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Surf City 2003 "Year in Review"

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Here are the 2003 Surf City Beach Patrol season statistics:
Total Rescues � 121
Missing Persons Recovered by the Patrol � 23
First Aid Responses � 4 (non were life-threatening)
Total Estimated Beach Population � 83,000
Average Water Temperature � 64 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees cooler than usual)


 A Rainy Start

The first day of the 2003 season was an all day rain out.  Although I tried to tell myself that the cold and rainy fall that we had just endured would not be an omen for the coming summer, I had a feeling it would be so.  As you can see from the statistics above, the beach population was down 33% from the previous summer and the average ocean temperature was 6 degrees colder.  I�m sure you all remember the MANY days we recorded temperatures in the fifties and the rainy days you spent at home with your radios.  We did have more than our share of misty, cold rainy days in 2003.  The last summer I recall being so rainy was the 1986 season, I distinctly remember have a full week off the beach toward the end of that summer.  Hopefully the weather will be a little more consistent next summer. 

Despite all of the rain, there were quite a few nice days and we trained with our usual enthusiasm and gusto.  The new boat and rescue board provided additional motivation on those rainy days.  Also, Collette�s �Century Club� definitely had an effect on a few people to keep their chimney swims going.   

The competition schedule was a little strange with the first Lavallette tournament occurring early in the summer, and then a long competition layoff until a barrage of tournaments; Nationals, Midway, Lavallette Mixed, and finally the Island Tournament.


 Lavalette 6-Man Tournament (July 15, 2003)

The first tournament was the Lavallette 6-Person Tournament on July 15.  As you all know, this is a very tough tournament and all of the competitors must be able to row, paddle, and swim.  Mike Dunn �put up� and went after the Iron Man, and he did a nice job of it, especially considering he just learned how to row.  I don�t remember his exact place, but I do remember it was mid pack in an extremely competitive field.  I just wanted to give him some props on that effort. 

Mike Dunn on his way in the Iron Man


Adam takes off in the swim relay


Darren in the line


A busy night for Mike

We were just �out of the points� (6th place or higher) in many of the events in this tournament except for the paddle relay where we came in second.  The team for the paddle relay consisted of Ross (of course), Mike Dunn, Adam, and yours truly.  Everybody on the relay put in great efforts, but Ross�s performance was really amazing.  He was the first leg and handed me the board, we were clearly in first place!  Of course it never feels good to lose a lead, but I�m guess I should be glad we finished second, and more importantly that I didn�t fall off the board.  Also thanks to Matt Spair for once again letting us use his truck and for taking the photos at Lavallette.

Mark on the board


The boat relay . . . we'll be back


Midway Beach Tournament (August 7, 2003)

The next tournament was Midway Beach on Thursday, August 7th.  Unfortunately, all I remember about this tournament is that the surf was huge and the water was cold.  �Nuff said.


USLA National Tournament (August 6-9, 2003)

During August 7th to August 10th, a few of our best competitors traveled to Cape May to compete in the USLA Nationals.  Mike Dunn, Ross Reynolds, Adam Podolak, Darren Podolak, Taylor Henderson, and Rip Wagner were the Surf City competitors from �Team LBI.�  All of the guys had a great time not only competing, but training with the LBT Australians who are among the best paddlers in the world.  In fact, one of the LBT Aussies ended up winning the paddleboard event at the Nationals.  But, the star of the Nationals from a Surf City perspective was our very own Lt. Rip Wagner who won the 2 mile beach run in the Masters category, earning Team LBI 7 points.  Congratulations to National Champion Rip!


Lavallette Mixed Tournament (August 11, 2003)

Returning from her �world tour� honeymoon as I named it, was Lt. Collette Pretre, just in time for the Lavallette mixed tournament.  Congratulations to Collette and Ed on their marriage!  After a strong 3rd place finish the prior year in the Lavallette Mixed tournament, expectations were high.  Although Surf City had quite a few second and third place finishes, the other teams were tough and we ended up in fourth overall.  Don�t worry, we�ll be back next year ;)


LBIBP Tournament (August 12-13, 2003, postponed to August 13-14)

The very next day was the first day of the Island tournament.  As we all remember, it was fogged out.  Fortunately the tournament did go off the next night and it really started coming together for Surf City.  Despite getting quite a bit of water in the boat at the start of the mile row, Mike and I managed to salvage a third place while Lindsey was busy doing a great job in the women�s paddle, finishing in second.  Nice job!  Right after that Darren and Yvette took home another second in the buoy rescue.  The paddle team of Steve Welc, Ryan Sexton, Rob Moran, and Taylor Henderson gave us the most thrilling race of this year�s races (IMO) with their second place finish.

 Next up were defending women�s 1000� row champions Jenn and Collette, and defend is what they did, decisively winning the race for the second straight year.  It is extremely difficult to win the same race back-to-back years, Jenn and Collette are a tough team and they will again be the team to beat next year.  Unfortunately for the rest of the women rowers on the island I know they will be even better next year since both of them don�t know the meaning of �enough.�  The last two races of the night were the boat relay (Rip/Adam) and the Iron Man (Ross).  Although things didn�t go as well as the past few events, Ross did manage to pull a third place finish in the Iron Man.  At the end of the first night Surf City was winning the Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Tournament!

 The next night began with a bang, Rip and Tony won the open 1000� row.  As you all know, Tony had a fantastic summer and this achievement was simply icing on the cake.  And what can I say about Rip?  He won this event for the second year in a row with two different rowing partners, and this was Tony�s first year in the boat!  I should also mention that Rip won this event a few times with Tony�s older brother, our long lost comrade Lt. Mike Nitti.

Rip and Tony on their way to winning the 1000' doubles row


Come on Rip!

Ashley finally got her chance at the women�s swim and didn�t disappoint with a strong second place finish.  All those chimney swims paid off!    Kyle did his best against a serious field in the open 1000� swim.  Ross and Taylor came so close to winning the paddle rescue but finished second.  Keep in mind that the paddling on Long Beach Island is extremely competitive due to the Australian influence that has been with us for the past 15 years!  Darren, Matt, and Brett came up third in the line pull while Mike Dunn put in a great effort in a tough field in the 1000� singles row.

Ross and Taylor in the Paddle Rescue


Matt and Brett set to launch Darren in the Line Pull


Collette and I did our best in the mixed doubles but just couldn�t get it going on, while Steve Welc paddled with tenacity against the national champion from LBT. 

The 1000' paddle start, Steve is in the middle


The whole two night tournament came down to the last event.  Although it was unlikely, if LBT and BL came in at the bottom of the pack and we won, we could win the tournament.  Yeah, I know its wishful thinking but a guy can hope can�t he?  Well, it wasn�t to be, LBT and BL both had very strong swim relays, Surf City came in third in the Surf Dash and third overall in the tournament.  I want to once again thank all of the competitors and everybody on the squad for an outstanding season.  I know I�ve said this before, but the achievements of each guard are in part achievements of every guard.  Without that daily push from fellow guards during training, those that excelled wouldn�t have developed the crucial �racing edge.�

 Have a great winter and I�ll see you next year!





Surf City Beach Patrol, 813 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008
Surf City Borough Hall (609) 494-3064