BRANT BEACH — The 13th annual Jetty Clam Jam, for the first time, ran in September under sunny skies and with remnants of Hurricane Humberto sending contestable surf throughout the day.
What made the long-running event special was that it was held in honor of a community member who is currently battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Patrick Harrington has competed in 11 of the 13 Clam Jams and recently began chemotherapy to fight a disease that has no doubt touched us all in some way. When Harrington handed over the trophy to winners Tanner Panetta and Tab Hans, a sense of pure joy echoed throughout the 68th Street beach crowd.
Panetta and Hans upset Billy Webster and Tim Raimo to claim the clam and hoist it in a toast to the LBI Region community. Leading up to the event, Jetty has been operating a fundraiser for Harrington at www.pstrong.net.
Through the Jetty Ink division, which designed and is selling the garments, as well as the Jetty Rock Foundation, Jetty’s nonprofit arm, the company is raising funds for Patrick's medical bills. Supporters can text pstrong to 41444 to fund the cause.
On September 21st, this year’s Jam saw less favorable waves than year’s past, but an 80 degree beach day more than made up for the conditions. A packed beach saw surfers make the most of fluctuating 3-5ft conditions, and as the day went on, surfers like Kenny Burkhardt and Andrew Fiorella made the waves look rippable. Burkhardt & Fiorella are both examples of what the Clam Jam is all about, a blue collar contest which is likely the only event that most of its surfers take part in with regard to proper surf contests during the year. Both draw their own line guarding the beach, traveling and working hard in order to make time to surf.
Other standout surfers included Josh Law, Brian Aji and Dave Werner. The Clam Jam also signifies the near end of the Long Beach Island season. Businesses play a crucial role in sponsoring the event as the Summer madness dies down. Speakeasy Pizzeria donates pies and sandwiches which are handed out to the crowd for free. The Tide Table Group posts up and shucks oysters and clams, which are also free. Farias Surf and Sport, one of Jetty’s largest retailers, provides boards, wax, and a tent set up that entices competitors to relax in. Equity Prime, a year-long supporter of Jetty and the Jetty Rock Foundation, also throws a tent up and coddles the surfers.
During a weekend with competing events in the area (Sea Hear Now; Maker’s Fest), it was impressive to see such a large turnout. Most beach goers spent the better part of the day enjoying the beach, sunshine, surfing, food, camaraderie, and spirits provided by the K2 beach bar.
Here is the tournament bracket and results: