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'The Jimmy' Family Surf Fiesta Is Back

Oct 13, 2023 08:46AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Scene from The JIMMY 2022. Photo credit: Chris Miller. Photo via JMMF.

Saturday marks the 18th annual The Jimmy Family Surf Fiesta, one of Manhattan Beach's most popular surf celebrations. The daylong surf contest and party benefits the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation's surf therapy programs - and this year features a special ice-plunge challenge.

The event, known locally as just "The Jimmy," is designed to foster camaraderie and aloha in the water. The goal, according to organizers, is to get families and community together to celebrate Jimmy’s "Pure Surfing Experience" philosophy and share waves together.

A scene from The Jimmy in 2018. Photo credit: Steve Gaffney. Photo via JMMF.


"While it’s changed from a group of Jimmy and Jeff’s friends doing what they loved best, it now includes their own kids joining their parents and buddies in a fun and friendly surf competition, said Nancy Miller, mother of Jimmy Miller and board member of the foundation. "From seven to 75, everyone surfs, listens to music, buys tickets to a huge raffle, eats great food from longtime sponsors Fresh Brothers and Grow and has a fantastic family day at The Jimmy."

At the Jimmy, teams compete in groups of five, with all five members of the team in the water at the same time. Team members are encouraged to help each other catch waves. Each team member’s highest scoring wave counts towards the team total. The team with the highest cumulative team score advances to the next round. The contest directors assemble teams with various levels of ability to try to make the competition fair. 

However, even if a surfer gets knocked out in Round One, they can put their name on an alternate list and try to join another team if someone has to, say, leave for a soccer game, or another event. That person might just end up on the winning team.

The event - supported by presenting sponsors Fresh Brothers and the Manhattan Beach Rotary - runs from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 42nd Street in Manhattan Beach. GROW fruit will be served for breakfast, Fresh Brothers pizza will be served for lunch and National Charity League made PB&J will be served at the beach all day. There will be a raffle held during lunch from noon to 1:00 p.m. There are also prizes for 1st and 2nd place teams, as well as for Best Wave, Best Wipeout, Best Woman, Best Man, Best Grom Pure Surfing Award and more.

ALS Ice Plunge Challenge

In In addition to the surf contest, this year's event will feature a special version of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The "ice plunge challenge" will raise funds for Greg Browning - a local pro
surfer, film-maker, father, friend of Jimmy’s and longtime supporter of JMMF - in his fight against ALS. 

"This year is very special as our JMMF family, friends, and supporters join to raise funds for Jimmy and Jeff’s dear and talented friend, Greg Browning, who was recently diagnosed with ALS," said Nancy Miller. "Like the ALS Ice Bucket Drop that went viral a few years ago, we will be doing an Ice Bath Plunge, on the beach. The money raised will be donated for Greg’s medical expenses."

The ice plunge will take place between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The special Ice Plunge Tubs have been donated by PAUSE, a flotation therapy studio at the Point in El Segundo. The foundation promises some "icy surprises" for all who participate.

The Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation

The foundation's namesake, Jimmy Miller, was a Manhattan Beach surf teacher and global surfing adventurer who spent his life sharing his joy of the ocean with others. In Manhattan Beach, he founded what is now Camp Surf, where he was dedicated to sharing his philosophy and the method he developed for teaching surfing. After Miller tragically took his own life in 2004, his family created the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation to preserve his memory and share his love for the ocean with others. 

Since then, the JMMF pioneered and formalized the concept of ocean therapy programs through surfing and therapy sessions led by licensed therapists who guide pre- and post- surfing "talking circles."  

JMMF is currently the largest provider of ocean and surf therapy programming in the world. It has continued to introduce new populations that have suffered from some form of mental and/or physical trauma to the healing power of the ocean.

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