Delaware is a mecca for skimming, which becomes more popular every year. Now, two local boys are helping youngsters develop quickly.
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In 2000 Jason Wilson and Corey Mahoney started Alley-Oop Skim Camp to teach kids the art of skimboarding. The partners—friends since they were 4—were fresh out of Cape Henlopen High School, and they were on a mission.
“There was a generation older than us and there was our generation, but there didn’t seem to be a skim crew coming after us,” Mahoney says.
They named their business Alley-Oop, a basketball move that involves throwing the ball to a teammate, who catches it in midair and dunks it in the basket. “We’re passing on the knowledge that we’ve based our lives on,” Wilson says.
They’ve done just that. Today there are lots of little skimmers on the beach. Alley-Oop’s camp has experienced significant increases in enrollment every year, jumping from 180 in 2007 to 230 in 2008. The camps helped pay for Mahoney and Wilson’s college education, and a retail shop. Alley-Oop, in Dewey Beach, opened in 2007. Last year, Alley-Oop began guided tours to skim-happy locations such as Cabo and Laguna Beach, California, for enthusiasts ages 13 to 18.
Alley-Oop is not the only business that’s caught the wave. Dewey Beach Surf Shop has offered camps since 1999. “We have many repeat campers from season to season,” says Steve Wheeler, the current owner.
What is skimming or skimboarding? It’s not surfing. “It’s a completely different sport,” Wheeler days. Skimboards are thinner and shorter than surfboards, and they have no fins.
Skimmers start on the beach, not in the water. Like a sprinter, they hurtle toward the surf until they reach a sandy area with a watery film. Then they drop the board and jump on it in one seemingly seamless move. They plane—or skim—over that film of water and into the surf before banking on an incoming wave to ride back to the beach—or they flip backward over a wave, crouch and curl under the frothy surf, or skip across the water like a speedboat on a choppy day.
Skimmers don’t need big waves to get stoked. Delaware’s consistent shore break makes it a stellar spot for skimming nearly every day in summer. While the skimmer’s code is never to “skim and tell,” the beaches just south of Rehoboth are the primo places, Wheeler says. He needn’t worry. The secret is clearly out. The South Side Shootout, a regular event organized by Skim USA, is held in May on Dewey Beach. The East Coast Skim Championships, founded by Jason’s father, Harry Wilson, hits Dewey August 15-16.
Page 2: Skimsational, continues...