Everyone knows Chip Sanders can play football, toss a mullet, and ride a jet ski, but did you know he can skim board too?
After a successful weekend at the Skim Jam in North Carolina last weekend, Sanders is headed, with the Zap Skimboard team, to East Coast World Championship In Dewey Beach, Delaware Aug.11-13.
Not yet a full professional with Zap, Sanders serves as team manager and crew leader, and competes with the team. The conditions were great for the North Carolina, and Zap turned out the big winner, with the top spot among men’s professionals going to John Akerman, and the top spot for women’s professionals going to teammate Casey Kiernan.
“(Akerman) was throwing some crazy tech out to the wave and off the lip that really propelled him to the top spot,” reads the report on the Zap website. “His teammate Sam McCoy was nipping at his heels and was keeping up with his tech game the whole weekend but barely got beat in the final with John.
“(Kiernan) has really progressed her skimboarding this off season and was using a lot of power and tech to stand out. Fellow team rider Ellen Wood took the second place and was no slouch either,” they wrote.
Sanders said that the competition consists of several heats, with the top two advancing based on the scores given by a panel of six judges.
“It’s the same as surfing but you’re running to the beach all the way out to the wave,” said Sanders. “It beats you up, you fall and bust that a**. It’s definitely bruising.”
The judges look at such things as best wave, and best tricks, and of course making sure the ride ends well.
“If you don’t land it it ain’t no good,” Sanders said. “You need to complete that ride back to shore.”
Sanders rides a carbon fiber board, handmade of course by his sponsor, Venice-based Zap Skimboards, a 35-year-old company started by Bob Smetts.
“Back in the day it used to be just wood and you just go on the shore,” he said.
Today, the boards that Sanders and company use are super-light, a couple pounds at the most, usually 54-inches tall and 28 inches wide.
Sanders has competed against athletes from around the world, from as far as Portugal and Costa Rica, in tourneys in San Diego on the Pacific Coast, where the water is colder, and on the Atlantic coast, in New Jersey and Newport Beach, Virginia.
“I feel good coming out of a small town, just a little guy from Apalachicola,” said Sanders.
Sanders is also sponsored by a host of local companies, including Enjoy Apalachicola, Honey Hole, The Grady Market, Panhandle Helicopter and Ace Hardware.
But his biggest backer is his grandmother, Betty Davis.
“My granny, that’s my motivation,” he said.