Skim Pro’s Bracht bros. launch Reylance Skim Camp
Frontside airs won’t be the only thing that Bethany-based pro skimboarders Dave and Tom Bracht are launching when summer rolls around, as the two brothers have teamed up to start Relyance Skim Camp for local youths.
Both brothers will utilize their more than 10 years of experience running surf and skim camps to help instruct beginner, novice and even advanced skimmers in taking their performance to the next level. But, to them, setting good examples and being positive role models is a goal of equal importance.
“Our whole thing is making the kids better in and out of the water,” said Dave Bracht of the Relyance mission. “Everything we do, we try to be positive role models for the kids to look up to.”
A business partnership between brothers with similar interests and professional expertise might seem almost inevitable but, according to Tom Bracht, it was something that was almost necessary.
“Us together is a perfect combo,” he explained. “My brother started this business by himself. I was kind of on the fence about jumping in, but he needed help with things I’m good at, and I figured it was meant to be.
“So far, it’s been a good fit. [Dave] is really good at connecting with people. He crunches numbers and does all that type of thing, but he doesn’t have an eye for style. I’m the creative side.”
While Dave handles the business aspects for the camp and markets the brand, Tom creates it — designing logos for their website, at www.relyanceskimcamp.com, and drawing up new designs for apparel. However, the family partnership began long before the skim camp did.
“Growing up, we’ve always done everything together,” Tom recalled. “We’ve always stuck together. I always have his back. If I could pick anyone in the world to go skim with or surf with, it would be my brother. We just have the most fun when we’re around each other.”
According to Tom, it was his wanting to follow in Dave’s footsteps that got him his start in skimboarding in the first place and the competitive brotherly rivalry that encouraged both of them to continue advancing in the sport.
“We always have a competitive side with each other,” Tom explained. “When he does something, I always want to up the ante — that’s how we got good at skimming. That happened with every sport” they participated in while growing up,” he added. “Dave would start it, and I wanted to do everything Dave did, so I was always tagging along.”
Tom may have Dave to thank for sparking his original interest in skimming, but Dave had been introduced to the sport by another family member, for a different reason.
“We started skimming because we were at the beach and kind of bored and driving our parents crazy,” Dave recalled with a laugh. “So they got us some skimboards so my mom could read a whole book and my dad could go fishing.”
While Mrs. Bracht was finishing books and Mr. Bracht was reeling in bluefish, Dave and Tom were skimming their way through Skim USA and United Skim Tour contests, winning most of the amateur events that they entered and landing sponsorships with Exile Skimboards and Dizm Eyewear.
Their skimming skills and wave knowledge eventually advanced enough for them to come up with a brand new design, for the “Chub Scout” skimboard, that was impressive enough for Exile to pick up and distribute.
“My brother couldn’t find a board big enough that would float him and still turn,” Dave explained of how the idea for the design originated. “We did the volume calculation at our house and came up with a template. It was a family thing — Tom and I and our dad traced it on the living room floor.”
The board has since gained popularity, being ridden across the globe in countries including Brazil and Taiwan, and is being sold on Exile’s website and locally at Bethany Surf Shop. The shorter, wider shape of the board is designed to allow for more speed.
“We made a video, and it really caught on,” Dave noted. “We kind of got inspiration from surfing. [It’s] the fastest board either of us have ever ridden. It keeps speed better than any other board.”
Both Dave and Tom will be riding that board exclusively for upcoming contests, but they will make sure to have a variety of sizes of the model for kids to try out at their camps.
With summer fast approaching, some weeks of the camps have already started to fill up, but spots are still available. To sign up for the camp, or to book a private lesson, visit www.relyanceskimcamp.com. For more information, visit the camp’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/relyanceskimcamp, or check out skim photos and get updates from Dave and Tom on Instagram, @Relyanceskimcamp.