Class was in down at Parksville Bay this week as 18 young students of the sport ranging in age from seven to 14 turned out for a three-day skimboarding camp.
It’s not the first time the sport has gone to school on the sands synonymous with Parksville, but this year’s clinic was a great precursor for the first annual OSBC Pro-Am Skim Board Competition slated for the same place on Saturday.
Skimboard boosters John and Julia Mountain were in great spirits and in their element on Wednesday when The News stopped by as students and teachers savoured a warm summer sun “and a perfect tidal pool.”
OSBC is an acronym for the newly formed Oceanside Skim Beach Culture. The Mountain family is big on skimboarding, so much so their store, Smithfords, which is part of the fabric of Qualicum Beach (with the oldest average age in Canada), now stocks skimboards.
“The camp is full, so that’s encouraging,” Julia, aka ‘momma skim,’ surmised easily. “It’s really nice to see the young ones out and going hard,” she said above the sounds of the kids having fun — “it’s a bit of a learning curve and it takes time.”
The camp ran from 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and Julia said many of the students will be in the mix on Saturday.
AS FOR SATURDAY’S big Pro-Am, Julia said they don’t know for certain how many pro riders will wash up on the local shores, “but we know we have two carloads coming from Washington, we’ve got the pro guys coming over from Vancouver, and then our local fellas… it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
‘Our local fellas’ include their son Ryan Mountain, who is sponsored by (and one of the featured athletes) for extreme sports apparel company Vooray, and his mates; Ryan Stewart, who’s sponsored by Vancouver skimboard company Kyda Creation, and Peter Christensen, who finished first at last years demo amongst amateurs — all three were helping coach at the clinic.
And while the pros will be trying for a piece of the prize money up for grabs, this comp. has something for everyone. Besides the pros, the comp. will also feature amateur classes for Under 14s, U18s, Over 18s “and we also have a ladies class.”
Only flat land skim on Island
Entry fee is $30 for the pros and $20 for the Ams. Prize money for the open Pro class is $250 for first, $125 for second and $75 for third. There will also be prizes for the top three in each amateur division, and other prizes up for grabs includes skimboards, longboards, apparel and swag — the prizes were made possible by event sponsors: Smithfords the Lifestyle Store, DB Skimboards, Zed Skimboards, Kyda Creations, Wabi Sabi, Bomb Bomb Bikinis, Anvil Island and The Boardwalk.
The couple tried to float a Pro-Am last year but had to settle for a demo day to get their feet wet because of scheduling conflicts with other events.
“We had had a good demo last year with the pros from Washington; we probably had 20 guys out,” said John.
Saturday’s Pro-Am Julia pointed out proudly “is the only flat land skim boarding competition on Vancouver Island this year.”
“It really is a natural fit for this area,” John agreed, “I mean you look at this, he beach is alive with people — it’s fantastic here,” he said shading his eyes from the sun as he turned and pointed to the Beach Club and its patio for spectating.
Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the action should start around 11:30 (keeping in mind this is Island time) with the event wrapping up around 3:30 depending on the tide.