BY VAL SCHOGER; PHOTOGRAPHY BY JEFF PITTS
Panama City Beach has approximately 9 miles of shoreline fronting the Gulf of Mexico. The long stretch of white sand and cerulean blue water attracts beachcombers at any given time. While swimmers usually wait for the calm and clear waters in the summer, surfers show up in an instant when there is good wave action, no matter how cold. The same can be said about skimboarders, except, they don’t need the waves. “I skimboard whenever there’s swell or a bump… just something to play around on,” says Daniel Chance Bodenhamer. The 18-year old-graduated from Arnold High School last year.
He maneuvers his skim board around as if it was the easiest thing in the world. “Yeah, I compete in the UST (United Skim Tour). I made it out to three events this year. I went to Obx (Outer Banks North Carolina) where I took 2nd place in the junior men’s (15-17) division.” He also brought home the first place in the men’s division (18-21) at the Vilano Pro/Am contest. “After that I realized I should compete in the UST event in California at the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach. I made 21st place in the men’s division which I was stoked on!”
Daniel will compete in this year’s UST events and says he can’t wait. He loves to travel but his favorite spots are still right here in Panama City Beach. “I love the beautiful sunset sessions I get at home. My favorite place to skimboard is O.T. (Ocean Towers) but if I’m not skimming there I’m probably at Rick Seltzer Park by my house.”
Twenty-year-old Caleb Pitts does not live quite as close to the beach but he packs his skimboard and heads to the City or County Pier as often as possible. “When I was younger, it was easier to get out to the beach locations. However, now that I am a little older I go every chance I can get.” He is enrolled in the pre-engineering program at Gulf Coast State College and is planning to head to Florida State University next spring. “I have been skimming since I was 8 years old and just love it for what it is.” His favorite time to skim is midday to sunset. “Winter seems to have the best waves. However, like surfing, you never know when it might be firing.”
Caleb and Daniel are looking forward to the next couple of months, “The best time when there’s really fun waves is in the spring when we get some fun ground swells and the water gets see through,” Daniel says.
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