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Surf City 2007 Yearbook

(Click here to download a high resolution photo)


2007 Surf City Beach Patrol season statistics:
Total Rescues � 159
Missing Persons Recovered by the Patrol � 22
First Aid Responses � 4
Total Estimated Beach Population � 215,900
Average Water Temperature � 69 degrees Fahrenheit

Summer Recap - Wow!
2007 was quite a season for the Surf City Beach Patrol.  The biggest change in Surf City was the beach replenishment process which significantly increased the size of the beaches.  Congratulations to all of the lifeguards in dealing with the new beach conditions and once again providing a safe bathing environment for the Surf City bathers.  It sure was nice to be able to easily navigate the beach once again with both the quad and the truck!

It was also a banner year for the various lifeguard competitions the Surf City beach patrol attends in order for the guards to practice and demonstrate their prowess in rescue techniques.  For the first time in 27 years Surf City won the Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association Tournament (LBIBPA).  Click here for celebration video.  Not only that, but the squad also won the Ortley Classic tournament for the first time ever, they won the Surf City Epic lifeguard tournament and the Island Beach Motor Lodge tournament as well.  In fact out of the 8 tournaments attended in the SCBP won 4 of them, came in 2nd in three others, and 3rd in another.  Quite a record.  The women also competed in the Sandy Hook All-Women's tournament, the Seaside Park Women's tournament, and the Island Beach Women's tournament.  Some of the guards competed also in distance rows, there was the traditional pasta party, and new for 2007 a lifeguard banquet.  Quite a busy 11 weeks!

Once again I would like to thank all of the lifeguards for their tireless work from the first day they worked to the last.  I would also like to thank all of the parents for their continuing support of the beach patrol.


Mark Dileo
Captain, Surf City Beach Patrol

2007 Surf City Beach Patrol MVPs - Chris Bigos and Jenn Welc
Congratulations to Chris and Jenn for their great tournament performances.  Jenn has been a key player on the beach patrol for quite a few years now.  Always up for a workout, always up for a race.  This year her exciting 2nd place in the 1500' paddle was key to igniting Surf City on their way to winning the Island Tournament.  The next night Jenn showed her versatility by winning the Women's Doubles row with Alyssa.  Chris proved to be a big point earner all summer for SCBP whether he was running, paddling, or rowing.  He was a key player in more Surf City 1st places than anyone else on the squad and he didn't even compete in the Epic and Midway Tournaments.
Here are the top 2007 performers.  1st Place is worth 2 points, 2nd Place is worth 1 point.  Yeah I know it's an arbitrary rating since other places earned team points but that's too much work!  Hey it's just for fun:)
1.  Chris Bigos - 28 points (run, paddle, row)
2.  Dave Bonanni - 25 points (run, paddle, row, kayak!)
3.  Alan Bakes - 19 points (swim, row!)
4.  Ross Reynolds - 18 points (run, swim, paddle, row)
5.  Mark Dileo - 16 points (row, swim)
6.  Steve Welc - 14 points (pull, paddle, row)
7.  Darren Podolak - 11 points (swim, paddle row)
8.  Jeff Hahn - 10 points (swim, paddle, kayak!)
9.  Mike Vile - 9 points (swim, paddle, row)
10.  Rob Myers - 6 points (swim)

1st and 2nd Place Finishes
Lavallette 6-Person � 2nd Place Iron Man Medley � Swim - Alan Bakes, Paddle - Ross Reynolds, Row - Dave Bonanni, Chris Bigos
Lavallette 6-Person � 1st Place Paddle Relay � Ross Reynolds, Mike Vile, Dave Bonanni, Chris Bigos
Lavallette 6-Person � 2nd Place Boat Relay � Ross Reynolds/Darren Podolak, Chris Bigos/Mike Vile, Dave Bonanni/Alan Bakes

Seaside Park � 1st Place Iron Man Medley � Chris Bigos, Alan Bakes, Ross Reynolds, Steve Welc/Mark Dileo
Seaside Park � 2nd Place 1000� Row � Chris Bigos/Dave Bonanni
Seaside Park � 1st Place Swim Relay � Jeff Hahn, Rob Myers, Paul Dungee, Alan Bakes
Seaside Park � 2nd Place Boat Relay � Steve Welc/Mark Dileo, Chris Bigos/Dave Bonanni, Rip Wagner/Ross Reynolds
Seaside Park � 1st Place Paddle Relay � Dave Bonanni, Steve Welc, Ross Reynolds, Chris Bigos
Seaside Park � 2nd Place Run Relay � Mike Szymanski, Kyle Gronostajski, Chris Bigos, Dave Bonanni

Surf City Epic � 2nd Place Surf Dash � Darren Podolak, Ross Reynolds, Mark Dileo
Surf City Epic � 1st Place �Epic� Run-Swim � Alan Bakes, Mike Vile
Surf City Epic � 1st Place Paddle Relay � Ross Reynolds, Mike Vile, Darren Podolak
Surf City Epic � 1st Place Iron Man Medley � Alan Bakes, Ross Reynolds, Mike Vile, Darren Podolak
Epic � 2nd Place Run-Row � Rip Wagner, Mark Dileo

Ortley Classic � 2nd Place Paddle Relay � Matt Holloway, Steve Welc, Ross Reynolds, Chris Bigos
Ortley Classic � 1st Place 1000� Boat � Chris Bigos/Dave Bonanni
Ortley Classic � 1st Place Boat Relay � Steve Welc/Mark Dileo, Dave Bonanni/Chris Bigos, Ross Reynolds/Darren Podolak
Ortley Classic � 1st Place Run Relay � Mike Szymanski, Kyle Gronostajski, Chris Bigos, Dave Bonanni

Midway - 1st Place - Boat Pick-Up - Dave Bonanni, Mark Dileo
Midway - 2nd Place - 4x500' Swim Relay - Darren Podolak, Paul Dungee, Alan Bakes, Jeff Hahn
Midway - 2nd Place - Boat Relay - Steve Welc/Mark Dileo, Dave Bonanni/Darren Podolak, Rip Wagner/Ross Reynolds

Island Beach Motor Lodge - 2nd Place - 3-Person Line-Pull
- Steve Welc (puller), Alan Bakes (rescuer), Rob Myers (victim)
Island Beach Motor Lodge - 1st Place - Boat Out/Swim In - Dave Bonanni/Chris Bigos, Alan Bakes
Island Beach Motor Lodge - 1st Place - Medley Relay - Rob Meyers/Alan Bakes (swim relay), Matt Holloway/Chris Bigos (paddle relay), Dave Bonanni/Jeff Hahn (kayak relay!), Steve Welc/Mark Dileo (1000' boat)
Island Beach Motor Lodge - 1st Place - Rescue Relay - Chris Bigos (run), Alan Bakes/Rob Myers (buoy rescue), Matt Holloway/Jeff Hahn (paddle rescue), Dave Bonanni/Mark Dileo (Boat Rescue)

Island Beach State Park - 2nd Place 1000' Doubles - Chris Bigos, Dave Bonanni
Island Beach State Park - 2nd Place - 4x500' Paddle Relay - Matt Holloway, Steve Welc, Ross Reynolds, Chris Bigos.
Island Beach State Park - 1st Place - Iron Man Medley - Alan Bakes, Ross Reynolds, Dave Bonanni/Chris Bigos

LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 2nd Place - 1500' Women's Paddleboard - Jenn Welc
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 1st Place - 1500' Open Paddleboard - Ross Reynolds
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 1st Place - 1000' Women's Doubles Row - Jenn Welc/Alyssa DeAngelis
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 1st Place - Boat Pick-Up - Jeff Hahn, Mark Dileo
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 1st Place - 1000' Singles Row - Steve Welc
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 1st Place - 1000' Mixed Doubles Row - Rip Wagner/Collette Pretre (2006 champs)
LBIBPA 46th Annual Tournament - 2nd Place - Swim Relay - Darren Podolak, Paul Dungee, Jeff Hahn

Special Recognition
Collette Pretre and Alyssa DeAngelis for winning their division in the Tom's River Row
Dave Bonanni and Chris Bigos for winning the Belmar 8 mile row (also won it in '05 last time they did it)
Dave Bonanni and Steve Welc for winning the Ship Bottom 5 mile row

Event Bookmarks
Lavallette 6-Person Tournament � Friday July 13, 2007 
Seaside Park Women's Tournament � Tuesday July 17, 2007
Seaside Park Open Tournament � Wednesday July 18, 2007
Surf City Epic Lifeguard Tournament � Thursday July 19, 2007
Sandy Hook Women's Tournament � Wednesday July 25, 2007
Ortley Classic � Wednesday July 25, 2007
Midway � Thursday August 2, 2007
Island Beach Motor Lodge � Saturday August 4, 2007
Island Beach State Park Open Tournament� Monday August 6, 2007
Island Beach State Park Women's Tournament� Wednesday August 8, 2007
Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association 46th Annual Tournament - Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12
1st Annual Surf City Banquet - Monday August 13


The Press Room
Asbury Park Press - Island Beach Motor Lodge Tournament
Asbury Park Press - Ortley Beach Classic Tournament
Ocean Country Observer - Island Tournament
Ocean County Observer - Epic Tournament
Press of Atlantic City - Island Tournament
Sandpaper - Epic Tournament
Sandpaper - Island Tournament
Sandpaper - 2007 Sports Upset of the Year
Times Beacon - Epic Tournament
Times Beacon - Island Tournament


Memories from the 2007 Season









Lavallette 6-Person Tournament � Friday July 13, 2007 

Since the Surf City Epic Tournament had to be postponed due to extremely cold water the Lavallette 6-Person tournament would be the first tournament of the 2007 season.  Things were looking very good competition-wise for Surf City this season and the much anticipated first tournament had finally arrived.  After much deliberation it was decided that the following 6 lifeguards would be the most competitive 6-Person team Surf City had to offer.  Alan Bakes, Dave Bonanni, Chris Bigos, Darren Podolak, Ross Reynolds, and Mike Vile.

Alan and Chris in the Line-Pull

As always the first event of the tournament was the Iron Man.  Mike Vile, the winner of many Iron Man events, competed against a very talented field in a perfectly executed race.  It was a very close finish between 2nd and 3rd place and Mike ended up in 3rd place earning 2 team points for Surf City.  It should be noted that the winner of this Iron Man competition from Bradley Beach has won the National Iron Man competition!  This was a serious field.  Next up was the swim relay.  Darren, Alan, Ross, and Mike earned another point for Surf City with a 4th place finish in another really tough field.     

Chris in the hand-over-hand Line Pull

The next event was the Iron Man Medley.  Alan Bakes would be swimming and this would be his first lifeguard tournament.  Even after swimming a little off course Alan still managed to get out of the water in 4th place.  Ross grabbed the board and paddled the Surf City team into 2nd place before handing the race over to Chris and Dave in the boat.  After it was all over Surf City earned another 3 team points for the 2nd place finish in the Iron Man Medley.  Next up was the much anticipated line-pull team of Alan and Chris.  As with most line races it was exciting and I think most of the Surf City squad lost their voices cheering Chris on. In a very close 1-2-3 finish Surf City finished in 3rd.  In another extremely close race Dave and Darren took on the row out swim in and came in 5th place, one place out of scoring team points.  Although it appeared to me and most people on the beach that Surf City was first to the buoy the Lavallette swimmer was the first to enter the water.  In fact the announcer even said that it �looks like Surf City is in the lead� and then a few seconds later the Lavallette swimmer entered the water.  Hmm.

Darren and Dave on the line for the Row-Out/Swim-In

If there was any event Surf City looked to be strong it was the paddle relay and the team of Ross, Mike, Dave, and Chris did not disappoint.  Ross opened up a lead during the initial leg that only became larger and larger as the race progressed.  By the time Chris was handed the board it appeared as though Surf City had it locked up.  Chris has a lot of experience with lifeguard tournaments and knows that anything can happen so he dropped the hammer in his usual manner and made sure no wave would change the final result.  The result was a dominating Surf City 1st place finish. 

Going into the final event, the 6-Man boat relay, the team standings were as follows.  Lavallette and Bradley Beach tied for first with 18 points and Surf City right behind in second with 17 points.  After a very exciting boat relay race Surf City ended up finishing 2nd in the event, and 2nd in the tournament.  Special credit goes out to Dave Bonanni for rowing solo with Alan in the boat and holding onto 2nd place.  Lavallette prevailed once again in their tournament beating the Surf City team by 2 points. 

Lavallette Team:  Ross Reynolds, Mike Vile, Dave Bonanni, Chris Bigos, Alan Bakes, Darren Podolak

 Congratulations to the Surf City 6-Person team on the best Surf City team finish in this tournament since I've been around!


Seaside Park Women's Tournament � Tuesday July 17, 2007

Generally held the day before the open tournament the Seaside Park hosts a women's tournament that has virtually the same events as the open tournament.  All of the women did a great job in the tournament and Surf City earned a 1st place in the 1000' Doubles Row (Alyssa and Jenn).

Jenn and Alyssa victorious!

Allision, Collette, and Alyssa pulling line


Seaside Park Open Tournament � Wednesday July 18, 2007

Kyle had a good start in the beach flags breezing through the first two rounds in which two competitors were eliminated during each round.  From the initial 9 competitors the field was now down to 5.  Then Surf City hit a bit of bad luck.  All 5 competitors were down on the sand and the round was about to start.  Kyle was on the end closest to the ocean.  The starter began to start the round and one competitor false started.  Next the starter instructed the official to move the hose closest to the ocean to the other side or next to the dunes.  Now all of the hoses were farthest from Kyle making it really tough to run the diagonal.  Kyle was eliminated in that round.  Kyle did a great job.  Getting through two rounds in that field is quite an achievement.

Resident speedster Kyle in Beach Flags

Chris came in 2nd in the 800yd run in the Iron Man medley sending Alan into the water in 2nd place.  Alan put in a great swim and was the first person out of the water.  Ross maintained the 1st place as Steve and Mark took off for the final leg of the race the 1000� row.  After a sloppy turn and capsizing the boat they still managed to hold onto first place!  It wasn�t pretty but it was still a 1st place in the Iron Man Medley for Surf City.  Dave and Chris were up next in the 1000� doubles row.  Although they got off to a bit of a shaky start they recovered for a 2nd place finish.   

Steve handing off the board to Ross in the Paddle Relay

Ross bringing it home in the Iron Man Medley

The apex course swim relay was next and Jeff Hahn entered the water first.  After catching a beautiful wave he tagged Rob Myers and Robbie entered the water in 2nd place.  Rob put in a solid swim and managed to close the gap on the 1st place swimmer.  Next up was Paul Dungee and he was able to close a bit more on 1st place.  Alan entered the water about 5 or 6 yards behind the leader and pretty much followed him to the first mark.  It was obvious that Alan had his mind set on passing the swimmer in front of him and got to work on the buoy-to-buoy swim catching the 1st place swimmer by the second buoy.  It was a neck-and-neck race about halfway to shore and then the other swimmer let up and Alan pulled ahead for a 1st place in the swim relay for Surf City.  I was one of the most exciting swim relays I�ve ever watched! 

Ross Reynolds and Jeff Hahn came in 3rd in the paddle rescue.  A pretty amazing finish considering the first time they ever paddled the board together was the previous day in the bay.  The always exciting boat relay was next and Steve and Mark rowed the first leg to 2nd place behind the team from Ortley.  Dave and Chris were up next and pulled away from the field while closing on Ortley.  Finally Rip and Ross completed the third leg for a 2nd place finish for Surf City.

Steve and Mark getting ready to start the Boat Relay

Ross and Rip in the Boat Relay, start pushing North!

Dave Bonanni was up first in the paddle relay and put in a solid paddle before handing off to Steve Welc.  Steve dropped into a beautiful wave and rode it to shore like a real pro, handing the board to Ross in 1st place.  Ross paddled with his usual skill through a pretty good sized set and handed Chris the board with a substantial lead on the rest of the field.  As usual Chris didn�t take the lead for granted and went into �beast mode� and opened up the lead to finish a good 10 seconds ahead of the 2nd place team.

Chris Finishing up the Paddle Relay - Notice the rest of the field!

But then came the controversy.  We saw one of the members of another beach patrol talking to the judges and the next thing we knew we were being disqualified for not touching the flag.  When the board is turned at the buoy it is not necessary to turn the buoy.  The nose of the board is supposed to touch the buoy.  Of course the paddlers don�t want to bash the nose of the board into the buoy (or they�ll be hearing from me!) so they try to just tap the buoy lightly with the board.  Perhaps our paddles missed the buoy by 3 or 4 inches and the neighboring team saw this?  After discussing this with the head judge for a while the Seaside Park judges decided to disqualify Surf City in this event.  Going from 1st place to last in an event is a real hitter when it comes to team points so Surf City moved into 2nd place overall from what would have been maintaining 1st.  The Seaside Park lifeguards do a great job with this tournament and I appreciate them inviting us.  We need to be extra careful next year!

The Surf City run relay team of Mike Szymanski, Kyle Gronostajski, Chris Bigos, and Dave Bonanni finished 2nd in the run relay to close out the tournament.

Chris in the Run Relay

Without the Paddle Relay DQ Surf City would have won the tournament by 10 points.  A dominating victory when you consider Surf City won 3 of 8 events and got 2nd in 3 others.  As it was even with the DQ the Surf City team finished 2nd, only 2 points out of first place.




Surf City Epic Lifeguard Tournament � Thursday July 19, 2007

After a postponement the Epic tournament was finally on.  The weather looked threatening and the water was rough but it was now or never so the tournament was a go.  Darren Podolak, Ross Reynolds and Mark Dileo were to be the Surf Dash team.  Darren came out of the 1st leg in 1st place with Ortley close behind.  As they often do in this tournament Ortley loaded the Surf Dash with some quality swimmers.  Ross came out of the 2nd leg in 2nd place with Ortley in 1st and Barnegat Light close behind in 3rd place.  Mark was up next in third place and with the help of a wave was able to hold onto a 2nd place finish for Surf City in the Surf Dash.


Now that the Epic run-swim was to end on the �main course� the lead Epic swimmers were entering the water just as the Surf Dash swimmers were finishing.  Mike Vile entered the water in 3rd with Alan close behind but they finished 1, 2!  With Alan in first and Mike in second.  This was definitely a dominating 1st place performance for the Epic run-swim for Surf City.


The paddle relay was next and it was to be an especially long paddle this year.  I mistakenly told Steve Welc to set the far buoy at 1000� instead of 750�.  Ross was the first leg of the relay and he was the first one back to the break.  But Long Beach Township and Ortley caught the same wave as Ross and his 10 second lead shrunk to just a few seconds.  Ross handed the board to Mike Vile.  Mike put in a solid paddle and opened up a 15 or so second lead before handing the board to Darren Podolak.  Darren maintained the lead and it was another 1st place finish for Surf City.  Things looked to be going well for Surf City but Long Beach Township is always a threat in the Epic tournament.


Speaking of threatening so was the weather.  It has now started to rain lightly but since there was no lightning it was decided to continue on with the events.  Alan swam in the Iron Man medley and came out in 1st place, Ross opened up that lead a little more, and the rowing team of Mike and Darren brought home another 1st place team finish for Surf City in the Iron Man Medley.


As usual the final event of the Epic tournament was the run-row.  Long Beach Township had a very strong pair of runners and was about 20 seconds ahead of me and Rip as the boats entered the water.  The wind was blowing hard out of the South with a 2 to 4 foot chop.  �Left� was the word of the day in the boat.  We slowly reeled in the Township boat and by the time they reached the break it was nearly a neck-and-neck race with LBT just a few feet ahead.  It came down to a foot race and LBT came out on top in the run-row by just a second or two.






Alan winning the Epic Run-Swim



Congratulations to all of the teams on a good performance in a tough tournament.  After 4 years of hosting this tournament Surf City has won it twice and LBT has won it twice.  Next year should be interesting.

The final team results were as follows:
1st Place � Surf City, 36 points
2nd Place � Long Beach Township, 29 points
3rd Place � Ortley, 14 points


Sandy Hook Women's Tournament � Wednesday July 25, 2007

It was a busy day for the Surf City Beach Patrol with Katie, Alyssa, Farrell, Collette, Caitlin, and Amanda getting up at 5AM to make the trek to Sandy Hook to compete in the annual Sandy Hook Women's Lifeguard Tournament and then the men competing in the Ortley Beach Classic Tournament that same evening.  For the 4th straight year Surf City sent women representatives to compete in this women's tournament which draws female lifeguards from the Great Lakes all the way to the Southeast.  All of the women competed in a variety of running, swimming, paddling, and rowing events.

Alyssa and Collette on the starting line in a self-bailer, they ended up 3rd


Ortley Classic � Wednesday July 25, 2007

The Ortley Classic is one of the most prestigious lifeguard competitions on the Jersey shore.  Surf City has never won it and we were hoping this would be our year.  The tournament started with the Iron Man Medley.  Chris Bigos handled the � mile run portion of the event.  Chris had a great run and Alan entered the water in 2nd place.  Ross grabbed the board and entered the surf into a challenging set of waves.  When it was all over Surf City ended up in 5th place.

Surf City wins the Ortley Classic Lifeguard Tournament in 2007

Next up was the 1000� doubles row and Chris and Dave has been waiting all summer for this one.  After a fantastic row they finished in 1st place with a few seconds to spare.  Surf City had earned 8 team points after the 2nd event (7+1).  Darren, Rob, Alan, and Jeff competed against a very strong field in the 4x500� swim relay and came back with another 5th place for Surf City.  Total Surf City points at this point, 9.  Luckily no team was dominating the tournament at this point so it was still possible for Surf City to win.

 Dave Bonanni and Darren Podolak earned a much needed 3 points for 3rd place in the Row-Out/Swim-In and the paddle relay team of Matt Holloway, Ross Reynolds, Steve Welc, and Chris Bigos earned a second place finish.  Surf City team points, 17.


Steve and Mark came in from their leg of the boat relay in 2nd place and Chris and Dave caught a beautiful wave and tilled it straight into shore and into our lane giving the boat relay team a huge lead as the final leg of Ross and Darren entered the boat.  As Chris and Dave hooked into that wave and Chris ran to the back to till you could see that as the boat started to shear that Chris had that �oh no you don�t� look on his face and muscled the boat back into line.  The end result was a 1st place finish for Surf City in the boat relay.  Ortley was now in first place with 27 points and Surf City was in second with 23.  The last event was the run relay.  If Surf City was to win the tournament they needed  a 1st place in the run relay and Ortley had to finish no better than 4th place.

The run relay team of Mike Szymanski, Kyle Gronostajski, Chris Bigos, and Dave Bonanni did not disappoint bringing home another Surf City 1st and clinching the Ortley Classic Tournament title for Surf City.   Congratulations to the Ortley team on a great performance!  And congratulations to the always strong Ortley team for a great performance and running an exciting tournament.




Midway � Thursday August 2, 2007

In the past Midway wasn�t a tournament that a lot to teams attended and many of the more competitive teams didn�t sent their top competitors.  Not this year.  Eleven teams were at Midway and it looked like most of the squads brought their �A� team.  Although Surf City would be missing Chris Bigos and Mike Vile, both key competitors, the squad would still bring a strong team.  The first event was the paddle relay consisting of Dave Bonanni, Steve Welc, Ross Reynolds, and Matt Holloway.  Surf City was in the North-most lane and the waves just weren�t there so the Surf City paddlers had to settle for 2nd place.  Ortley in the lane on the South side won the paddle relay.

Ready to get it on at Midway Beach

Dave Bonanni and Mark  scored a 1st place and 7 team points for Surf City in the boat pick-up.  After a great launch Dave put in a nice straight, hard row and was first to the buoy.  I  hopped in and we held the lead to the finish.  I have to admit that rowing with Dave was easy since we put in quite a few miles in 2002 when we won the mile row in the LBIBPA tournament that year.  The swim relay team of Darren Podolak, Paul Dungee, Alan Bakes, and Jeff Hahn battled the always strong Ortley swimmers for a solid second place finish.  Once again Jeff was able to catch a wave on the last leg of the swim relay.  How does he do it?

Jeff anchoring the Swim Relay

Steve and I were up next in the first leg of the always exciting boat relay and after a solid row to the buoy and turn they caught a nice wave and rowed it straight into shore in 1st place.  The always strong Ortley team was in 2nd.  Darren Podolak and Dave Bonanni also had a solid row but the Barnegat Light boat caught a bomb of a wave about 10 strokes off the buoy.  The Barnegat Light crew deserves props for tilling that wave straight into shore and putting them in the lead in the boat relay.  Rip Wagner and Ross Reynolds finished up the boat relay with a solid row for Surf City 2nd place.

Steve and Mark in the first leg of the Boat Relay

After 4 events in the 7 event tournament Surf City had three 2nd place finishes and one 1st place finish earning them 5+5+5+7=22 team points.  Surf City had what appeared to be an insurmountable lead in the tournament.  Steve and Darren came in 6th place in the row-out/swim-in, just out of the points.

Even without scoring points in the previous event Surf City was still holding a lead in the tournament going into the six person run-relay.  Runners in the relay would be Mike Szymanski, Paul Dungee, Jeff Hahn, Steve Welc, Kyle Gronostajski, and Dave Bonanni.  Keep in mind that this is an event that Surf City has either came in 1st or 2nd place in every tournament this season.  But one can never count on things to go as planned, especially when 11 teams are running in a confined beach space.  Unfortunately one of the hand-offs was miscalculated and the buoy shot up into the air like a banana shooting out of a car tailpipe!  That buoy shot up into the air with such speed that it actually popped a runner from one of the other teams in the head!  As one of our runners remarked, �if it wasn�t such a sad sight I�d have to say it was one of the funniest mishaps I�ve ever seen!�  When the sand settled Surf City ended up coming in 2nd place overall in the Midway beach tournament, just 1 point behind the winning team from Ortley beach.  Congratulations to the Ortley team on their Midway beach tournament win.  Thank you Midway beach for inviting us to one of the most fun tournaments of the season. 




Island Beach Motor Lodge � Saturday August 4, 2007

The Island Beach Motor Lodge, located just North of the entrance to Island Beach, is a small but talented squad consisting of 9 lifeguards.  The Motor Lodge patrol decided they would host a tournament this year and the tournament would be different from most of the other local tournaments in that the events would simulate actual rescues.  Swimmers would swim with buoys and boats would have to be pushed over the start/finish line to name a few differences in this tournament.  The events were also very creative and the event was well run.  It was a fun night.

The first event was the 3 person line-pull.  Alan Bakes swam out to the buoy without fins to pick-up Rob Myers, also not wearing fins.  In this event a torpedo buoy was not necessary required since in many line rescues the line swimmer simply uses a belt to swim out to the victim.  Steve Welc was picked to pull in Alan and Rob and the trio had a good performance with a 2nd place finish.

The next event was the Row-Out/Swim-In but with a twist.  Two rowers would row out one swimmer and the swimmer must swim with a torpedo buoy to simulate an actual rescue.  Dave Bonanni and Chris Bigos rowed and Alan Bakes again swam.  Alan crossed the finish line just a few seconds behind the swimmer from the Motor Lodge but the Motor Lodge swimmer didn�t use a torpedo buoy.  It was a tough decision for the Surf City squad to ask for the disqualification of the Motor Lodge swimmer.  On one hand swimming 500+ feet without a buoy and strap definitely gives a competitive advantage since there is no drag from the buoy, the line, or the line interfering with the kick of the swimmer.  On the other hand the Motor Lodge swimmer did put in an impressive swim.  Would the buoy have made the difference?  The squad was split on what to do and the final decision was up to me.  I decided that for a 500' swim the lack of a buoy could have made a difference and told the judges that I thought there was a competitive advantage gained that could have made a difference in the event outcome.  I also told the judges that of course we would abide by whatever they decided.  In the end the judges decided to DQ the Motor Lodge in this event.  In retrospect I think having been on the bad end of a couple disqualifications during the season prompted our protest.  If I had the chance to do it again I would have let it go.  Surf City earned 1st place points for the event but it never feels good to win an event in such a manner.

Next up was the Medley Relay and what a great event.  First Rob Myers swam out to Alan who then swam back to shore.  Alan exited the water in 1st place and upon crossing the line Matt Holloway took off on the paddleboard for the buoy and exchanged the board with Chris who then paddled back to shore.  Matt and Chris opened extended the lead on the 2nd place team.  After the board crossed the finish line Dave was off on the kayak to a waiting Jeff Hahn.  Dave kayaked a clean line to Jeff and the transition went off without a hitch.  Jeff even caught a wave on the way back to shore and rode it straight in!  Steve and Mark Dileo were provided a large lead for the final leg of the event, a 1000� row, and maintained 1st place for Surf City in the third event of the tournament.

The final event of the tournament was the rescue relay which consisted of a short beach run, a buoy rescue (both victim and rescuer using fins), a paddle rescue, a boat rescue, and a repeat of the run by the original runner.  As has been the case all summer Chris did a great job with the run and got Alan into the water first.  Alan and Rob pulled away from the pack in the buoy rescue portion of the event where Matt and Jeff extended on that lead with the outstanding paddle rescue leg.  Dave and Mark sealed the deal with a fine performance in the boat rescue.

Surf City won the tournament with three 1st places and one 2nd place.  It was a relief to know that the disqualification didn�t change the outcome of which team won the tournament as was the case with Surf City in the Seaside Park tournament.  Kudos to the Island Beach Motor Lodge for putting on a well-run, fun, and interesting tournament!






Island Beach State Park Open Tournament� Monday August 6, 2007

The Island Beach State Park lifeguard tournament is the final off-island tournament of the season and possibly the most competitive.  This year there were eleven competing teams.  After beating the always strong Ortley doubles crew at the Ortley tournament Dave Bonanni and Chris Bigos were eager to row against their Ortley �nemesis� crew again.  Although there was big surf on this night all of the boats got out clean and hit about the same number of waves.  Dave and Chris had a great row to the buoy and were first out of the turn.  They opened up the lead a bit more on the row back to shore and caught a wave.  Dave moved to the back and kept the boat on a straight course.  But Ortley also got the wave and it was breaking a little stronger on the North side of the course.  As often happens in lifeguard races with unpredictable surf, Ortley got a little longer ride than Surf City.  Not to take anything away from the Ortley rower, they are a great crew.  The Surf City lead disappeared and 1st place turned into 2nd place.  Still it was a great performance from Dave and Chris against a very strong field of boat crews.

Dave and Chris in the 1000' Doubles Row at Island Beach State Park

Darren, Alan, Rob, and Jeff were up next in the 4x500� relay.  Ortley has been the team to beat in the swim relay all summer and once again they showed their strength in this event by coming 1st place.  Next to the beach were the Lavallette swimmers, then Sandy Hook, followed by Surf City in 4th.  All of these squads have very strong swim relays so this was a very competitive event.

Matt Holloway has been coming on strong on the paddleboard lately so it was decided that he would lead off the paddle relay.  He had a solid paddle as did Steve, Ross, and Chris but in the end the winner would be decided by a wave and Surf City placed 2nd in this event.  At this point in the tournament Lavallette was winning with 22 points while Surf City and Ortley were tied for second with 21 points each.

Chris and Jeff in the Boat Relay at Island Beach State Park

The Iron Man Medley team of Alan, Ross, and Chris and Dave came up with a relatively easy first place victory in this event and that put the Surf City team solidly in first place going into the 8 person boat relay.  Rip and I caught a nice wave on the first leg, rowing it in �old skool� for a first place hand off to Steve and Ross.  The Ortley boat caught a nice wave on this leg and moved into 1st place while Surf City opened up the distance from 3rd place.  The next crew was Dave Bonanni and Darren and they opened the lead a bit more.  The final Surf City boat was Chris Bigos and Jeff Hahn and they got a little twisted up in some bombs on the way in and ended up in 6th place.  A tough finish but the tournament title was still in play for Surf City since they looked to have a very strong team in the Rescue Race.

Chris and Dave Pulling Line at Island Beach State Park

First up was the line-pull with Alan swimming, Rob as the victim, and Dave and Chris pulling.  But then disaster struck again.  There was some confusion and the pullers began pulling before Alan got all the way to the buoy.  Just to make matters worse they stopped and then started pulling again.  Of course you can�t pull your line swimmer in when he�s 20 yards from the buoy and expect to do well in the race.  The paddle pick-up team of Matt Holloway and Jeff Hahn made up some ground on the field as did doubles boat team of Steve and Mark but it wasn�t enough to score points in this event.  The Island Beach Tournament turned out to be another �almost� night for Surf City.  The final team standings were Ortley in 1st, Lavallette in 2nd, and Surf City in 3rd.



 Island Beach State Park Women's Tournament� Wednesday August 8, 2007

In a similar fashion to the Seaside Park open/women's Tournaments the Island Beach State Park Beach Patrol also holds a pair of open and women's tournaments and of course Surf City sent a women's team! 

Ashley getting ready to start the swim relay

Allision in the Paddle Relay and Caitlin in the Swim Relay


7th Annual DeAngelis Pasta Party - Thursday August 9, 2007

For the seventh year in a row the DeAngelis family hosted the pasta party the night before the Island Tournament.  I can't believe Collette and Alyssa's parents have been hosting this event for 7 years now!  As usual it's great night as everybody gets to unwind a bit, reflect on all the good times and training, and prepare for the Island Tournament the next day.  Thanks to Mr. and Mrs. DeAngelis (as well as Collette, Alyssa, Caitlin, and everybody else that helps out) for once again having the squad over for a great dinner!



Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association 46th Annual Tournament
Saturday August 11 and Sunday August 12

As is the case every year the culminating event for Long Beach Island lifeguards is the Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association (LBIBPA) tournament.  The tournament was first held in 1962 and this would be the 46th annual tournament.  It is also interesting to note that the last team to win this tournament beside Barnegat Light and Long Beach Township was Ship Bottom in 1989.  Perhaps Surf City could break the Barnegat Light/LBT streak?  Up to this point in the summer Surf City had won 3 tournaments, got second in 3 tournaments, and third in another.  It would be making history for Surf City to win since they had not won it since 1980.

Alan, Ross, and Mikey grabbing a cat nap during the exhausting celebration.

The wind was gusting 25+ knots on the scheduled first night of the tournament, Friday August 10, so the tournament was cancelled.  On Saturday night the wind had calmed down significantly but the surf was still huge so it was decided that only paddling and swimming events would be held.  First up was Jenn Welc in the 1500� Women�s paddleboard.  It has been quite interesting to watch how the competition in this event has escalated over the past few years to the point where all of the competitors are highly skilled on the board.  Jenn got off to a good start and was in good position on the way out to the buoy and was looking strong.  She knee paddling and really handling the waves and chop well.  It was an exciting race so I'll let the following sequence of pictures tell the story.  Although Jenn  was the first paddler to reach the shore by a few seconds it unfortunately wasn�t clear where the paddlers were supposed to finish and Jenn finished in 2nd place just a step behind the leader.  Great job Jenn!

Paddling with the leader on the back of the box

Bringing it home

First to the beach!

Alan and Rob were up next in the much anticipated buoy rescue race.  Alan was second to the buoy behind the Barnegat Light swimmer by a few seconds.  The Barnegat Light team also managed to catch a wave on the way in and extended that lead to about 6 or 7 seconds.  Unfortunately Surf City lost contact with the buoy in a huge wave for a few seconds and the Surf City duo which came across the finish line in 2nd place by a large margin was disqualified.

Next was the paddleboard relay team of Matt Holloway, Ross Reynolds, Kyle Gronostajski, and Steve Welc.  Matt was up first and did a fine job negotiating the huge surf and handed off the board to Ross close behind the leaders.  Ross had a great paddle, caught a wave and handed off the board to Kyle in first place.  Kyle did his best but the waves weren�t with him and he exited the water in third place.  In the final leg Steve held onto third place.

Matt Holloway on his way back to shore in the paddle relay

Ross and Kyle in the paddle relay

Steve hanging onto to a huge wave!

These three events would be all of the events for the first night of the races this year.  At the end of the night the Surf City squad was in 4th place overall.

The second night started with the Mile Row and the 1500� paddleboard being held simultaneously.  After getting off to a solid start Ross made a move in the buoy-to-buoy section of the race and with three or four long strokes virtually rocketed into the lead.  Ross and the 2nd place Long Beach Township paddler caught the same wave to the beach.  It looked to be an exciting finish.  Ross hustled the board out of the wash and across the line to give Surf City it�s first 1st place of the 2007 Island Tournament.  The 1500� paddleboard is quite a race to watch because of the high skill level of all 6 paddlers.  Just one mistake and you are out of the race.  Congratulations to Ross Reynolds the 2007 1500� LBIBPA paddleboard champion.

It came down to a close finish!

Ross getting ready for a quick exit

Ross with the gold in the 1500' Paddleboard for 2007

Dave and Chris looked to have the mile row all locked up by the halfway point of the race.  They had passed all of the boats ahead of them and increased the distance to the only boat behind them.  But quite a few of the boats seemed to be entering the 2nd turn of the race at the same time and it looked likely that there would be a collision.  Unfortunately there was a collision.  I can tell you from first hand experience that when that happens in the mile row the race turns into a race among the boats that weren�t in the collision or spent the least amount of time tied up in the collision.  Despite the long amount of time spent tied up at the buoy the Surf City boat still managed to finish the race in 4th place.  Kudos to Dave and Chris for recovering for some Surf City team points even after being hung up at the buoy for what seemed like an eternity.

Dave and Chris in the Mile Row.  That is one serious lean!

Jenn Welc and Alyssa DeAngelis took on the 1000� Women�s Doubles row and after their victory at the Island Beach State Park Tournament there was no doubt they would be a very competitive boat.  The race was never in doubt as the Surf City women�s team was first to the buoy, first out of the turn and first to the beach.  This would be Surf City�s second gold medal of the 46th annual LBIBPA tournament.  Congratulations to Jenn and Alyssa the 2007 Women�s Doubles row Long Beach Island champions.

A nice tight turn, right on the buoy

Jenn and Alyssa pulling away from the pack


The rescue race was up next and Jeff Hahn had a great swim to the buoy getting there just a second or two behind the leader.  I rowed out to pick up Jeff and after a few harrowing moments during which Jeff entered the boat we started the row back to shore.  Jeff did a nice job on the oars.  Always the wise competitor Jeff knew the swimmer had to cross the finish line so he hustled across the line for Surf City�s third 1st place finish in the tournament.  Nice.

Jeff heads for Gold in the Surf Boat Rescue

Darren Podolak was up next in the Iron Man.  The Iron Man is probably the toughest event in the tournament and for the second year in a row Darren stepped up to take on the challenging field of Iron Men.  Not only is the event long and thus requires endurance but the Iron Man must be a technically proficient swimmer, paddler, and rower.  After a grueling event in big surf Darren emerged with a strong 3rd place finish for Surf City.  Those were some hard earned team points!

Darren in the Iron Man dealing with the large surf

Mark and Rip were up next in their bid to defend their gold medal in the 1000� doubles row from the 2006 tournament.  As is often the case in boating races it came down to a wave and the Surf City crew finished in 3rd place.  Alan Bakes and Ashley Morris were up next taking on the 1000� Open and Women�s swims.  In the open race it wasn�t even close.  Alan took the lead early and simply never let up extending his lead to 10 seconds by the finish the race.  The last time I saw a Surf City swimmer take apart a field like that was Rich Freda in 1989 and Shawn Burke in 1987.  The Women�s race was much closer and actually more exciting.  Ashley was battling for second place for most of the race, just a few yards behind the leader.  But just as the women approached the shore Ashley caught a wave, rode it all the way to shore, hustled out of the surf, and ran across the finish line in 1st place!  Her 8 years of experience definitely showed.  Those two 1st place finished brought the Surf City gold medal count to five.  Congratulations to the male and female island swim champions Alan Bakes and Ashley Morris.

Mark and Rip in the 1000' Doubles

Ashley sprinting for the finish - Another happy Gold medalist - And a happy Rip!

2, 1, 3 in the Women's Swim


Matt Holloway and Kyle Gronostajski completed the Paddle Rescue but came up short of the medal places.  The Line-Pull team of Rob Myers, Dave Bonanni, and Chris Bigos finished up in third place just a fraction of a second behind the second place team.  The line-pull as always was a very exciting race. 

Kyle and Matt in the Paddle Rescue

The Line-Pull

The 1000� Singles Row was up next and this race never disappoints as far as excitement goes.  Steve Welc was representing Surf City in this event and had a fantastic row.  It was a close race after the turn and the lead boats all caught a wave as often happens.  Sensing the boat was starting to shear to the South Steve pulled three hard right strokes to keep the boat in line while the other boats sheared.  This victory would give Surf City its sixth first place finish.  Congratulations to Steve Welc 2007 LBIBPA singles row champion.

Dave and Chris launch Steve in the 1000' Doubles and Steve hooks into wave

Steve ready to jump and getting his Gold

Rip Wagner and Collette Pretre had won the Mixed Doubles Row in 2006 and they were eager to defend their title.  After a truly fantastic launch by Dave and Chris the mixed team literally walked away from the field getting to the buoy about 2 seconds ahead of the nearest boat.  A two second lead to the buoy might not seem like a lot of time but in a 1000� boat race it is.  After a clean turn they extended their lead by another second and then added a few more seconds to it on the way to shore to claim an easy two-peat victory in the Mixed Doubles Row.  This would be the �Cities� seventh gold medal.  Nice job Rip and Collette.  It is not easy to go back-to-back gold in the LBIBPA tournament.  I also want to give special congratulations to Rip on this victory.  Rip has been training and rowing with women in this event for nearly 20 years now.  Just from memory I can remember him winning it with Collette Pretre, Patti Lockwood, Patti DeAmbrosio, Michele Miller, and with his sister Janet.  Well actually he won with his sister by about 20 seconds then got disqualified because a boat handler touched the boat before the second rower exited the boat!  I believe that was 1988 but don't get me started...  The amazing thing is that Rip has probably won this race 8 or 9 times.  He really has a knack for it and I can't wait to watch Rip and Collette to defend their title in '08.

Rip and Collette - 2006 and 2007 LBIBPA Mixed Doubles Rowing Champs

At this point the race for the tournament title was essentially over since Surf City was ahead of the second place Barnegat Light squad by 8 points.  Even if Surf City got disqualified in the final race and Barnegat Light won that event the tournament would be a tie with the winner going to the team with the most first places finishes.  And that was Surf City.  But I didn't know this at the time and one of the newspaper reporters came up to me and said, "how does it feel to win the tournament after 27 years?"    I knew we were doing well but I hadn't calculated the points exactly so I thought we needed some sort of finish in the Surf Dash to lock it up.  But no such worries as the Surf City Surf Dash team of Jeff Hahn, Paul Dungee, and Darren Podolak fought the winning Barnegat Light Dash team all the way to the end, finishing in second place.

When it was all over Surf City had won the Long Beach Island Beach Patrol Association with 88 points.  Barnegat Light came in second with 82 points, and Long Beach Township third with 74 points.  This would be the first time in 27 years (since 1980) that Surf City had won the tournament and the first time since 1989 that a team other than Barnegat Light or Long Beach Township had won the tournament.  Congratulations to the Surf City Beach Patrol!


1st Annual Surf City Banquet - Monday August 13

Once again Collette took the lead in organizing yet another Surf City event.  The 1st Annual Surf City Banquet.  It was perfect timing as it was the day after the team had won the LBIBPA tournament.  Since the tournament had been postponed a day it ended on Sunday and the banquet was the following Monday.  A perfect opportunity to continue the celebration from the previous day!












See you in '08!

- Mark




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