Ahh, October! Waves return to the South Bay, the beaches clear out, the sunsets are brilliant and the Bubble reclaims our own. When fall rolled around, Jimmy would get busy promoting his famous “Pure Surfing Experience Triple Showdown Series” of contests. The goal was to create three contests to keep his PSE surf students involved in their new sport and to invite parents and friends to see how much they had improved. For Jimmy and Jeff’s friends, it was a chance to hit the waves and show off their skills to their bros and score a few “adult beverages.” Pizza, good tunes, colorful rash-guards and a rag-tag group of friends to judge the waves; what better way to spend a glistening fall day on the beach?
We would watch Jimmy assemble the homemade trophies on our family room floor and helplessly watch as the prizes of skateboards, surfboards and surf gear piled higher and higher as he gathered treasures to hand out at the end of the contests. Hmm, does this sound familiar to anyone who has surfed, helped, or been involved in “The Jimmy Family Surf Fiesta,” for the past 15 years?
As I look at the logos from the T-shirts that Mitch Meidroth has designed each year, I can close my eyes and remember each one. From our very first Jimmy, we had no idea how many people would sign up to surf. When we sold out at 200 in the first few days, we had our first inkling that this would be a special event. These were pre-computer sign-ups, so we had dozens of little blond groms coming up to our door the night before the JIMMY with their sign-up sheets and their parents, begging to be included. We never turned anyone away, and said we would substitute their kiddos on to a team because kids have to leave the event for soccer and other activities. In those days, the event on the beach would not end until about 6 pm, and then the whole party, plus a few extra hundred people would arrive at Kevin Barry’s Sangria in Hermosa for a huge after-party, dinner, auction and awards. Lindsay, Danielle, Tecia, Mel and their crew would have worked for months to make our auction a huge success. The auction girls completely confiscated Susie’s house on 4th Street and they spent their days organizing prizes for winners, auction and raffle. It has always taken a village.
The first year we were still giving out awards at 10 pm. It was truly a 24-hour day, and we loved and appreciated every minute. I laugh when I think of Carly, Mark, Tommy, Chris, Jeff, Andy on the floor of our den, making the draw sheets, creating the thank you posters, and organizing the surfboards until the wee hours of the night before the JIMMY.
Fifteen years is a long time, and the moving parts of the contest changed, but not the spirit, fun and family centered memory of Jimmy’s own contests. We moved the after-parties to Verandas, The Lakes and other venues. Slackstring, Latchkey Kids, and Kevin Sousa performed. We finally moved the auction to the beach and Katie and crew continue to perform wonders each JIMMY, gathering the most incredible items and teaming up with our sponsor Fresh Brothers to keep everyone fed for hours. With our breakfast from Grow and Bread and Bagel, and the ever-constant Jimmy favorite of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, there is never a shortage of food! We can even claim a wedding or two resulted from meeting at the JIMMY. I smile every-time I see John Balk and Rikki, knowing they met on the beach at the contest. The list of sponsors and donors would take up the entire newsletter, but you can see their names on the beach each year and on our website forever. We could not have this event without the support of our community.
I’ll end by throwing out some highlights of the past fifteen years. You are welcome to write in and add your own or answer a question with the correct year: The first rainy JIMMY, a boat that ran aground after circling closer and closer to our surfing area, the huge orange and grey flames billowing from the Malibu fire, the JIMMY dolphins that arrive each year, the longest trip by a competitor who won the big prize, the giant Sunfish that landed on the beach in the late afternoon glare, the donation of all the decorations for the after-party from the Rosenberg’s Bar Mitzvah at Verandas, “Getting it done for Lindsay,” the intense competition for “Best Beach Lounger Award,” riding a surfboard from a beach chair and winning the heat, (thanks to Daniel, Dietz, Ryan and Mark) and watching Riley and Austin compete in their first Jimmy. Oh how their Uncle would have loved to see that! He’s there in spirit and we hope to see you all in person on October 13th at the JIMMY!