A nor'easter swung by just in time for the 12th Annual Jetty Clam Jam! - Photo: Dan Przygocki
The 12th Annual Jetty Clam Jam had been postponed four times since the window opened in late September. A big part of any surf contest is the waiting period as better conditions produce better surfing and overall excitement. The Jetty crew finally made the call on Friday, October 26th, prompting the event to be organized for Sunday, October 28th, just a day after a fairly severe Nor’easter was scheduled to blow through Jersey’s coastline. And that it did...the heavy winds and flooding precluded Jetty and Long Beach Township from doing any prep work on Saturday. Perennial sponsor and Jetty retailer Farias Surf & Sport sustained some of the worst flooding that they have seen since Hurricane Sandy. Before the sun rose on Sunday morning, mounds of sand were moved from beach entrances, the judge’s scaffold was erected, sponsor tents populated the beach and nearly 100 surfers showed up with hopes of getting their name on the coveted Clam Jam trophy.
The Clam Jam crowd watching the show - Photo: Dan Przygocki
The wind never cranked offshore as it usually does after a Nor’easter, so the angry Atlantic kept its energy on Sunday as 5-10mph West/Southwest winds produced heaving, barreling waves in the 4-6ft range. The storm moved a tremendous amount of sand around at the new location, 68th Street in the Brant Beach section of Long Beach Township. There was some skepticism from surfers as this location had not really been set up with great sandbars for the past several months, but the power of Mother Nature prevailed. Long Beach Township has been a great partner to Jetty as they have hosted the Coquina Jam at the same location, partnered in their Oyster Recycling Program and recently ran the inaugural Shellabration event. The township’s annual pumpkin patch and tractor rides added a festive and family element to this year’s Jam as well!
Long Beach Island surfers share a post-heat fist pump - Photo: Troy Taylor
This event is all about the surfing. What differentiates this contest from others is two things:
1. It randomly pairs a more experienced surfer with a younger one, and...
2. Surfers must have LBI roots.
It has become a tradition and a day that most competitors will tell you that they keep their Fall calendar open for. This year, scoring changed as each teammate was scored only on their best wave. This evened the playing field and made it a true team effort. There were several wowing moments from the likes of Dane Nugent, Tim Raimo and Conor Willem, but at the end of the day, the two most consistent teams reached a head-to-head final: Steve Carpitella and Josh Law vs. Jamie Whitesell and Pete Machotka.
Plenty of barrels to be had at the Jetty Clam Jam this year - Photo: Kyle Gronostajski
Josh Law immediately set the tone in the finals with a huge front side barrel to floater combo. Later in the heat, Jetty Ambassador Pete Machotka countered with a backside barrel. Steve Carpitella, owner of Equity Prime, one of Jetty’s largest corporate supporters, surfed with power all day long. He had flown in at 7am Saturday, right into the storm, from Southern California where he was working remotely, but more importantly surfing daily. Jamie Whitesell has held down the North end of LBI for years and has now obtained two runner ups in the Clam Jam. Whitesell Construction is a perennial sponsor and supporter of the Jetty brand as well. “We couldn’t ask for a better final this year, and all four of those guys surfed so solid”, said Jeremy DeFilippis, Jetty CEO and Contest Organizer. “Everyone knows how incredible Pete has been surfing and this won’t be the last final that you see him in”.
Winners take to the podium! - Photo: Dan Przygocki
The day ended with an after-party at The Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House. Bragging rights are in order, the trophy will be engraved and Jetty sends its deepest thanks to all of the sponsors, surfers, volunteers, and judges who contributed to one of the more epic Jams in recent years.