson, “the shore break is excellent here in Dewey Beach, which makes it a great place for skimboarding. As you know, there’s not the best waves for surfing all the time because it breaks right on the beach, so with all that shore break out there, it produces some great skimboarders here in Dewey Beach.”

The Championships also serve as an annual milestone for local skimboarders: that last hurrah before a return to school rudely interrupts the summer.

“It’s definitely a premier event,” says Wilson, “and it’s almost like the capper to the summer. It’s the middle of August. It’s a lot of kids’ last weekend at the beach, and I know when I was younger the end of summer was marked by the East Coast Skimboarding Championships.

“It’s cool that the town has embraced skimboarding so much because it is something that’s good for this town.”

The 2009 East Coast Skimboarding Championships will be held on Dewey Beach at the end of Swedes Street on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, visit SkimUSA.com.

This article first appeared in Coastal Sussex Weekly, August 13, 2009.

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