Friday, August 19, 2011

Happy 10th Anniversary to the Annapolis Surf Club!

10 years ago, I met some guys online.  All of us had grown up on one beach or another. 30-40 years later, all of us were living on the I-95 corridor in Maryland, 2 hours from the beach. A whole lot of complaining and whining and reminiscing quickly turned into, "We should go surfing." And we did.

Two of us surfed at first - a small ground swell from a tropical storm that would never come to be.  I remembered that feeling of acknowledgement - knowing that someone else saw me have a great ride on a tough wave. Over the next several weeks, we surfed a bunch of spots in a bunch of different conditions  - Indian River Inlet, the Ocean City Pier, and the Ocean City Inlet.

Then, on a foggy morning that brought along some tropical waves, we met up with more of the "email crew."  All of a sudden, there were five of us.  All living in DC, Baltimore, and Annapolis.  All dreaming of a life on the beach, and obsessed with getting more time in the water, at a time when gasoline was a dreadful $1.65/gallon (vs. the 97 cents/gallon it had been just 4 years prior).

Banner made by a coworker at the engineering firm
where I worked at the time!
That winter, we named ourselves the "Annapolis Surf Club," because we'd most often carpool from Annapolis. It was a solid brotherhood of pretty extreme backgrounds, occupations, and political beliefs, and it worked pretty well.  There was the insurance accountant, the IT guy, the CIA spook...a whole gang of weirdos.  The highway conversations got hilarious heated quickly, since the politics in any carpool could easily range from Rush Limbaugh Ditto-Head to Democratic Party Major Donor.  And worked.

We travelled, too. There were trips to Florida, trips to Puerto Rico, and trips to Costa Rica. Trips to Baja and trips to New Jersey.  Our ranks grew, and with that, came requests. Requests for beach tents.  Requests for t-shirts.  Requests for snacks.  Requests to enter surf contests as a team.  And so we started raising money.
Northwestern Costa Rica, looking north toward the Nicaragua border.....a beautiful place

Of course, this is where the problems always start, and on cue, they started.  We obtained a 501(c)3 designation in 2004, and started charging a membership fee to offset the costs to the informal club "leadership."   With 40, then 50, then 60 members......a "tiki party" gets pretty expensive. I was elected as the Board Member At-Large on the inaugural board of directors in 2004.  The first time I'd been elected to anything - it was pretty cool.  It also benefited my surfing - I probably surfed 30 days in 2003 and 40 days in 2004. 

Me on the far right, Cape Henlopen, DE - October 2003.
In October, 2004, while on an ASC trip to Cape Hatteras, I negotiated terms for a new job.  Away from consulting for state agency wetland projects (a job that had put me on job sites within view of the surf on many, many occasions over the prior 6 years), and into consulting for corporate developers.  I wish I had known that it would be the end of my serious surfing phase.  At age 30.

My last really strong interaction with the club was as Vice President in 2007.  I had moved into non-profit work the year before, and was somehow surprised that I had even less time to surf!  That trend has sadly continued.  However, the amazing members that make up the ASC continued to lead it forward. 

The Annapolis Surf Club now boasts nearly 60 members and regularly participates in charity surf contests in four states, organizes surfing trips to at least two or three remote destinations (i.e. Costa Rica) annually, and still somehow manage to keep the organization together.  10 years. 0 employees. Not shabby.

Hau`oli la Ho'omana'o, boys and girls of the ASC!
Fun little waves on an ASC trip to the Jersey Shore........2003


rodndtube said...

Good memories Mr. "Midnight Mono" Mantay! Hope you can catch some surf with us in the near future. Love those little curls rolling through Cape May in the bottom pic.

Dusty50 said...

Great article Kirk. Sorry you haven't been surfing much, if at all. we're getting closer to the move to Bethany finally. Say hi to Amy for us. Doug

oipaul said...

Nice article, kirk! Look me up if you make it to HI...

Kirk Mantay said...

It has been a horrendous surfing drought! Every time I'm at the ocean, which is probably about 10 days so far this year, the surf has sucked! In 2010 I almost never got to the beach at all, so I thought THAT was the problem. Wrong.

Thanks for checking in, boys! It'll be awesome to surf with you again! Whenever that happens!!!

surfdad said...

Sweet memories. Those were the good days. Sneaking into a fog covered minefields before the gate was open to score chest high peelers coming off the point. I guess those are our versions of the west coast stories about sneaking on to the ranch. Fun times. Thanks for the look back.

No Video Content For You

Over 12 years ago, I started this blog. There were very few conservation or outdoor blogs at the time, few websites with fast-breaking con...