From Belmar to Team USA

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Published March 2, 2018
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The Montclarion
BELMAR, NJ 02/21/2018 CATCHING AIR: Russell Sullivan performs a backside 180 air on Wednesday at 4pm. Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

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?

Sullivan gets out of the water after skimming for the first time since November.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Beach passes that the Sullivan family have accumulated dating back from 1991 until 2017.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Sullivan points to the view outside of his window from his summer home in Belmar.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

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 walks to the beach, bringing with him his skimboard, towels, and water.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Sullivan and his friend Dillon Brown put on their wet suits before jumping into the 32 degree February water.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Sullivan completes his first session of the season in February.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

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 and Brown, who recently went pro, wait for the perfect opportunity to run out into the water.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

Sullivan rests after a long day at the beach practicing for his upcoming skim season, anxiously awaiting his trip to Florida this March.
Mackenzie Robertson

Sullivan changes out of his wet suit after a successful day, officially starting his skim season.
Mackenzie Robertson | The Montclarion

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.

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