TURF: 7th Annual Jetty Clam Jam; Taylor Avenue, Beach Haven, NJ; November 2nd, 2013
ENERGY: After uncooperative conditions forced the Clam Jam to be postponed for three weeks in a row, Saturday November 2nd finally offered up fun two- to four-foot surf and beautiful, sunny, 65-degree fall weather. It was officially on, and each of the 96 competitors was ready for action. The contest’s unique format randomly split the group into teams of two, including one younger surfer and one more experienced one. As each duo worked their way through the 48-team bracket, the top two scoring waves from each team member were averaged, then the team’s total was added up and compared to the opposing team in order to determine a heat winner. The combination of random pairing and required teamwork mean the Jetty Clam Jam is any man’s game, which is exactly how organizers and participants like it.
FIRST TIME AT FIGHT CLUB: As far as surf contests go, the Clam Jam is definitely a more laid-back event that encourages an intermixing of surfers of all ages, skill levels, and denominations. So, amongst all the shortboarders, it wasn’t entirely surprising to see a good longboarding performance put on by Billy Webster. But Tucker McGrath competing on his Alaia and Brett Oliverio rocking his Beater board in a few heats will definitely go down as Clam Jam firsts.
SLIDE: Every dog has his day, and this day definitely went to the underdogs. Favorites like Randy Townsend, Royce Webber, and Brendan Willem were dealing with team injuries, while Conor Willem, Pete Machotka, and Ryan Kelly faced slow heats where their teammates had trouble catching the required two waves. As the day wore on and the field narrowed, Erik Jurgensen and teammate Tanner Panetta rose to the top along with Matt Fredrickson and teammate Tim Raimo. After a long day of competition, during which some surfers were even dealt back-to-back heats, Fredrickson was tired when the 30-minute final rolled around. Jurgensen was therefore able to easily out-paddle Fredrickson, but it really came down to a battle between younger team members Raino and Panetta, as the two traded off barrels. Raimo’s ride ultimately earned the higher score, clinching the win for his team and adding his name to an elite list of two-time winners including Randy Townsend and Brendan Willem.
THE PAIN: It’s unfortunate the organizers and competitors had to wait three weeks to get the Clam Jam festivities going this year. But you know what they say: patience is a virtue. And this year's event was well worth the wait.
THE MAN: This honor definitely goes out to the event’s myriad of sponsors, including The Black Whale Bar & Fish House, Speakeasy Pizzeria, MK Production, The Dutchman, Blue Point Brewing Company, Pacifico, and Shore Point Distribution, who hooked participants up with everything from epic food and brews to after party festivities to quality sound production for the event. Kudos to everyone who helped make this year’s Clam Jam a success.
FINAL RESULTS OF THE 7TH ANNUAL JETTY CLAM JAM:
1. Matt Fredrickson & Tim Raimo
2. Erik Juergensen & Tanner Panetta