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Surf City 2005 "Year in Review"
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2005 Surf City Beach Patrol
Total Rescues – 103
Missing Persons Recovered by the Patrol – 17
First Aid Responses – 6 (none were life-threatening)
Total Estimated Beach Population – 130,300
Average Water Temperature – 70 degrees Fahrenheit
Lifeguard Try-Outs - Saturday, May 28th, 2005
As was the case last year all 10 lifeguards needed to fill out the squad were hired at the initial lifeguard test. This year we welcomed Matt Holloway, John O'Conner, Evan Garner, Farrell Henderson, Dan Rudolph, Tris Coffin, Blair Bargiel, Carly Bargiel, Brian Holloway, and Jeff Hahn to the SCBP family. Keep in mind that the 2006 lifeguard test will be the Saturday of Memorial day weekend (Saturday May 27, 2006), 10:30AM at the St. Francis pool. CPR for recerts and First Aid will take place after the lifeguard test at the Borough Hall. First timer CPR and First Aid will be 12 noon the following Saturday at the Borough Hall. Next year the test will again consist of the 22 length swim (500m), dive test, and 1.25 mile run.
Snapshots from the 2005 Season
Jeff and Caitlin Hahn - Lots of siblings on the squad!
"The Lifeguard Bike"
Pre-Season Training - Saturday-Monday, June 11-13, 2005
In order to ensure that each Surf City lifeguard acquired the USLA required 20 hours of First Aid training before the start of the season three days of mandatory training occurred Saturday through Monday of the week before the season was to start. This training will occur each year on these days the week before the start of the season so put them in your date book now. The Saturday and Sunday sessions will start at 10AM at the Borough Hall and the Monday session is scheduled to start at 7PM at the Surf City firehouse.
The Sandpaper covered the training this year and we even made the front page. Right-click the photo and select "save target as" to download the article in pdf format.
Jenn, Cat, and Darren filling out their personal training logs at the end of the day, gotta get those 40 hours of training.
With the lifeguard test and pre-season training taken care of it was time to hit the beaches
2nd Annual Surf City Epic Lifeguard Tournament - Monday July 11, 2005
Unlike the inaugural Epic tournament last year the weather was absolutely perfect for the Epic tournament this year. Incredibly the water warmed up about 10 degrees just a few days before the tournament. Talk about good timing. I'd like to thank everyone on the patrol once again for making the Epic a smooth running tournament. I would also like to thank our head judge and longtime Surf City Lieutenant Mike Nitti as well as the head judge ex-SCBP guard Sean Gordon.
We knew that the other teams would come ready to win this year since last year they got a feel for what it would take to do well in the Epic. All of the teams were stronger this year, and Long Beach Township put together a very strong team of Australian/American competitors, basically the best the enormous LBT patrol had to offer. They did come out on top with the help of their year-round and weekend-only competitors. Congratulations LBTBP!
Danny takes care of the DJ duties
As most of you know, the name "Epic" was coined by Lt. Mike Nitti many years ago. "Back in the day," as the older guys like to say, workouts generally consisted of a soft sand run from 6th street to the North Beach jetty, hard sand run to the 15th street jetty, a two jetty swim to the 7th street jetty, and a final run to the 6th street stand. Mike began to refer to this workout as "the Epic" and the name kind of stuck. Actually, I remember he used to ask before workouts, "Are we going to do that epic workout again?" For you Epic historians out there (Tony Nitti), the "Super Epic" extends the Epic with a run down to the first jetty in Ship Bottom and adds another jetty to the swim to make it 3 jetties. In those days, workouts were at 8:30 so everyone could train in the same Epic. The "ultimate" Epic competitors were Jim Inglese, Dan Glass, and Rich Freda. Who was the fastest? Tough to say since they never competed against each other at their respective best. If I had to go out on a limb I'd say Rich Freda, then Jim Inglese, then Dan Glass. Rich was just too good a runner and swimmer. I've raced against Rich many times and can tell you that only last year's winner (a pro triathlete) would have beat him.
All of the island teams attended the tournament, as well as Ortley beach, which always has a strong competition team. Like last year the Surf City team consisted of Mike Dunn, Taylor Henderson, Darren Podolak, Ross Reynolds, Rip Wagner, and Mark Dileo. Rip and I took on the Epic again and did a little better than last year, finishing third overall.
Start of the paddle relay
Taylor gets off to a great start (silver cap)
Taylor leading the field in the paddle relay
First competitor out of the water in the first leg
Mike takes a look back to check the field
Mike hands off the board to Ross
Ross gettin' it done
Darren Podolak, Mike Dunn, and Taylor Henderson came in 4th place in the Surf Dash like last year. Next up was Ross, Taylor, and Mike in the paddle relay. As everyone on the squad knows, these guys are our best paddlers and they fought with the Township Aussies (or year round US guards) the whole way and ended up with a close 2nd place finish. While LBT was starting to pull away from the field in the overall scoring we were still in the hunt.
The Iron Man Medley was a little different this year in that the rules were changed so that the Run-Row competitors could not compete in the Iron Man Medley. This meant that Ross would row the tough, long course with Mike. After Darren and Taylor put in a blistering swim and paddle against a tough field the SCBP boat entered the water in third place behind Ortley and LBT. Ortley always has great boat crews. I knew it would be tough for them to catch the Ortley boat, especially considering the tight course. But catch and pass them they did! In fact, they almost caught the LBT boat. Nice job guys. Surf City ended up 2nd in the Iron Man Medley. Again right behind LBTBP.
Darren in the Medley swim
Mike and Ross after passing Ortley and making a run at LBT
Mike and Ross closing on the LBT boat - Nice lean Mike!
By the final event, the Run-Row, LBT was so far out ahead that no one could catch them. But Surf City was only three points behind Ortley in third. I knew we'd have to win the Run-Row to finish second in the tournament. During the first mile or so in the run Rip and I could see the Ship Bottom guys a little bit ahead of us and I said to Rip, "Should we go get 'em?" Before I could answer LBT competitor Mike Vile, who was right behind me said, "This is your damn tournament, go win this event!" Of course we would have gone after them anyway, it was just a matter of when, but Mike's comment urged us to go now! After passing the 2nd Ship Bottom runner I later found out that he dropped out due to severe back spasms. That's a shame because I think we would have had a good rowing race with the Ship Bottom guys. As it was, Mike Vile and Josh Bligh from LBT entered the boat just a few seconds after us. It was a good row but we managed to hang on for a first place finish in the Run-Row, giving Surf City a 2nd place overall finish in the 2005 Epic Tournament. I would also like to thank Mr. Welc for donating a "rotating" trophy that as of 2006 will go to the team that wins the Epic each year.
Rip and Mark pulling to hold off the LBT boat
We also received some great
press from the tournament in the Sandpaper. Right-click the photo and
select "save as" to download the article in pdf format.
Lavallette Tournament - Monday, July 18, 2005
Just as the Epic tournament plays to our strengths, the Lavallette 6-man tournament plays to Lavallette's strengths. Once again Mike Dunn stepped up and took on the Iron Man in an amazingly competitive field. You know when the island's best Iron Men come in 2, 3 after the Lavallette competitor you've got a tough field. Ross, Adam, Darren, and Taylor managed a mid-pack finish in the swim relay while we slipped back to a third in the Iron Man Medley after winning this event at this tournament last year. Adam and Mike put in a good effort in the Row-Out/Swim-In while Darren and Mark took on the Line-Pull. Next year we have to remember to bring the line-pull belt.
Things took a turn for the better when Taylor, Ross, Mike, and Mark came in third in the paddle relay. Finally, we ended the night with a 6th place finish in the boat relay. Not a bad night but we still haven't gotten "in the groove" of this tournament. On a side note, towards the end of the summer, long-time SCBP guard and Lt. from the'70's and member of the Island winning team in '79 and '80 Pete Jorden stopped by the Borough. He told me that when they used to go to Seaside to compete in the Lavallette and other tournaments that they used to literally CRUSH the other teams!
Ortley Tournament - Ortley, July 20, 2005
If my memory serves me I think it has been since 1987 since Surf City has attended the Ortley tournament. I remember after the tournament at the after party at Joey Harrison's that they had a keg toss. I wonder if they still do that? Anyway, the first event was the 1000' doubles row and it's was Mike and Rip's first time rowing in a race together. The waves were huge and they got hit by a pretty big set on the way out. As Rip noted in the tournament logbook "huge waves, biggest surf ever." That pretty much sums it up surf-wise. Adam, Ashley, Darren, and Taylor did a nice job in the swim relay for an "in the points" 5th place finish. I believe there were 10 teams in this tournament.
Taylor takes off in the Paddle Rescue
Another 5th place finish in the Row-Out/Swim-In for Darren and Mike, and yet another 5th place finish for Ryan, Darren, Ross, Mike, and Mark in the Iron Man Medley (run/swim/paddle/row). I want to mention that Ryan did a really nice job on the run in a competitive field. I've done that run before and it's no fun. Taylor, Steve, Kyle, and Ross came in 6th in the Paddle Relay. Adam and Ashley competed in the buoy rescue but I don't remember their place.
Taylor and Ross in the boat relay
Finally, it was time for the boat relay. The waves were huge but the guys wanted to go for it. I was nervous and had them hold the boat on a few waves so we finished a "safe" 9th. But the experience helped prepare for future boat relays. Our best finish of the night (4th) came in the run relay with Gavin, Kyle, Ryan, and Ross.
The boat relay
Who needs to bring the truck on the beach?
Seaside Park Open Lifeguard Tournament - Monday, July 25, 2005
It's funny how even though we do almost the same events, against pretty much the same teams at every tournament, the outcomes can be so wildly different. If I had to guess I'd say lane assignments are a big factor, and after that it's just "getting used to" the tournament in question. After winning a hard fought intra-squad beach flags battle against favorites Mike Szymanski and Gavin Marconi, Nick Labida got his chance to represent Surf City in the Seaside Park Tournament. It as a tough field and Nick was positioned near the eventual top finishers so it turned out to be a short night. Hey, it's not like anyone else on the squad could have done better!
Next up was the Iron Man Medley and although the team of Ryan, Darren, Ross, Mike, and Rip did well they were disqualified. Supposedly Ross didn't touch the buoy when turning on the board. Hmmm, let's see Ross had competed in at least 6 paddle races a year for at least the last 10 years, that over 60 races with no disqualification and tonight he gets disqualified! Ridiculous! This actually deserves a little clarification. Ordinarily at a lifeguard tournament there is something that overrides the rulebook called the "spirit of the competition." This means that if a competitor DOES NOT gain any competitive advantage from what *may* have been a minor rule infraction then no foul is called. In this case even if Ross may have missed the buoy with the tip of the board by an inch or two no competitive advantage was gained. If every minor rule of every event were closely monitored I bet we could disqualify half the field. As you all know we see minor rule infractions all the time. Jeez, even in our own tournament I've seen guys not go around flags when they should and I tell the judges if it doesn't change the final outcome just give them a warning and move on.
Gavin steering the boat in the Iron Man Medley
Next up was the 1000' row where Mark and Mike "officially" placed 4th. I say officially because initially the lane judge and head judge told us we were 2nd. But then one of the Southern teams complained and "convinced" our lane judge that we were 4th! Okay, now a possible 3rd and 2nd place finish turned into a DQ and a 4th, this night was not going well.
Ross vying for first in the paddle relay
One again our swim relay consisting of Ashley, Taylor, Adam, and Darren kept us in the points with a 5th place finish and the strong paddle pick-up team of Ross and Ryan Curtin came back in 4th. I believe there was some controversy regarding that race but I can't remember exactly... The boat relay team of Mike/Mark, Rip/Steve, and Ross/Taylor started to get it together and brought home a 3rd in a very tough field. In the beginning of the season Rip and I decided to stick with one boat relay team so that we could hopefully improve as the crews and relay team got more and more experienced with each other and the event. It was starting to look like that theory was working.
Steve on the line in the paddle relay
Next up was the "stack the relay" paddle relay team of Mike Dunn, Steve Welc, Ross Reynolds, and Taylor Henderson and they did not disappoint. After a hard fought race they ended up bringing home the best "official" Surf City place in the tournament, a second. The always strong run relay team of Kyle "legs" Gronostajski, Nick "get outta my way" Labida , Mike "lightning" Szymanski, and Gavin "faster than a telegraph" Marconi, earned another Surf City 2nd place in the run relay. Overall, despite the suspect judging a nice job, and nice improvement for the Surf City squad.
Seaside Park Open Lifeguard Tournament - Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Last year I received a phone call at 4PM the day of the tournament informing me about the Seaside Park women's tournament. This year I was going to be prepared so I phoned early, got the date/time, and the list of events. We were going to be ready! Or maybe not. After we arrived at the tournament and the events actually started we found at that many of the events had changed AND the order had as well! No more Row-Out/Swim-In, now there was a kayak relay! What?! A kayak relay. But our SCBP female guards can ROW, why have a kayak relay?
It's always nice to see beach patrol friends and family travel to support the team
Carly takes off in beach flags
Ashley tags Jenn for the paddle in the Iron Woman Medley
Blair and Carly enjoying their first lifeguard tournament
The order of the events and the events themselves were so screwy that I really can't recall a lot of what happened as things seemed to be changing from moment to moment. For example, they decided to have an Iron Woman on the spot and it would be after the swim relay. Ashley of course did a great job, but it would have been nice to have been able to given her some warning so she wasn't the last leg of the swim relay. More importantly, although they staggered the start of the run for the Iron Woman, all competitors ran around the same mark and entered the water AT THE SAME LOCATION! Ross actually brought this to my attention and it was simply ludicrous. Right off the bat the women were running different distances!
Launching Jenn and Collette in the 1000' Doubles
All of the women of course put in great efforts. Collette and Jenn came in second in the 1000' doubles row against a very seasoned Lavallette crew and Carly came in 6th in beach flags out of a field of 16 very fast women. Hopefully next year Seaside Park will do away with the silly kayak events and stay with the order of events as scheduled.
Jenn and Collette finishing the 1000' Doubles
Sandy Hook All-Women's Lifeguard Tournament - Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Once again the Surf City Women were up at 5AM to head up to Sandy Hook for the All-Women's Lifeguard Tournament. Last year one SUV carried our female competitors, this year we were able to send up a minivan and an SUV of competitors. This is impressive because I can tell you, although it's fun to compete, it's not fun getting up at 5AM for a really long day of packing, driving, unloading, hustling to races, loading back up, driving, and then unloading again. Not only did many of our female guards compete, but I'm pretty sure just about female guard on the squad wanted to go. Unfortunately we still have to keep the beaches safe so everyone can't go.
The start of the Run-Row
No lack of competition here
Caitlin and Melissa getting ready for the Run-Swim-Run start
Since we have more than 10 female lifeguards our women compete in the Division I category which is the most competitive group. Some of the patrols that compete in this Division have as many female lifeguards as we to total lifeguards! And this year Lavallette didn't bring a Van Duyne, they brought a Self-Bailer. If you remember, last year Collette and Jenn rowed the borrowed Lavallette boat to finish third overall in the Surf Boat Race. They were the first Van Duyne. across the finish line. Well this was the first time in a Self-Bailer for them so I'm sure it was difficult to just row and navigate much less race. Still they did a great job. Another good finish came from Ashley and Blair in the buoy rescue, where they placed 4th in a very competitive field. From what Collette and the other women tell me they had a fantastic day, running around from race to race. Good job ladies, I know you that Surf City was once again well represented at Sandy Hook tournament!
Midway Beach Tournament - Thursday, August 4, 2005
The "Battle at Midway" as it is put on the tournament tees has been one of my favorite tournaments since the first time we attended it in 2001. After a long hiatus of not competing off-island (20 years), Surf City won the paddle relay in this tournament back in 2001. It was the first off-island tournament event win I can remember.
In case you didn't know, "Battle at Midway" refers to a WWII battle that was the turning point of the war in the Pacific. From June 4 to June 7, 1942 the Japanese and American naval fleets engaged near a small US mid-Pacific base near Midway atoll. Up to this point in time the Japanese had naval superiority over the Americans. Japanese combined Fleet Commander Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto hoped to draw the American carriers out into the open where they could be ambushed and ultimately sunk, if this had worked, coupled with the naval losses at Pearl Harbor, the American fleet would have been nearly decimated. Although the American were outnumbered 3 aircraft carriers to 4, the skill and sacrifice of the American aviators, brilliant strategy of American Admiral Chester Nimitz (US Pacific Fleet Commander), and a little luck combined to bring forth a great American victory. All four of the Japanese carriers were sunk while only one American carrier, the Yorktown, was lost.
Rip and Darren getting launched before winning the Row-Out/Swim-In
Anyway, back to our battle at Midway beach.
Having won the Midway tournament last year we had high hopes for this year's
tournament, but no one was really saying anything out loud. I think we all
didn't want to jinx ourselves. Still, we came into the tournament knowing
we could win. The first event was the paddle relay and once again the
"stack the relay" team of Mike, Taylor, Steve, and Ross came through with a 2nd
place. After that Mike and Mark earned a third in the boat pick-up.
Unfortunately one of the stern oars came loose and started to slide into the
ocean, Mike had to stop rowing and catch the oar! We'd been thinking for
quite a while how to secure those oars for pick-up events so that they could be
easily grabbed by the stern rower and still not fall out of the boat during the
launch, row, and pick-up when the boat lists heavily to one side as the rower
enters. For some reason I never thought of the obvious solution until now,
velcro! All we have to do is put velcro around the oar and on the edge of
the seat where the oar rests. Remind me next year as I will most likely
Luckily, the way the points were distributed we were in first place after the 2nd event and we never let go of that lead. Ashley, Darren, Adam, and Taylor came in 3rd in the swim relay and the boat relay finally collected a first place finish in the final boat relay of the season! Darren and Rip brought home another first with a close victory in the Row-Out/Swim-In. Finally, the run relay team of Mike S., Gavin, Kyle, Nick, Ryan C, and Dan Rudolph secured our first place team victory with a 3rd in the run relay event. Well, we managed to do it again at Midway beach. This was a great way to end the off-island tournament schedule. Now all that was left competition-wise was the season culminating Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association Tournament, or "Islands" for short...
Celebrating a big win in the Boat Relay
5th Annual Surf City Pasta Party - Thursday, August 11, 2005
Once again the D'Angelis family graciously hosted the pre-race pasta party for the Surf City guards. Like every year there was good food, joke gifts, and a lot of laughs. After the party Collette and I both noticed that it really does take a few years for an annual event like this to develop. Not that the party hasn't been great every year, but the returning guards kind of know what to expect and it makes for a more relaxed and fun party. This year Andre did a little singing accompanied by Gavin on guitar. You guys have been telling me that Andre has a great voice and you are right. Nice job Andre.
Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association Tournament - Friday/Saturday, August 12/13, 2005
The First Night
As always, the LBIBPA tournament is the culminating event for the competition season. This year after many years of weekday tournaments the tournament was moved back to a weekend. The first event, as always, was the mile row. Mike and I had high expectations after good finishes the last two years, but it was not to be this year. There would be no medal for Surf City in the mile row. While Mike and I were racing Jenn was competing in the women's paddle and also finished out of the medals. Darren and Jeff were up next in the buoy rescue and came out with a 4th.
The Paddle Relay
The paddle relay this year consisted of Steve, Kyle, Taylor, and Ryan C. They also finished 4th. Up to this point in the tournament things definitely weren't going our way. The next race has been a strong one for us for the last 3 years. Jenn and Collette have finished 1st in the women's doubles twice, and 2nd once in the last three years. It was a race to the finish this year and they just got edged out for 1st. Finally Surf City took some hardware.
Jenn and Collette in the Women's Doubles
This may be Jenn Welc's last year and I wanted to note that Jenn has done a fantastic job guarding and competing for Surf City during her tenure here. Of course Jenn is first and foremost a fantastic rower, having won the women's doubles twice, and coming in second twice, along with a 3rd in Sandy Hook last year, and a first at the Seaside Women's Tournament last year, beating a very tough Lavallette boat. But Jenn has also trained herself to be a very strong paddler and swimmer and the 80 plus training hours she logged this summer speaks volumes about her workout discipline. Jenn has also taken the time to help organize and run mini-triathlons for the kids on her beach. I know that the kids and the beach patrol will miss her if she pursues a different path next summer.
The Boat Rescue finish
As you all know this is also Adam Podolak's last year. Adam is finishing up 5 years in Surf City and has been an important part of the competition team from his first year. He has not only swam in many races, but he has paddled, and rowed as well. Of course Adam is also a great lifeguard and he will be missed on the beach next year. He's was also a part of both teams that won the Midway tournament in '04 and '05. I have watched Adam's water skills progress over the years and knew that we'd be a competitive team in the boat rescue. Adam ran through the shallow sandbar area, then dolphin dived through the deeper sandbar region, and then finally swam a perfectly straight line to the buoy. He executed the first part of the race perfectly. Not an easy thing as many split second decisions have to be made during the race. The trick is making each decision correctly and quickly. That's where experience comes in. Adam got to the buoy first, just ahead of the Barnegat Light swimmer. The Barnegat Light team has been unbeaten in the boat rescue for many years. All I could think as the boat was being launched was to hold onto the lead. I remember Adam saying at a practice earlier in the week, "if I get to the buoy first you better get to me first!" We had a good break in our lane and I did manage to get out first. Adam got in the boat quickly and did a great job rowing the boat in and hustling across the line for a first place finish.
The last event of the first night was the Iron Man. Although someone begrudgingly "offers" to do the Iron Man, generally no one really wants the job. I should add that this year we did have Darren wanting to do the Iron Man but we decided our strongest team race effort would come about if Taylor did the Iron Man and Darren took on other events. Taylor took on the challenge for the team and did a great job with it. Taylor has been swimming great this year and got out of the water 4th behind some very strong swimmers from Beach Haven, LBT, and Barnegat Light. I should also mention that the swimmers he beat from Harvey Cedars and Ship Bottom weren't bad either! All of the competitors in the Iron Man are the best each squad has to offer. After a strong paddle and row Taylor finished up 4th, and not too far behind 3rd place.
The Second Night
The surf was a bit larger on the second night of the tournament and lane assignments were even more critical than normal in determining race outcomes. Mike and Rip did their best in the 1000' Doubles Row but came up short of the medal places. Next up were the 1000' open and women's swims. For the first time in quite a few years Surf City put it's best male and female swimmers in the 1000' swims. The strategy paid off. Darren was leading race right up until the LBT competitor hooked onto a great wave and pulled into ahead. Darren finish right behind in second.
Although Surf City has always put a strong competitor in the women's swim, and generally places, we haven't won the event since 1991. If you remember, last year Ashley came in 3rd in the open swim. Like her older sister, she's an tough competitor and she never leaves anything in the water after a race. I knew that this race was going to be a battle. It was a tight grouping on the way in from the final buoy and Ashley was in the lead. As they dolphin dived/ran over the sand bar the women in 2nd and 3rd place were fighting fiercely to catch Ashley. Not today. Congratulations to Ashley on winning the Women's 1000' swim. I think her sister Jessica summed it up best upon congratulating her after the race, "great job little sis!"
Ross and Ryan Curtin finished fourth in the paddle rescue as did Adam, Ryan Bonanni, and Dan Rudolph in the Line-Pull. Next up was the 1000' Single Row. It was a great race to watch as usual and Steve Welc put in a great row to finish in 3rd place.
Ryan Bonanni pulling line
"Legs don't fail me now!"
Steve posing after a bronze finish in the 1000' Singles
Rip and Collette came in a close second place in the Mixed Doubles row while Ross came in third in the 1500' paddle. Finally Jeff Hahn, Ashley, and Nick finished up the 2005 LBI tournament by finishing third in the Surf Dash Relay. Although Surf City finished in the top three in the last three races it wasn't enough to overtake Barnegat Light for second place overall in the tournament. Surf City finished third overall by just a few points.
Another great season in the books
Surf City Beach Patrol, 813 Long Beach Boulevard, Surf City, NJ 08008
Surf City Borough Hall (609) 494-3064 firstname.lastname@example.org