This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of the first Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic. On October 9, 1999, fifty people gathered at the Flagler Beach pier to honor Tommy through the bonds of family and friendship embedded within the surf community. This weekend thousands will gather as we remember him and celebrate these same bonds, as well as the spirit of sacrificial service and volunteerism that make the event possible from its beginning.
Honestly, it doesn’t take one or two individuals to run the event: it really takes a community and God’s blessing. God has done, and continues to do, more than anyone asked or expected and we want to give him all the glory for the love, life, and community he has brought into existence through the Tommy over the last 15 years.
When we reflect on these past years, we are forced to pause. It is not easy to articulate an event that comes from a place of difficulty but now firmly rests in a place of hope. When our family took on the responsibility of directing this event ten years ago, the scope was narrow and restricted, but God’s scope is always broader and better than our own. We never envisioned the longevity of the event, the community it has fostered, or that it would help bring healing and life to our family, both physically and spiritually, but it truly has changed all of our lives for the better.
After a few years, we began to feel as if we were following a script that was written for us, but not by us. Looking back, each year has added an important chapter of redemption and change. Yet, looking forward, we realize that we have reached the last chapters of this amazing story.
As far as we can tell, next year will be the final Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic. Announcing this before the event creates an opportunity for all of us to have an honest conversation with those who care about it most. So many people have played a part in founding the Tommy Tant, as well as all of you who help to this very day.
Our family cannot begin to fully express our gratitude for your love and support: to each of you we offer our deepest thank you! So, with the bittersweet fragrance of the last chapters in the air, we look forward to sharing these last few pages with you. We welcome all of you as we kickoff this 15th anniversary and, with God’s good grace, we look forward to celebrating the final 16th anniversary in the year to come.
With love, respect, and gratitude,
The Tant Family
Tom, Barbara, and Will