The Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame was started in 2011 to honor men and women who contributed to the legacy of the beach patrol and exceptionally served the community during the many decades of SCBP�s long and storied history.

With the honor of United States Lifesaving Association National Certification being bestowed upon the Surf City Beach Patrol in 2011, it was believed that it would be an appropriate time to begin to recognize and memorialize lifeguards who over the years have epitomized the very best of the SCBP.

Each year, the members of the current leadership team of the Surf City Beach Patrol will be joined by delegates from the Surf City Beach Patrol Alumni Association to select two former lifeguards for induction into the Surf City Beach Patrol.  These selections will be based upon the following criteria:

At least two years of service on the Surf City Beach Patrol.

Demonstration of professionalism, integrity, and leadership while carrying out the duties of a  lifeguard   for the Surf City Beach Patrol.

Dedication to the mission of the Surf City Beach Patrol and unique contributions to the organization and community.

Achievements in the areas of beach patrol training, fitness and competition.

The inductees selected inductees will be honored at the annual Surf City Beach Patrol Banquet in August.  The inductees will receive a framed certificate of induction and be honored on a permanent display in the Surf City Beach Patrol headquarters.  If you have any nominations for the Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame, please reach out to the committee at dileomd1@gmail.com  A special thanks and congratulations to all the members of the Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame.


8th Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - August 2022
Inductees:  Rip Wagner and Tony Nitti

Richard �Rip� Wagner was a member of the Surf City Patrol from 1980 to 2019.  A teacher in Japan and Germany, Wagner was a highly regarded and respected guard on 10th Street for many years before moving into �the truck� and taking a leadership position with �Unit 1.�

A tremendous all-around athlete and a fierce competitor, Wagner was a college athlete at the University of Pittsburgh and a top-flight triathlete.  He was an excellent swimmer, outstanding runner and one of the top oarsman on the Island.  Wagner was an Island Champion in many events, many times over, with many different partners, in the boat, particularly in the 1000 Open Doubles Row and the 1000 Mixed Doubles Row. Wagner also was a valuable coach and mentor for young guards learning how to compete in the boat.

Wagner is now retired and lives in Ship Bottom with his wife Janet.  They are both still very supportive of the beach patrol.

�Rip was such a tremendous presence on the Surf City Beach Patrol for four decades,� Captain Mark Dileo stated.  �He was a great leader, highly professional guard, and one of the most decorated competitors in SCBP competitive history.  The Hall of Fame was created for people like Rip.�


Rip and Gavin Lentz pulling line in the Island Raes in 1985.

Rip and Hall of Famer Tony Nitti on thier way to an Island 1000' Doubles Gold in 2003

Rip and Chris Bigos just before earning an Island 1000' Doubles Gold in 2002

An early Epic 1st Place Team


Tony Nitti was a guard for the Surf City Beach Patrol during the early to mid-2000s and is still involved in the SCBP LIT program today.

 Nitti followed in the footsteps of his brothers Mike and Dave in joining the SCBP.  Nitti spent the majority of his career guarding the busy southern beaches, where he quickly earned a reputation for professionalism and reliability.  He became known for his friendly demeanor, love of the beach, and passion for guarding.

 Like Wager, a strong triathlete and runner, he quickly became a valuable member of the Surf City community and the beach patrol�s competitive team.  He would spend his time organizing youth triathlons for the children of the community, many of whom would grow up to become guards, and won an Island championship with Wagner in the boat.

 A partner for Ernst and Young, Nitti currently lives in Basalt, Colorado with his wife Lauren, son Ryan and daughter Emily.  He summers in Surf City and still volunteers his time to the beach patrol and working with prospective guards. He also has gained considerable notoriety as the foremost tournament announcer for lifeguard competitions in Southern Ocean County.

 �Like Rip, Tony epitomizes the very best of the Surf City Beach Patrol,� Captain Mark Dileo stated.  �He was an outstanding lifeguard, strong competitor, and an even better person.  It is a pleasure to still have Tony working with the patrol and an honor to welcome him to the Hall of Fame.�





7th Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - August 2019
Inductees:  Adam Podolak and Darren Podolak

Adam Podolak guarded for the Surf City Beach Patrol from 2001 to 2006.  Adam came to the Surf City Beach Patrol in 2001 as an experienced lifeguard having spent the previous three summers guarding open water at a lake.  He spent his time with SCBP on the Division-N2nd beaches and was known by his beachgoers for running a safe and orderly beach.

Adam was a creative �out of the box� thinker who was always willing to try new lifesaving and competition techniques.

Adam was an excellent swimmer and a strong overall competitor for SCBP.  He was an Island Champion in the Boat Rescue and medaled in other swimming events such as the line pull.  Adam also possessed excellent rowing and paddling skills and his versatility made him a valuable lifeguard and competitor.



Darren Podolak spent the majority of his career guarding the always-busy 6th street waters, where he quickly garnered a reputation for professionalism and competency.  He was known for his cool head and always positive attitude towards his work and pursuits.

Darren quickly became one of most well-rounded guards in SCBP history.  Always a strong swimmer, his work and dedication led to him become an outstanding paddler and oarsman.  Darren represented Surf City as its Iron Man in the Island Championships, medaling in the event, and was a key member of the SCBP Island Champion squads of 2007 and 2008. 

 Darren was a big part of a resurgence of the Surf City Competition team that saw the squad emerge as a dominant force along the Jersey Shore in the mid to late 2000s, kicked off by the patrol winning its first off-island tournament since the 1970s at Midway Beach.  This was the beginning of a long string of tournament wins over the next few years.  Darren was instrumental to those wins competing in many winning swim relays, paddle relays, open swims, boat swims, and iron man medley events. 

 �Both Adam and Darren epitomize the very best of the Surf City Beach Patrol,� SCBP Captain Mark Dileo stated.  �They were outstanding lifeguards, exceptional competitors, and even better people.  It is an honor to welcome them to the Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame.�




6th Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - August 11, 2018
Inductees:  Ed Pretre and Alan Bakes

Ed Pretre guarded for the Surf City Beach Patrol from 1993 to 1998.  Ed was and exemplary lifeguard who spent most of his tenure on the very busy and challenging 8th Street beach.  Ed joined the beach patrol as a highly accomplished swimmer at teh club, scholastic, and collegiate level at the University of West Virginia.  His skills and strength in the water carried over to lifeguard competition, where Ed was a big aprt of the some very strong SCBP competition squads of the mid-1990s.  Ed was a multi-time Island champion as the swimmer on the line-pull relay, turning in some dominating performances, and was a part of several Island champion swim relays during his competitive career.  Ed possessed a strong work ethic and served a key rol as a mentor and trainer of the beach patrol swimmers.  After his days on the beach patrol, Ed moved into a career as a swim coach, where he has achieved success on the national level at several colleges and universities.  He has remained a strong supporter of the patrol over the years, helping train lifegaurds as well as sending his swimmers to work in Surf City.  Ed is currently the assistant coach for the Villanova University swim team.


Alan Bakes was a lifeguard for the Surf City Beach Patrol from 2007 through 2014.  Alan was highly regarded as a dedicated and vigilant lifeguard who generally worked the town�s busiest southern beaches.  An outstanding swimmer who was a standout in the pool at Rutgers University, Alan was arguably Surf City�s most valuable competition swimmer on some very strong race teams during his time on the patrol.  A multi-event champion in the Island tournament, Alan was a key member of the 2007 and 2008 LBI Championship winning teams as well as being a standout on the squads that won the Ortley Classic Lifeguard Tournament in 2007, 2008, and 2009.  A Mechanical Engineering major at Rutgers, Alan currently works in that field.





5th Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - August 8, 2015
Inductees:  Joe Bembry, Ryan Curtin, Kyle Gronostajski

Joe Bembry
Years of Service:  1989-2002

Joe Bembry was part of the Surf City Beach Patrol from the late 80s through the 2000s.  After several years on the stand, Joe joined �Unit 1� and became a key part of the beach patrol leadership team as a Lieutenant, a position he served in for many years.    Perhaps one of the best all-around athletes to ever work on the Surf City Beach Patrol, his talents as a standout soccer, basketball and baseball player translated well to lifeguarding, as did his natural leadership ability.  An outstanding runner, he was a key part of many championship SCBP competitive running squads and was frequently the leadoff leg in Iron Man relays.  These skills carried over to the line-pull, where he a top competitor in many tournaments, winning numerous Island championships with swimmer Ed Pretre and line partner Matt Duffy.  Joe was also strong in the boat, and rowed in the 1000 doubles, mixed doubles and many boat relays in various competitions.



Ryan Curtin
Years of Service:  2004-2013

Ryan worked on the popular, crowded and challenging beach of North 2nd St.  Ryan was a skilled and gifted waterman who was passionate about both the ocean and lifeguarding.   Ryan was an exceptional paddler and runner and could always be counted on to help out the beach patrol in any way possible both on and off duty. Ryan was part of the only Surf City paddle relay team to win the Island Tournament.   Ryan provided leadership and served as mentors for all the guards, and made many valuable contributions above and beyond their typical duties to SCBP and the community.



Kyle Gronostajski
Years of Service:  2004-2013



Kyle also worked on the popular, crowded and challenging beach of Division St.  A passionate surfer himself, Kyle was skilled at maintaining a firm yet respectful relationship with the surfers on the beach just to the South of Division St.  Kyle was and continues to be a staunch defender of the beach and ocean.  Kyle was a gifted �all-arounder� and was especially strong on the paddleboard and also competed in the boat.  He was part of the only Surf City paddle team to win the Island Paddle Relay.  Kyle was also an exceptionally fast sprint runner having competed in many winning sprint relays.  Physically fit and strong in all aspects of competition, Kyle was a versatile athlete who could always be counted on to help out in any way possible for the beach patrol.  Kyle also provided leadership and served as mentors for all the guards, and made many valuable contributions above and beyond their typical duties to SCBP and the community.



4th Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - Friday August 8, 2014
Inductees:  Mike Garrison, Jeff Hahn

Mike Garrison
Years of Service:  1988-1992

Mike Garrison was part of the Surf City Beach Patrol 1988 to 1992, ultimately serving as Lieutenant.    An all-around outstanding lifeguard, Mike always approached his duties with a sense of pride and responsibility, and was highly respected and admired for his skills and beach management by his patrol mates and the beach community.  An excellent surfer and paddler, Mike was of the earliest standout performers on the paddleboard and helped lead the transition from heavy �Red Conns� to the elite competition equipment that exists today.  He was a key member of the SCBP competition team and a strong performer in the Island championships, and was a part of several stellar paddle relay teams that represented the patrol in tournaments.



Jeff Hahn
Years of Service:  2005-2010

Jeff Hahn was part of the Surf City Beach Patrol from 2005-2010.  Jeff worked most often on 10th street, a challenging and demanding beach to guard, and always set high standards for safety and professionalism.  A skilled and gifted athlete and waterman,  Jeff excelled in any event: swimming, running, rowing or paddling.  Jeff was an integral part of the dominating 2007 and 2008 SCBP Island Championship teams that also won many off-island tournaments.  Besides competing and excelling in the grueling Iron Man competition, always a showcase of the best all-around lifeguards, Jeff excelled in the boat pick-up, row out/swim in, 1000' swim, swim relay, and boat relay.  A clutch performer and outstanding leader, Jeff could always be counted on to provide leadership and serve as a role model for all the guards.






3rd Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - Friday August 16, 2013
Inductees:  Michele Miller, Sean Gordon

Michele Miller
Years of Service:  1992-1997

An exceptional athlete and a highly skilled lifeguard, Michelle was exemplary in her beach supervision and a standout member of the Surf City competition teams of the early to mid-90s.  An amazing competitor, Michelle first made her mark as an outstanding runner, winning many awards and titles on the local and national level.  Also very strong in the water, she was an excellent swimmer, paddler and became an accomplished oarswoman, winning both the Women�s Row and Mixed Double�s row in the LBI tournament multiple times. Michelle becomes the first woman inducted into the Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame.   




 Sean Gordon
Years of Service:  1996-2004

An outstanding all-around lifeguard and consummate team-player, Sean always demonstrated professionalism and leadership as a member of SCBP.   Sean was one of SCBP�s first EMTs, and provided CPR/First Aid instruction to the patrol for many years.    A multi-talented member of the squad, Sean provided many services to the beach patrol, from fixing boards and repairing equipment to stocking first aid kids and keeping the patrol on the cutting edge of rescue technology.  A strong all-around lifeguard, Sean also represented the beach patrol in the prestigious Ironman competition on several occasions.  





2nd Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - Tuesday August 14, 2012
Inductees:  Hugh Lavery, Mike Dunn, Steve Welc

Hugh Lavery
Years of Service:  1983-1985
"The Godfather"

Hugh Lavery was part of the Surf City Beach Patrol for three years in the mid 1980s as a college student at Rutgers College.  In addition to competing as a collegiate rower on the Rutgers Mens Heavyweight Crew team, his competition specialties on the beach patrol were pulling line and swimming, having earned medals in both disciplines.  He was a part of the 1985 competition team which came very close to winning the Island Tournament. Hugh was the consummate professional lifeguard.  A model of integrity, Hugh set a high standard for beach supervision, public relations, and handling emergency situations that have served as a model for decades.  Perhaps his greatest contribution, and indeed his lasting legacy, may be his legendary status as a pioneer and vanguard for other guards to travel to Surf City to become a part of the beach patrol.  As last count, no fewer than twenty current and former SCBP members can track their lineage to Hugh�s fateful decision to make that historic pilgrimage.  To this day Hugh works out with the patrol during his summer vacation offering advice and words of wisdom to the current Surf City Lifeguards.





Mike Dunn
Years of Service:  1998-2005
"The Last Boy Scout"

Mike Dunn worked for the Surf City Beach Patrol from 1998-2005.  An outstanding all-around lifeguard, Mike always demonstrated a high degree of responsibility and professionalism while carrying out his duties and was a leader on the squad from his earliest days on the patrol.   Always a strong swimmer who became an exceptional paddler and rower, Mike represented SCBP in many off-Island tournaments and was consistently a key performer during the Island championships.  Most noteworthy among these was a rare �double gold� in 2004 when he won the Mile Row with Captain Mark Dileo, and followed up the next night with a victory in the Singles Row. 






Steve Welc
Years of Service:  2001-2008

The first inductee in the Surf City Hall of Fame who guarded only in the 21st century, Steve Welc spent eight years on the patrol.  An exceptional waterman, Steve was a respected and professional figure as a lifeguard on some of Surf City�s busiest beaches.  Initially a strong paddler who ushered in a new era of competitiveness on the board for Surf City, Steve was renowned for his strong work ethic and intense training methods.  Became an integral part of the strong SCBP competition teams of the late 2000s that demonstrated their dominance both off and on Long Beach Island.  Included were tournament victories at Ortley, Island Beach, Seaside Park and Midway, and, most notably, SCBP�s first Long Beach Island championship in over 25 years in 2007 and 2008.   Individual accomplishments include winning the Mile Row in 2008 with Captain Mark Dileo, claiming the Single Row in 2007 and multiple paddling podium finishes.







1st Annual Hall Of Fame Ceremony - Tuesday August 16, 2011
Inductee - Michael Nitti


Name:  Mike Nitti
Years of Service:  1987 - 2001

The first inductee into the Surf City Beach Patrol Hall of Fame in 2011, Mike Nitti was part of the Surf City Beach Patrol from 1987 to 2001, becoming Lieutenant in 1988.  In this role, Mike helped implement many new ideas and changes to beach patrol operations that are still evident today, including developing the first lifeguarding manual, revised beach supervision protocol, and restructured training/workout procedures.  Mike competed for the Surf City Beach Patrol in swimming, paddling and rowing events, winning multiple Island rowing championships with partners Mark Dileo and Rip Wagner.  In an era when off-Island competition was limited, Mike represented SCBP in competitions such as the 22 mile "Around the Island" North Wildwood Row, the New Jersey Lifeguard Championships, and the USLA Nationals.