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The Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic began twelve years ago as a small event to celebrate the life of 24-year old surfer, Tommy Tant, who died unexpectedly in his sleep from an aortic aneurysm. With the help of Tommy’s former high school teachers, the Flagler Palm Coast High School marketing class organized the first contest. Proceeds were given away in scholarships to local students, beginning the Tommy Tant Memorial Scholarship Fund.
After the original event, Zoee Forehand, owner of Z-wave Surf Shop in Flagler Beach, and her staff directed the contest for the next three years. In the fifth year, Tommy’s younger brother, Will, became the event organizer. Now a professional surfer, Will wanted to inspire and encourage the local youth to follow their dreams by introducing them to professional athletes and artists.
With the help of the surf community, the Tommy Tant Memorial Surf Classic is now a internationally recognized event. The event has featured world-renowned photographers Aaron Chang, Brian Nevins, Jimmy Wilson and Tony Neste, cinematographers Matt Katsolis and Nic McClean, artists Austin Blasingame and Patrick Maxcy, and musicians Braddigan and Josh Garrels. Each year, the event also features pro-surfers from across the country, including past champions Aaron Cormican, Asher Nolan and Jesse Heilman.
Over the past twelve years, the Tommy Tant has grown into a two-day event with more than 300 contestants. This year the 12th Annual Tommy Tant presented by Nautica will include two days of amateur and professional competition, nighttime surfing exhibition hosted by Red Bull, food festival, concert, live-art exhibit, and silent auction. All proceeds benefit the Tommy Tant Memorial Scholarship Fund, the Flagler County Food Bank, and the National Marfan Foundation.