Two of Dewey Beach’s own favorite sons, Jason Wilson and Corey Mahoney, placed in top slots in last weekend’s 25th Annual East Coast Skimboarding Championships held in Dewey Beach.
Jason Wilson — son of Harry Wilson, a Dewey resident and founder of the event — finished second in the “Pro” division. Jason Wilson, now 24, has been skimboarding for about 20 years, and has been competing since he was 6. In fact, in 1989, he finished third in the Dewey event in the “mini” division, for those ages 8 and younger.
Besides founding the East Coast Skimboarding Championships, Harry Wilson owned a skimboard manufacturing company, which offered inspiration to son Jason: “We always had skimboards lying around our house, so I just decided one day that I would try it,” said the younger Wilson.
Jason Wilson is sponsored by a number of companies, including Zap Skimboards, Skimshop.com, Kind Industries, Electric Sunglasses, Amerikan and X-Trak, and he travels around the world to compete. His entry in skimboard competitions has taken him abroad, to locations including Portugal, Mexico and Chile.
When Jason Wilson isn’t skimboarding, he’s often working as Zap’s team manager, or teaching young skimmers at Dewey Beach’s Alley-Oop Skimboarding Camp. Jason Wilson has a second residence in Laguna Beach, Calif., and he recently graduated from Long Beach State University with a marketing degree.
Describing what advice he would give to a beginner skimboarder, Jason Wilson said, “I’d tell them to stick with it. Everybody falls at first — the key is to not get discouraged.”
Corey Mahoney, a Dewey Beach native and founder of the Alley-Oop Skimboarding Camp (now in its sixth year), placed first in the Senior Men’s bracket. Mahoney, now 24, has been skimming for the past 15 years and competing since he was 11.
Prior to the competition, Mahoney said that his strategy would be to “get enough sleep, stretch, and not worry about others in the competition. With skimboarding, it’s just you and your board.” He also emphasized the importance of training for the competition: “When you’re doing 20-yard sprints for any length of time, you have to be in shape.”
Mahoney estimated that he has participated in at least 50 contests during his career, and he recently won the South Side Shoot Out, a competition held at the Indian River Inlet on June 3 and 4.
When Mahoney competes in competitions where he is not required to skim within a short timeframe, he said he likes to choose his waves carefully. He waits patiently for waves that break close to the shore and give him the opportunity to perform his array of tricks.
Describing what he likes about skimboarding, Mahoney said, “I love being on a beach, and I love the fact that skimboarding is such a small, independent and growing sport. For me, this contest is where the whole summer just comes together.” He added that he plans to skimboard “until my legs fall off.”
Like Jason Wilson, Mahoney has done a lot of traveling for his sport. He has been to North Carolina, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Florida, California and Mexico to compete. His favorite trick is the frontside bigspin, and his favorite places to skim are the Indian River Inlet and West Street in California.
Mahoney carries with him a love for skimboarding as an art, and the independence that it offers each rider: “You should really try to motivate yourself if you want to be a successful skimboarder, and you have to do it for the right reasons. You should be skimboarding because you love the sport.”