The PLNU surf team defies the surfer stereotype of slackers who hang out on the beach. They are a nationally-ranked, highly competitive team of scholar-athletes, who ended their last season with a fifth place finish at national’s and they are getting better every day.
“We’re looking to win everything this year,” said team president Bryce John. “We had a lot of really talented people try out and we should be pretty good.”
Sophomore Sara Locke, one of the top women shortboard surfers on the team, believes the team is going to make great improvements this season.
“I think we’ll do really well. We’ve got a couple of great freshmen this year, and we would like to move up in the rankings,” she said.
The surf team consists of an A team and a B team. Each team has six men, two women, and one long-boarder. They compete in contests along the California Coast at notorious surf spots like Blacks, Churches and C-Street. They compete in five contests per year, and practice at Ocean Beach and Sunset Cliffs.
Last year the team placed third at the California State Championships despite tough competition from the other schools in the region.
“Our biggest rivals are San Diego State, UC San Diego and Saddleback College,” said team vice president, Kai Pattison. “They’re all very consistent, but we definitely have the ability to beat them this year.”
A surfer that will certainly help PLNU perform well this year is junior Jack Boyes, who took first place at the state championships and second place at national’s. Boyes, a management and entrepreneurship major from Huntington Beach, California, started surfing when he was 8 years old. While he is a standout on the team, his victory at state came as a surprise.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting to win. I didn’t have many expectations at all. I just showed up and surfed and ended up doing really well,” he said.
But for Boyes, the most enjoyable part of surfing is not the competition.
“The best part is just being in the water with your friends,” he said. “We have a cool little community and that’s definitely what I like the most about it.”
One of the most challenging aspects of the surf team is maintaining a balance between inclusivity and competition.
“To be competitive with the other teams, we have to be selective about who gets to be on the team. Each person is hand-picked. But this year we want to be more involved on campus,” said John. “This year we want to incorporate more of a club aspect for people who don’t necessarily want to be on the team. We would love to do beach days where we teach other students to surf, or start beach clean-ups where anyone can come and help us pick up trash.”
Their effort to make the surf team function as a club is what Pattison thinks makes it unlike any other club on campus.
“What’s makes the surf team so different than any other team is that you can still be involved, even if you’re not on the team,” said Pattison. “With sports like soccer or basketball, you don’t get the chance to practice with the members of the team, but you can still surf with us anytime.”
The surf team will be competing against several other schools in the Southern California region at Black’s Beach on October 25.