PLNU’s surf club team carved their way to a first-place finish during the three-day Southwest Regional Tournament in Church Beach, San Onofre on March 8. Saddleback College and San Diego State University finished behind PLNU at second and third. The surf team finished in a landslide, beating Saddleback by over 3,000 points—a wide margin of victory.
Junior Jack Boyes, who finished first individually in the conference for overall points during the season, said it was exciting to see the team excel.
“It was cool because we had three guys in the final – we pretty much swept the board points-wise – so we beat everybody by a long shot,” said Boyes. “So it was really cool to see everyone do really well, and that kind of motivated everyone to push us all and do our best.”
Boyes placed first in individual points at the national tournament last year.
According to the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA), the Southwest conference houses the highest level of competition in the nation. This year’s tournament featured 29 schools ranging from Division I to community colleges across Southern California, including USC, Pepperdine, San Diego State University, UCSB and USD.
Surf team captain and club president Bryce John said the team proved they can handle large wave conditions better than others. The waves gradually decreased from three to five feet after the first day of competition at the tournament.
“It was pretty hard conditions, but the waves were big,” John said. “It was cool that we showed that we dominated in the biggest surf and showed that were the best at [surfing] bigger waves than other schools.”
The team is composed of two sub teams—an ‘A’ team and a ‘B’ team. Each team is composed of six short boarders, one long boarder and two women short boarders. Individually, the women dominated their field with sophomores Darsha Pigford and Sara Locke taking first and second in the woman’s side of the tournament. For the men’s side, junior Jeremy Carter led the Sea Lions with a second-place finish overall as freshman Jordan Kudla and Boyes finished third and fourth.
ASB advisor Milton Karahadian, who has worked at PLNU since 2001, said that this team shows a lot of potential in comparison to the past teams he has seen in its history.
“I think that as long as I’ve been here, this is probably the best team we’ve had so far,” said Karahadian. “We’ve had some years where we haven’t done so good, but we’ve really been building and students have been doing a great job at being committed this year.”
Karahadian says the team has a bright outlook looking ahead to the national tournament.
“I’ve been telling them since the beginning of the year that this is the year we’re going to win nationals,” said Karahadian. “I’ve been saying that the whole time and they are really proving that to be true. And just by the clean sweep that they took over in the regionals, no one was even close.”
The surf team will take their top seeding into The National Interscholastic College Championships, which will begin on June 13, and extend through the June 15 at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point.