Board Riders aim to bring local surf community together

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The surf history in North Florida is a long and proud one. For generations, locals have been catching waves at beaches like Neptune Beach, Jax Beach and even Mickler’s Beach, but recently one Ponte Vedra resident decided it was time for an upgrade.

Over the summer of 2020, Don Wight officially initiated a Ponte Vedra chapter of Florida Board Riders. This nonprofit organization began as a way to bring members of the surfing community together for events and competitions.

“Board Rider clubs foster fun, safety, self-esteem, ocean and environmental-stewardship, and community engagement for surfers of all ages through friendly competitions and other events,” its website says.

The Ponte Vedra division is sibling to three other North Florida chapters, including one in Fernandina Beach, Jacksonville and St. Augustine, as well as other divisions down the coast.

With a goal of bringing the community together, Wight and his PVBR division host a variety of events throughout the year. For Halloween, they held a Halloween Surf Jam, which doubled not only as a fun opportunity to dress in costumes and surf, but also as tryouts for their competition division of the club.

Members of the PVBR are not all necessarily competitors, some simply join the chapter to participate in local beach clean-ups and skate park nights, but others join for the thrill of competing against neighboring divisions of the Board Riders.

Ages for members range from young children to adults, and every surfer is given an equal chance to prove their worth on the waves as a competitor.

Wight said that community response has been overwhelmingly positive so far, and that the club continues to grow as more and more surfers hear about the fun beach events and competitions. He also mentioned the importance of teaching new generations of surfers how to love and respect the ocean, as well as each other.

Another goal of the Board Riders organization is to support and work with local businesses to create charity drives, beach cleanups, water safety training, movie nights and ocean conservation education. Popular Ponte Vedra eatery Trasca & Co. offered sponsorship to this new chapter of the Board Riders, and Wight said that the Board Riders have worked with the HEAL Foundation to offer surf lessons to kids.

The Ponte Vedra Board Riders’ next competition will take place in Melbourne, where they will compete against Jacksonville Board Riders, Space Coast Board Riders and St. Augustine Board Riders for The Florida Cup.

Learn more about getting involved with the Ponte Vedra Board Riders or about its local sponsors on its Instagram page at @pv_boardriders_club.

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