The Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic for charity is absolutely one of the best, longest running contest we’ve ever covered.
It’s a full-on, locals DIY thing for a beautiful charity organization we’ve been privileged to attend and cover for many years.
And this being the year of it’s 20th, Tom Dugan combed the files and put this look back at one of our favorite events to attend.
At noon on the Sunday of every Tommy Tant Contest there is a paddle out to remember the life of Tommy and what he meant to the surfing and local community. Come join everyone on Sunday and share in the joy of who Flagler Beach has honored for the last 20 years. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
And not just to shoot photos but to be a part of a great surfing communities efforts to help those in need in memory of a cherished
community member gone but not forgotten. Here is the Tant family’s take on this glorious 20th anniversary get together:
Grouping up for the traditional Tommy paddle out. This year, the paddle out will honor Tommy as well as Donna
Ciancuilla, a vibrant member of the Flagler Beach community and faithful supporter of
“The Tommy” who passed away in February. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
“The 20 th Annual Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic presented by The Surf Station will
take place on November 13 and 14 in Flagler Beach, Florida. What began in memory of
Tommy Tant—a local surfer who passed away tragically from an aortic aneurysm at 24
years old—has grown into a beloved event that celebrates the bond of family,
friendship, and surf culture he loved.
At the event in 2013, this snap right here was the turn of the contest. Ryan Briggs throws down a man hack heading into the pier with that beautiful, November autumnal light making the shot pop. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
This year’s event will kick off at Tortugas Restaurant on Friday, November 12 at 7 pm
with live music and a live auction. Auction items include an all-inclusive surf adventure
to Nicaragua, VIP seats to the Orlando Magic, a weekend golf getaway to the Hammock
Beach Resort and Spa, and a custom Channel Island surfboard.
The last time the contest was held was in 2019 before Covid hit and Noah Schweizer was the winner. Always one of the best competitors, he is consistently a finalist year after year. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
The amateur and professional surf contest begins at 8am on Saturday, November 13.
Some of the world’s best surfers will battle through the elimination rounds at the iconic
Flagler pier. Raffle tickets will be available for a chance to win surfboards, surf gear, and
a one-of-a-kind surfboard wall art. Attendees can also peruse sponsor booths lining the
The family behind what the Tommy Tant is all about. They have brought new life to the local community each year with the loss of their beloved son Tommy and brother by having a weekend to celebrate his life and bring friends, family ,and surfers together for a great cause. From left : Will, Barbara and Tommy Tant. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
As the first day of competition winds down, friends will continue the celebration with live
music and dancing at a luau hosted by The Golden Lion at 7 pm.
The final rounds of the surf competition take place on Sunday at 8 am. Spectators will
gather to cheer on their favorite contestants as they compete to advance to the final
match. All finalists receive awards but only first place will win a towering 4-foot
Aaron Cormican taking out third place in the Mens Open Pro at the 2017 event. Few others have caused as many ooh’s and ahh’s at this contest than Gorkin. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
On Sunday at 12 pm, the competition will pause for the commemorative paddle out
ceremony, where surfers paddle out past the breaking waves to join hands and form a
circle of remembrance. This year, the paddle out will honor Tommy as well as Donna
Ciancuilla, a vibrant member of the Flagler Beach community and faithful supporter of
“The Tommy” who passed away in February”.
Revenge is best served green, as in dollars. Will Tant hands over the loot to Gorkin at who came back from his 2017 third place result to capture the win in 2018. Photo: @tomduganphotos
Even though he’s got a ton of responsibilities before, during, and after the contest, Will Tant still get mixes it up with the boys in the Men’s Pro. Never count him out when he’s relaxed and has his game on. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Tom Tant Sr. always surfs the event to honor his son Tommy. Mr. Tant rolls into a clean little backside peeler in the 2015 event. Hey, dude can still get it done and you just know Jr. is smiling down. PHOTO @tomduganphotos
Year after year Tommy’s brother Will puts in hundreds of hours to make the Tommy Tant happen. Family is a very powerful thing and to the Tant’s family it is everything. Knowing that Tommy’s legacy lives on warms the hearts of all who were blessed to have met him and call him theiir friend. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
The reason Gorkin last in 2017 was this guy, Rasta Rob Mc Cormick, his doppleganger who beat the inventor of the Gorkin Flip and acknowledged . Photo: Mez
And may little Heavenly light shine down once again on the 20th running of the Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
The comp site at Flagler Beach Pier as viwed from the air is first class all the way and set in one of the east Coasts a greatest surf towns and the home of 4 x World Champion, Freida Zamba. Photo Mez @mezapixels
Another of the Flagler surf community is Ben Lacy has probably surfed in every event so far and has put a rejuvenated game into the contest arena and his surfing is crisp and as hot as ever. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Longboard winner of the Tommy Tant in 2017. Ryan Conklin hangs five in the morning glass on his way to 1st. PHOTO :@tomduganphotos
The whole “It takes A Village” axiom is real, especially where The Tommy is concerned. The entire Flagler community has collectively put in an incredible effort for two decades to make this one of the best surf comp gatherings ever on the East Coast. Here are but a very few of those giving villagers who make it happen surrounding the Tant family family’s loving tribute to their fallen son and to make something good and positive out if in his name. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
Tommy Tant 2017 saw some great waves and great surfing. Rachel Presti bangs one under the pier. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
The message is the same at each event: family, community, and giving. The Tommy Tant message rings loud and true. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
The Women’s surfing at the Tommy Tant Contest is always a highly contested event and Braidyn Cunningham is one of the best girls to come and surf. Backside snap for the win. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Tom and Mimi Dugan are regulars at the Tommy and can both be found shooting photos and will be getting the goods for upcoming easternsurf.com coverage. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
Evan Geiselman boosting and winning. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
Tommy Tant winner Evan Geiselman with Will Tant to the left and Dad Tommy Tant on his right. Year after year the best talent on the East Coast is drawn to the event to support what it’s all about and to just have some really great competition. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Will Tant congratulates the Men’s Pro winner Noah Schwieizer and Junior Pro winner Robbie Goodwin in 2019. Who will be holding those checks in 2021? PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
‘QS journeyman, Mike Dunfee right smack dab in front of the scaffolding showing the judges tour level moves and no doubt breaking the scale for all other competitors in the pro shortboard division. Photo: Mez @mezapixels
Another local boy that absolutely rips is Robbie McCormick. Robbie can do the most insane airs on any wave any size. Look for Robbie come finals’ time. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Area ripper Jesse Heilman has supported the event since day one. Being a local has it’s advantages, knowing what to catch and what to let go by. On the windy final day in 2019 this was a wave to catch and rip apart. Backside 12:05. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
In the 2018 Tommy Tant Event, the team with the most wins was the Clever Surf Team. The trophies are bigger than a front row kid. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Christian Wilson perched and charging towards the pier. There is action o-plenty in all the shortboard divisions but when loggers hit the water they put on some of the best heats in the events 19 years. We expect nothing less from that crew for the 20th. PHOTO @tomduganphotos
Flagr Beach’s own Jimmy Blumenfeld grew up surfing the Pier. Jimmy may have ridden more waves here than Will Tant and that’s saying a lot. Yes it’s debatable, but what is not is that Jimmy will show up and blow up! . PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Will Tant at the 14th Tommy Tant Surf Contest in 2013 with the Boy / Girl U11 winner Tommy Coleman. Smiles all around. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
Vero Beach Florida boy Logan Hayes has been a regular contestant for quite a few years and always kills it heat after heat. Logan flies in the 2019 event. PHOTO : @tomduganphotos
You like nice, shiny trophys? The Tommy always comes up with some beauties to hand out to the winners to stack on your mantle. PHOTO: @tomdugansurfphoto