A festival highlighting the Cape Region’s beach culture will kick off Friday, Aug. 9, when 100 skimboarders from around the world descend upon Dewey Beach for the first leg of the Summer Vibes Fest, held Aug. 9-17.
The three-part festival combines skimboarding, skateboarding and stand-up paddle events with music and art in a celebration of all things summer, said event organizer and Alley Oop Skim owner Jason Wilson. Most athletes focus on one contest, Wilson said, but some perform in all.
The Zap Pro/Am World Championship of Skimboarding takes over Dewey Aug. 9-11, and local skimmers Sydney Pizza, Cooper Forucci and Sammy DiEmidio can’t wait to catch some waves.
Sydney, 16, will compete in her ninth Zap Pro/Am; she’s been skimming for 10 years. Sydney was selected by Skim USA to represent the United States in a circuit of five worldwide travel competitions. She recently finished second in her division and first overall in the tour.
“I like the family aspect, the camaraderie, the spirit and the vibes,” she said. “It’s just super-fun to get into.”
Four-time Zap Pro/Am competitor Cooper, 10, started skimming about age 2; he finished first in last year’s event.
“One day my brother saw people skimming, so he started, and I followed in his footsteps,” Cooper said. “I like getting outside with friends and just the feeling of getting on a good wave.”
Sammy, 13, will compete in his sixth Zap Pro/Am; he started skimming at age 6.
“A professional skimboarder lived on my street,” Sammy said. “He showed me how to do it, and introduced me to Alley Oop Skim, where I took classes.”
In his first competition, he took second place. Last year, he finished third. “I’m looking to win it all this year,” he said.
Wilson said the competition is a great way for athletes to let their own style and personality shine.
“Through their moves, they get to use all their creativity,” he said. “Some kids think of it as an artistic approach and a way to differentiate themselves.”
Nearly every Dewey restaurant has sponsored the event, Wilson said, including Northbeach, Starboard, Woody’s and Gary’s. Schell Brothers will create a beach oasis with shady palm trees, cornhole and other games, food and music.
“Music will be great this year,” Wilson said. “Thievery Corporation will kick things off at the Cork Aug. 9. Hot Bed is also set to play. Their keyboardist is a skimmer, and a lot of skimmers listen to their music.”
The festival’s next event is the East of Maui Paddle and Pound SUP Sprint Challenge on Wednesday, Aug. 14, at Northbeach.
The event is a three-mile, stand-up paddle race open to beginners, kids and experienced racers. After the race, a free Pound rockout workout class is open to everyone.
“It’s a high-energy aerobic workout on a paddleboard,” Wilson said. “We try to do something new every year to reach a wider audience.”
The festival concludes with the Rehoboth Am Skate Jam at Epworth Skate Park on Saturday, Aug. 17. The all-amateur skate contest features street and bowl events for beginners through sponsored skaters.
Sammy will also compete in the Summer Vibes Rehoboth Am Skate Jam Aug. 17.
“I learned by watching others and really got the feel of it,” Sammy said. “It’s good vibes and fun to skate with my friends.”