UPDATE: Carter Hill Places First in Dewey Beach Skim Contest, One-on-One Interview
Bellevue Street in Dewey Beach will fill with friendly competition, local music and good times this weekend.
The Zap Amateur World Championships of Skimboarding will take place on Aug. 13-14 in Dewey Beach, Del. The two-day skimboarding competition is part of the Summer Vibes Fest in Sussex County, which will include a skateboarding contest, a SUP Sprint Challenge, a pie eating contest and more.
Before the competition, we caught up with Carter Hill, a 16-year-old skimboarder from Rehoboth Beach, Del., to learn about the sport and the competition.
UPDATE: Carter Hill placed 1st in semi-pro division. Hill chose to stay amateur and took home a $400 cash prize.
How did you get into skimboarding?
I started at a pretty early age, around like eight, when I saw people here doing the sport. My uncle was actually the first one who got me a board and he actually kind of got me into it, got me started. I always had trouble surfing when I was pretty young, I always wanted to surf, but skimboarding was perfect for me because I could just do it on the shore, and there’s a high frequency of the rides which I was really into it… At nine or ten years old is when I really started getting into it and doing the contest and all that stuff.
Where have you gone to compete? What contests have you done?
I’ve traveled to California, multiple contests in North Carolina, but it’s really cool because most of the big contests are here in Dewey Beach, like the ZAP Amateur World Championships. We also have the South Side Shoot Out at the beginning of the summer.
Tell me about the competition this weekend and how you think you will do?
There’s definitely a lot of other competitors, I know kids coming from Florida, Alabama, some far ways. It should be exciting to see some different competition, which will be fun, but it’ll be hard to place, but hopefully I will, hopefully I’ll make it. That’s my goal.
In my age division, we have thirty competitors. You do heats of four or heats of three. You are judged on your top five waves so you have to get atleast five waves to even make it to the next round. But then the top two riders advance. The people judging you are actually your fellow skimboarders so that’s what is cool about it. You have to be nice to everyone in the community because that’s who will be judging you in the heats.
There are two days of competition, Saturday and Sunday. The finals would be on Sunday— end of the day Sunday, last day, final heat. They’ll wrap up the contest.
What is the relationship like between you and fellow skimboarders?
It’s completely a relaxed, family, community vibe. I’ve grown up skimboarding with all these people throughout my life and that’s the only way I know these people. It’s kind of cool how I meet all these people, coming from different places too. I feel like especially here in Dewey, there’s definitely a set community, beach vibe, kind of thing. It’s really cool. It’s different, it’s not like any other sport really, it’s your own thing.
Dewey as a whole. Is skimboarding apart of the culture?
The whole reason I started was because I saw so many people doing it. It’s cool because it is part of the culture. You’re going to come down here any given day and see people skimming. See people you know skimming, so that’s the cool part about it. I just have so many good relationships from the sport now, from traveling, from just being here. It’s awesome, it’s really cool.
What advice would you give to a first time skimmer?
Start slow. You definitely want to have some idea of how you hold the board, how you throw the board, how you get on. One way you can do it is practicing in the dry sand, dropping the board, getting on it and stuff. It’s almost like a fear factor thing, you have to be able to get over your fear and just go out and try to do it. That’s how I started.
What are your future aspirations in the sport?
I’ve been competing in a semi-pro division for a little while now and if I maybe win the semi-pro division this contest, maybe this will be the contest to go professional. For this contest, basically whoever wins the semi-pro division, they get a check and they can either use it for traveling fees if they want to stay amateur, or if they want to go pro, it’s cashed.
What is your absolute favorite aspect of the sport?
It’s so simple. You literally need a board and you can go out any day. Unlike surfing, you don’t need waves. You can go whenever you want. It’s just a high frequency of rides. And really, it’s really easy to get better at it because you do have such freedom in the water. You can literally go whenever you want at any time. I also like the fact the conditions change every day. With skateboarding, you’re going to go to the same skate park, going to do the same exact thing every day, but here it’s just different, completely, every day.