Barb and Tom Tant at Flagler Beach City Hall on October 14, 2021.

On October 14, 2021, Mayor Suzie Johnston of Flagler Beach read a proclamation declaring October 21st officially “Tommy Tant Day.” Event organizers and Tommy’s parents, Barb and Tom Tant, were in attendance to celebrate this community moment.

Two decades ago, a group of DECA students from Flagler Palm Coast High School (which included our board member Dan Worley) launched the first Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic for their school project on October 21, 2000 (originally called the “Tommy Tant Contest”). This year’s event celebrates the twentieth anniversary (postponed by one year because of the pandemic).

This contest has become such a staple to Flagler Beach that an entire generation of young surfers doesn’t know a year without it. The contest has provided local scholarships, contributions to local food banks around the holidays, and funds for the Marfan Foundation. Countless volunteers, generous sponsors, and enthusiastic donors have stepped up over the years to ensure that each event is a success. Artists, musicians, and professional surfers have added an element of excitement to the annual weekend events.

As wonderful as this event is and continues to be, our hearts will always ache for Tommy. Time with family and friends is precious and to be cherished. As we come together again to celebrate his life, love of family and community this year, be sure to remember to smile warmly and hug each other tight; remember to let the people around you know how much you love them.

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