Skim Life After Katrina
Two years ago, hurricane Katrina ravaged the gulf coast, particularly the Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama areas, coupled with the Florida Panhandle.
Shortly before the hurricane, Gulfport Mississippi resident Micah McGee formed a small online based group of skimboarders calling themselves “Durty Water Skim.” He formed and moderated www.durtywaterskim.tk, slaving over the message boards, constantly keeping the site fresh, and doing whatever possible to spread the stoke of the sport he so loved. Unfortunately, Katrina put a damper on his plans. Many of the riders that frequented the durtywaterskim.tk message boards and skim meets were relocated after the storm. Those that were left had a lot more on their minds than skimboarding.
As time passed, the guys that still remained in the area realized that they could turn to skimboarding to overcome the feeling of desolation that draped this area after Katrina. (You have to realize that for about a month, we didn’t know if anyone else in the country even knew what was going on here.) Slowly but surely, the group of riders that still remained in the area regrouped, realizing that sharing their passion for skimboarding with others much like them eased their troubles. Simultaneously, I was going through much of the same thing here in Covington, Louisiana. I had been working ardently in the area before the storm, and the mass destruction it caused someone stifled my efforts as well. I kept skimming, kept pushing, and kept progressing. While I was constructing rails with wood I found torn off of houses, the guys in Gulfport had a slim idea that flatland skimboarding was progressing like it had. After a few months, I came across the message boards founded by Micah almost a year prior. I signed up and started posting some things, noticing that it hadn’t had much activity in the last year or so, and this led to communication between myself and Micah.
We decided to start pushing the sport harder than anyone else thought possible. It didn’t matter what the cost, we were bringing skimboarding back. This task proved a little more daunting than we had initially hoped, but despite setbacks, we setup a Flatland Demo for May 26: the beginning of summer. Just as we had hoped, the 1st Kayotics Durtywater Skim Demo was a huge success. Everyone was stoked, and many realized the vast potential of the sport. Rails start appearing over the next few weeks in tidal pools all across Gulfport.
Due to the success of the Kayotics demo in May, it was decided to hold a contest at the end of the summer. On July 22nd, backed by Kayotics Skimboards, Paradise Coalition, Fidelis Apparel, Skimshop.com, and Wilbs Shoes, we trecked out to the 20th avenue beach, White Cap, and were met by more kids than we could’ve hoped for. Guys had travelled to our contest all the way from northern Mississippi (4 hours away) to Baton Rouge, LA (around 2 hours away). John Minns, of Kayotics, came down for the weekend as well. Conditions could not have been better (par to flatland specifics). We set up several rails, got everyone signed up, distributed shirts, and started skimming. Due to the nature of this contest and the fact that it was the first in a long running series of events in this area, we decided to fabricate two divisions: Jr. Mens (15 and under) and Open Mens (16 and over). We had around 35 entrants, and added with their parents/friends/relatives, our crowd numbered around 60. Everyone was stoked. We developed a panel of 4 judges and set it off. The event started at 1:00PM, and by 4:30PM we had progressed through all our heats and had our winners.
1st Place – Tyler Smith
2nd Place – Zach Johnson
3rd Place – Daniel Rourke
1st Place – Tyler Young
2nd Place – Blake O’Brien
3rd Place – Sam Tenney
The event was a blast. This area stands as a testament to the limitless possibilities of flatland skimboarding. We have already planned a follow up cookout, multiple contests for next year, and several other events. Three years ago, when I first started pushing this sport like I am now, I couldn’t have dreamed myself to be typing this article right now for mass publication. Some say progress is a slow process, but if one looks at where this area’s skim scene stood in August of 2005, and then compares it to where we stand now, in August of 2007, progression has been about as slow as the raging winds of Hurricane Katrina.
-Article by Sam Collet