Longport Wins A.C. Classic; Ocean City Second

Longport Wins A.C. Classic; Ocean City Second

Ocean City's Frankie Brady charges through the surf towards the finish line in the swim event.

By Lesley Graham

The Ocean City Beach Patrol scored points in every event Friday evening at the Atlantic City Classic to secure a second place team finish overall. Longport, the defending South Jersey champions, won three out of the four events to take the team title, while host Atlantic City placed third. 

The Atlantic City Classic consists of four events: a doubles row, swim, singles row and the newest addition, the rescue relay.

Ocean City placed fourth in the doubles row. Ocean City’s Matt Garbutt and Paul Boardman have been fine-tuning their technique over the past couple of months to blend together their styles and strengths when it comes to the rowing event. Garbutt, a lieutenant on the patrol, has a storied history of rowing excellence.

“I first raced out of town in 1996 – 23 years ago,” Garbutt recalled.

When asked what keeps him coming back all these years later to race on Friday nights, Garbutt explained: “There isn’t much you can still do at 43 that you could do at 20, and I take a lot of pride in my ability to do just that.”

Doubles crew Matt Garbutt and Paul Boardman of Ocean City find their rhythm at the start of the doubles race.

In the swim, Frankie Brady, a seventh-year Ocean City lifeguard who sits on Waverly surfing beach, battled to a second place finish. Brady said the ocean conditions played into his favor in the swim.

“I definitely enjoy ocean swimming more than pool swimming, because the waves definitely help me,” he said. “My expertise is in wave riding, and I caught a wave at the end to help propel me into second place.”  

The third event was the singles row. Ocean City’s Kevin Perry got off to a quick start and rowed a good course to secure a second place finish. With the ocean churning out some swells on the evening, Perry was able to catch a wave, passing a few other South Jersey competitors on his way to second.

The final event of the evening was the rescue relay. A relatively new addition to the Atlantic City Classic, the event is a sprint doubles row with one rower unclipping a rescue bag at a flag in the ocean, hauling it into the boat, rowing back in and then jumping out with the bag to sprint up the beach.

Brothers Shanin (left) and Bryan Theiss of Ocean City run up the beach at the finish of the rescue relay race.

Brothers Brian and Shanin Theiss took second place in the event, helping to keep Ocean City in the top three for the team finish. The Theiss brothers have combined for over 30 years of competing for not only the Ocean City Beach Patrol but also squads in San Diego and Florida.

The desire to win is what keeps them coming back year after year. “We are very competitive. It’s in our blood,” Shanin Theiss said in a post-race interview.

That competitive spirit runs deep through all the competitors for the Ocean City Beach Patrol, who will continue to train to prepare for the next set of races, representing their patrol with pride.  

Ocean City’s Kevin Perry rides a wave to a second place finish.


Doubles Row:

1st – Longport

2nd – Upper Township

3rd – Atlantic City

4th – Ocean City (Paul Boardman and Matt Garbutt)

5th – Wildwood Crest 


1st – Longport

2nd – Ocean City (Frank Brady)

3rd – Wildwood Crest

4th – Atlantic City

5th – Brigantine 

Singles Row:

1st – Atlantic City

2nd – Ocean City (Kevin Perry)

3rd – Avalon

4th – Brigantine

5th – Longport 

Doubles Row Sprint Rescue:

1st – Longport

2nd – Ocean City (Bryan and Shanin Theiss)

3rd – Atlantic City

4th – Ventnor

5th – Brigantine 

Overall Standings:

1st – Longport (16 points)

2nd – Ocean City (14 points)

3rd – Atlantic City (13 points)

4th – Upper Township (4 points – tiebreaker)

5th – Wildwood Crest (4 points)

OCBP’s Paul Boardman and Matt Garbutt at the start of the doubles row race (Photos courtesy Dale Braun)
OCBP’s Kevin Perry at the start of the singles row race.
OCBP brothers Bryan and Shanin Theiss at the start of the doubles row sprint rescue.
OCBP’s Frank Brady comes in second in the swim race.
OCBP’s Kevin Perry finishes second in the singles row. 
OCBP’s Bryan and Shanin Theiss place second in the doubles row sprint rescue race.