Tim Daley has been surfing nearly all his life and has chased waves all over the world, so when an event that helped shape his future in the sport was threatened with closure about a dozen years ago, he volunteered to take the reins to keep it going.
“For probably 25 years the BWA (Brigantine Waveriders Association) ran a contest that I did nearly my entire life and really enjoyed it. It was a great part of my life and something I looked forward to every summer," Daley said.
"I heard they weren't going to do it anymore and was approached with the request to take it over, so knowing how big it had been for me as a kid and how it helped get me into competitive surfing, I said sure. I've been running it ever since.”
A captain in the Brigantine Fire Department, Daley rallied surfing buddies and other volunteers from the city to help with logistics. Rebranded the Brigantine Surf Jam 12 years ago, the contest returns to the south-end jetty beach this month and will have surfers of all ages contend for titles in shortboard, longboard, standup paddleboard and bodyboard.
Surf Jam will take place starting 8 a.m. on a day between Monday and Friday, Aug. 7-11. Using a formula widely practiced in the surfing community, Daley and his associates will monitor surf and weather forecasts and make a call on the date as soon as possible. Registered participants are asked to follow Surf Jam's Facebook page at facebook.com/BrigantineSurfJam for the announced start date.
“Based on how a lot of pro surfing contests do it, there's generally a week-long window that is looked at to try to figure out the best combination of waves and weather,” Daley said, “so it hinges on my skills as a forecaster for the best day and the weather forecast that's out there.”
The wait-and-see system replaced one that used to postpone events if conditions were inadequate.
“This way's worked out really, really well the last couple of years we've done it like this,” Daley said. “We've had good weather and good waves when we've structured it this way. Everybody wants decent waves to surf in. It just makes it a lot more fun for both the people participating and the people watching when you have a decent surf.”
The entry fee is $20 per division or $35 for two divisions. Last year more than 100 local surfers competed. The event is made possible by the efforts of Brigantine Fire Department, the Community Education and Recreation Department, the Brigantine Police Benevolent Association, the Brigantine Beach Patrol and the Department of Public Works.
A DJ will provide music throughout the day, lunch will be served to all participants and spectators, and trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers in each of about 10 divisions.
The fire department's union, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 2657, puts all the money up front for the T-shirts and trophies, and the police and fire departments donate the food and cook it on the beach for the competitors and the spectators, Daley said.
“Primal Surf, Riptide and the Root Beer Barrel each donated all sorts of prizes, and every competitor gets a raffle ticket as part of their registration. Kids can win surfboards, boogie boards, fishing supplies, all kinds of clothing. And all the money we raise gets put back in the community in either scholarships, helping families in need — whatever cause we determine to be the most pressing.”
Last year's proceeds totaling more than $1,000 was used to purchase an automated defibrillator that was placed in the Acme, and employees were taught how to use it.
“So for a $20 entry fee contestants get food, a chance for raffle prizes and trophies, and all the money goes back to the community. Not a bad deal,” Daley said.
Interested participants can go to facebook.com/BrigantineSurfJam, print the form and bring it to the CER office at the Brigantine Community Center, 265 42nd St., before 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 4. Day-of registration will only be accepted during setup, or about an hour before the 8 a.m. start time, of the date determined for the event.