Surfers catch first waves in summer surf camp
|Luke Shackelford drops in and goes backside across a nice wave during the Bluewater School of Surfing's surf camp.
|Participants and the instructors from the Bluewater School of Surfing's summer surf camp pose for a picture.
Approximately 40 Island youths participated, caught their first waves and rode them to shore during the Bluewater School of Surfing's surf camp held July 3-7 on the beach at White Avenue in Anna Maria.
Bluewater School of Surfing owner William Kimball and his staff of local surf instructors Kevin Kirn, Joey Mattay, Tommy Rudek, Brandi Brady and Cameo Ewing start out the camper's education with the surfing basics, including how to choose an appropriate nickname while also emphasizing ocean safety.
After receiving instruction on how to paddle and stand up on the board on dry land, the campers then experience it first hand. Each young surfer ventures out into the water with an instructor. Then when a good wave comes, the instructor gives the youngster a little push and off they go.
Judging by the looks on their faces, there's no doubt the kids were having tons of fun, and their excitement was rivaled by their parents screams and cheers from the beach.
Having fun is a requirement of the Bluewater School of Surfing. According to their Web site, "The best surfer is the one who's having the most fun."
There was no shortage of fun in surf camp. In addition to the instruction on surfing, the campers also had paddling races, played volleyball, beach golf and they had a skimboarding contest. Luke "The Duke" Shackelford came in first, followed by Travis "T-Rav 4" Belsito. Andrew "Alfalfa" Ross took third place, while Jake "Ace" Beatey finished in fourth place.
This is the second summer that Kimball has brought his Bluewater School to Anna Maria Island. Kimball opened the school at Juno Beach in Palm Beach County in 1996 and has been teaching people to surf ever since. The school boasts a 100 percent success rate among its thousands of students.
Bluewater will offer one more week-long surfing camp here July 24-28 and some spaces are still open at $205 per student. To sign up for the camp, can call the West Coast Surf Shop at 778-1001. You can also visit the Bluewater School of Surfing on the internet at www.bluewatersurfing.com.
Speaking of surfing …
The 21st annual National Kidney Foundation Pro-Am Surfing Festival presented by Cocoa Beach Surf Company takes place Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-4, at Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach. Along with the surfing, the festival will have entertainment, demonstrations, bikini contests and much more. Cost for the contest is $35 for amateurs with boys and girls' divisions ranging from ages 10 to 40 and over.
This charitable event has local ties to the Island in Holmes Beach siblings Wilson Shymanski and Joanie Mills and mom, Kay, of Holmes Beach. Older brothers, former professional surfers Richard and Phil Salick, started the charitable surfing contest following Richard's bout with kidney disease. The surfing contest is now the largest of its kind to benefit charity.
Phil Salick now calls Holmes Beach "home base" for his numerous surfing enterprises.
Each of the previous NKF Surfing Festivals have hosted more than 100,000 people, providing sponsors an excellent venue to get your business known while supporting a very worthy cause.
Phil's hoping an Island team or two or three will safari to the east coast festival and enter the competition.
For more information about the Surf Festival, go to www.kidneyfla.org or call 800-927-9659.
Ron Pepka ran his championship streak to seven in a row in horseshoe action at the Anna Maria City Hall pits on July 1 and 5. Pepka teamed up with Sam Samuels to defeat John Johnson and Mitch Soffer by a 24-12 score on Wednesday.
On July 1, 13 players and the random draw forced George McKay into the role as "walker," or team of one. McKay, along with three other teams, advanced to the playoff round.
Pepka teamed up with Hank Huyghe to pin a 22-11 loss on McKay to advance to the championship game. There they faced Jay Disbrow and Sam Samuels, who defeated Debbie Rhodes and John Johnson by a 21-8 score.
Disbrow and Samuels then found themselves on the wrong end of a 21-8 score as Pepka and Huyghe rolled to the title.
Play gets under way at 9 a.m. every Wednesday and Saturday at the Anna Maria City Hall pits. Warmups begin at 8:45 a.m. followed by random team selection. There is no charge to play and everyone is welcome.
More Center news
There is adult pickup basketball from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m Wednesdays. The cost to play in the Center's air-conditioned (cool) gym is only $2 per player.
And, pickleball is being played at the Center on Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Pickleball, a combination of tennis and badminton, is played by two or four people using wooden paddle/racquets and a whiffle ball. If you are over 21 years of age and interested in this exciting new game, stop by the Center. Cost is $2.
For more information, contact the Center at 778-1908.