The weather in New Jersey is unusually warm on an 80 degree winter day and the ocean water is at freezing temperatures, cold enough to numb your skin at the touch. Who would want to go to the beach in February just to catch a good wave?
Russell Sullivan, 19, has recently been selected as a member of SkimUSA’s skimboarding team for the United States and has taken every opportunity he can to get in the ocean, even in freezing temperatures. The Hasbrouck Heights native has spent most of his summers in Belmar, New Jersey since he was too little to remember.
“My neighbors from Hasbrouck Heights came to visit in Belmar one day and they brought this thing called a skimboard,” Sullivan says. “I wound up trying it and buying a $30 skimboard from an A&P [afterwards] and started to teach myself each day.”
Sullivan started competing in 2008 and placed third in his first contest. It didn’t stop there. To date, he has placed in the top three in every contest ever since. SkimUSA takes skimboarders mainly from the East and West coasts and Sullivan was one of four selected to represent the United States this season. The SkimUSA team competes internationally on behalf of their country and takes part in contests all through the summer on the East Coast.
Sullivan spends his time teaching beginners how to skimboard during the summer with the hope to share his experience with young kids that want to represent their country like him. He is soaking up every moment on Team USA and remembering that it all started in Belmar.