It was an epic morning for the 15th annual Mulligan’s Skim Jam at the Sexton Plaza Beach – the final stop on the Skim USA Triple Crown 2022 tour.
The event was again hosted by shore lb., which stands for shore pound: “surfer slang used to describe how waves crash directly on the beach.”
Nearly 100 amateur and professional skimmers descended upon the sandy shores just off Mulligan’s Beach House to compete in what organizers say is the largest one-day skim board competition in the world.
Contestants, who participate based on skill level in beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert and professional divisions, hitch a ride on the waves and are judged on wave selection, incoming and outgoing tricks, and the variety and difficulty of the maneuvers they execute.
“This year, we started our own tour – the shore lb. Triple Crown,” said event organizer Chris Ellison, founder/CEO of shore lb. “The first stop was in Vero Beach at Mulligan’s in March, the second stop was in April in Panama City, and this is the third stop.”
Participants must compete in all three skim jams, earning points along the way, ultimately hoping to rack up the highest number of points in their division and earn the Triple Crown trophy.
The spring competition had previously been held in Stuart, along with a surfing competition.
“We grew so big we decided to separate from the surf contest,” shared Ellison. “And we’re lucky enough here in Vero to have some of the best skimboarding waves on the East Coast.”
Ellison said he discovered skimboarding while visiting his grandparents in Vero Beach during the winter and grew so enamored of the sport that he moved here permanently after graduating from high school.
“Skimboarding is a combination of skating and surfing,” Ellison explained, noting that as a result, it draws a variety of athletes. “It bridges the gap between those two extreme sports.”
Ellison said they moved the registration, heat schedule and scoring online this year to liveheats.com to enable real-time scores to come through, so that participants and their fans could view heats, jersey colors and results instantaneously.
Ellison said he is constantly in awe of the family culture of the sport, which draws competitors from all over the world, and credits it to the camaraderie that exists throughout the skimboarding community.
The Skim Jam also raises awareness and funds for the Vero Beach Lifeguard Association – a nonprofit whose mission is to “promote lifeguarding and water safety” by supplying funding for the equipment the lifeguards need to save lives.
“The Vero Beach Lifeguards patrol and protect the waters from South Beach all the way to Jaycee Beach. They keep us safe on our beaches here. Without our Vero Beach lifeguards, so many people would be endangered and potentially dead,” said Ellison, a former lifeguard.
He noted that proceeds from past events went toward the VBLA’s purchase of ATVs and side-by-sides used by the lifeguards to patrol the beaches, enabling them to render aid more quickly, and paddleboards and kayaks so they can reach people in the ocean more rapidly.
“Today is about the Vero Beach lifeguards. They’re here; they help to support us,” said Ellison.
Afterward, the contestants, friends and families headed to Walking Tree Brewery for an awards ceremony where they handed out awards for the day’s competition and also announced the Triple Crown winners.
For more information, visit shorelb.com or vbla.org.
Photos by Joshua Kodis