|This photo, a runner-up from the annual Islander Top Notch photo contest, shows Christian Daniels' surfing form on a waist-high wave at the White Avenue Beach on the Island. Islander Photo: Courtesy Tommy Daniels
|Bradenton Beach residents Sandy Young and Bob Johnson team up in competitive volleyball.
NXTC surfing has deep, new Island roots
During one of the early summer swells brought on by tropical weather in the Gulf in June, 4-year-old Christian Daniels was spotted tearing it up in waist-high surf on a custom-made NXTC surfboard at the White Avenue Beach near the imaginary line between Anna Maria and Holmes Beach. You might find it surprising to see a youngster like Christian surfing, but it's not that surprising when you consider that his Dad is NXTC owner/operator Tommy Daniels.
Christian's first foray into surfing came at the ripe old age of 18 months with dad. Tommy pushed son into his first wave then, which Christian promptly caught, stood up and rode to the beach. Christian's mom Beth caught all the action on the family's camcorder.
Daniels, a life-long resident of Anna Maria Island, has been making surfboards under the NXTC label since 1992. NXTC Surfboards, located at 4523 30th St. W. in Bradenton, produces 300-400 custom surfboards a year and ships them to places like Central America, Texas, New Jersey, New York and the Carolinas, and all up and down the east coast of Florida.
"We're probably operating at about 50 percent of our potential output due to a variety of issues ranging from employee issues to all the associated issues that go with building a new house on 65th Street in Holmes Beach," Daniels said.
Tommy got into the surfboard business right after graduating from Manatee High in 1990. Instead of going to college like a lot of his classmates, he opted for an excursion to Hawaii where he first found work in the surfboard building industry as an airbrush artist. He then worked into fixing dings in the boards before moving up to glassing and shaping surfboards. He worked in Hawaii for two years before returning to Anna Maria Island.
Tommy then worked for renowned surfboard-maker Juan Rodriguez in Sarasota for six years before deciding to start his own business in 1990 - and it took off from there.
Daniels' NXTC surfboards are also sponsors to some good surfers both locally and on the east coast. Local products include 18-year-old Blake Tyre and 31-year-old Matt Varriot, who were both competing in the past weekend's 20th Annual National Kidney Foundation Labor Day Contest in Daytona Beach. Tyre is competing in the junior men's division, while Varriot is in the men's division of the contest, which has local roots in the Salick brothers, who grew up on and around the Island. Their sister Joanie Mills and brother Wilson Shymanski both live here still.
Other surfers using NXTC boards that are doing well include 12-year-old Mikee Fitts and his 15-year-old brother Mickey Fitts of St. Augustine Beach. Daniels also sponsors 16-year-old Amber Collier in the junior women's division and her father Roger Collier, who has "worked up" to the master's division. Amber recently captured first place in the Hunington Beach contest in Hunnington Beach, Calif., on Sept. 3-4.
Daniels, his son and wife of 10 years Beth, also a life-long area resident, reside in Holmes Beach. For more information on NXTC Surfboards, contact Tommy at 755-5878.
Islanders claim volleyball title
Bradenton Beach residents Sandy Young and Bob Johnson prevailed over the team of Abbey Beasley and Brian Rockwood to claim the co-ed BB division of the Hess Express/Zephyrhills ProAm beach volleyball tourney held Aug. 13 at Coquina Beach.
Young and Johnson, who moved to the Island from Key West last October, have been playing beach volleyball together for eight years, though never in an organized tournament the likes of the Hess Express/Zephyrhills tourney.
"We're both basically beach volleyball junkies," stated Young. They usually just enjoy the social scene in beach volleyball, often traveling to Siesta Key to play on the weekends. Young, who is 37, and Johnson, 43, defeated nine other teams to claim the title and were the oldest couple in the tournament, but that didn't deter them, even if they were a little rusty.
"We were both out of practice," stated Young, "but like riding a bike, you never forget those motor skills." Young and Johnson each won a brand new beach volleyball, beach shelters, beach towels, hats, and coolie cups for their efforts.
Young and Johnson had hoped to play in the Clearwater Beach tourney Aug. 27 to defend their title, but Hurricane Katrina canceled that event.
For now, the twosome will have to be content with weekend trips to Siesta Beach to satisfy their competitive cravings.
Key Royale Golf news
Sally Keyes posted a one-under par 31 to win the Key Royale ladies low net competition on Tuesday, Aug. 30, at the Key Royale Club. Tootie Wagner finished in second place with a 34, while Nancy Grimme's 35 was good enough for third place.
Wagner also managed a chip-in on hole No. 9, while Jean Tourt had a chip-in on No. 8 and Joyce Brown chipped one in on No. 7.
Center offers adult soccer on Saturday mornings
The Anna Maria Island Community Center is offering adult soccer 9-11 a.m. Saturday mornings. Cost is $2 per player. For more information, contact Center athletic director Andy Jonatzke at 778-1908.