When Johnny Weber was about 11 years old, he would rise early every summer morning, hop on his bike, go wake up his gang of friends and head to the water at Dewey Beach to skimboard.
The 27-year-old Lewes native remembers those easy days well, and as he continues his journey as one of the nation’s best board men, he has his eye on today’s kids, who he thinks will be great someday but who also are able to take to the waves on a board bearing his name and logo.
“I rode people’s skimboards when I was a kid,” he says. “It’s cool to see a kid get on my board and be excited to ride it. It’s cool to be the person young kids look up to.”
Last September, Weber took first in the Victoria Skimboards World Championship event in Laguna Beach, California, a title he plans to defend this year. He’s part of the Victoria team, as are up-and-coming amateurs Cooper Forcucci, Eve Redefer and Tristan Barnes.
Forcucci dominated the 2021 SkimUSA season, winning all five Boys Division events he entered and ranking first overall. Redefer won the four events in which she competed to finish first in the Girls Division, while Barnes completed the season as the third-ranked SkimUSA Boys competitor.
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“There are a bunch of really good kids out there,” Weber says. “The next generation is going to be the best one yet.”
The youngsters are all part of the Victoria team, and they fill a dual role for the California-based company, which started in 1976 and sells its products throughout the U.S. but also worldwide, particularly in Japan and Hong Kong. Not only do they represent the team well in competitions but they also help build brand awareness by repping the Vic boards when they hit the beach with friends.
“These kids draw attention from their peers,” says Johnny Salta, Victoria’s team manager. “They show that anybody can have fun skimboarding, not just the serious competitors. It’s about fun at the beach.”
Weber continues to search for that enjoyment as a competitor and just somebody interested in being at the beach. After graduating from Cape Henlopen High School, he headed to Southern California to take on the challenge of better boarders and bigger waves. “A small wave day on the West Coast is a big day on the East Coast,” he says.
Even though he admits that he “definitely turns it up a little” when he competes, Weber is still about enjoying the sport.
“His biggest thing is the style and ease of his riding,” Salta says. “He’s a very effortless, surf-style person who is calm, cool and collected.”
Expect to see Weber competing several times in 2022 trying to win and waiting for the next wave of Delaware skimboarders to break onto the national scene.