Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the Offshore Powerboat Association has nine offshore racing events on its calendar for the 2022 season. But in a recent move true to its Garden State roots, the American Power Boat Association member-organization also has “aligned itself” with Jersey Shore Boat Racing, a local group that fields Jersey Speed Skiffs, Garveys, SK raceboats and more.
Jersey Speed Skiff Racing was born in the Garden State. Photo from the 2022 Bradenton River Regatta by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
“It’s hard to think of the Jersey Shore without recalling boat racing of some kind,” said Nick Smith, the vice-president of the OPA, in a press release from the organization. “At their height, dozens of racers would take to a racecourse just hundreds of feet from the shoreline. With racecourses less than a mile long mirroring offshore oval tracks and boats capable of speeds in the 70- to 80-mph range, it’s a sight to behold.”
According to Smith, the Jersey Shore Boat Racing group is experiencing a resurgence in interest thanks to a combination of loyal racers and newcomers. That also caught the attention of his father, Ed “Smitty” Smith, the president of the Offshore Powerboat Association.
“These races are part of the history here at the Jersey Shore,” said Smith. “I used to go to the races all the time, it’s one of the last home-grown sports up here in New Jersey.”
In the near future, Jersey Shore Boat Racing will release a seven-race schedule. The group already has insurance for its events and is bullish on the upcoming season.
“As I talked to a few friends and new guys I could see the drive and the fire in their eyes to race. I figured I’d try and help them get back to what it was,” said Nick McGee, the organization’s vice-president. “With the drive these guys have and the support from OPA we are off and running.”
Added veteran racer John Bevacqua said “This season is really going to be great with so many new racers in the club.”
Look for additional announcements—including the 2022 schedule—on the Jersey Shore Boat Racing Facebook page.