Seventeen-year-old Lewes skimboard phenom John Weber brought home a first-place trophy from a major international contest in Portugal and is leaving to compete in his first professional contest this weekend in Kill Devil Hills, N.C.
Weber finished first in the 15-to-17-year-old junior division in the Santa Cruz, Portugal competition. Now, he is headed for his first shot at competition at the professional level this weekend in North Carolina.
Weber has been a consistent winner. His list of accomplishments includes a world championship in the junior division in 2011 during competition in Laguna Beach, Calif.
But things start changing this weekend.
“It will be tougher competition, and I'll be competing for money, so it will be much harder,” Weber said. He is also among the youngest of professional competitors going up against skimboarders in their mid-20s. Weber is an incoming senior at Cape Henlopen High School.
In an area with a lot of skimboarders, what sets Weber apart is his dedication to the sport and his knowledge of the ocean. “I'm at the beach almost every day,” he said. “I've been skimming for about seven or eight years, but I've been surfing since I was little.”
His favorite spot to practice - which is shared by a lot of local skimboarders - is the naval jetty beach at Herring Point in Cape Henlopen State Park.
Skim and surf blogger Gel Clemmer wrote of Weber: “You can spot him catching the longest rides on a skimboard or surfboard and does tricks effortlessly. He stands out in the water and with his charming personality he wins his peers' and public's respect and appreciation. John is a world-class surfer and he is still getting better every day.”