On Sept. 12, 2021, about 45 groggy-eyed students lined up along the Sunset Cliffs in front of Point Loma Nazarene University’s campus at seven in the morning. Including me. As tired as we all seemed, I know I can speak on behalf of everyone there when I say that our hearts were racing beneath our hoodies. This was one long awaited day.
Since the start of COVID-19, the Point Loma Surf Team had come to a sudden halt. The league for competitions, National Scholastic Surfing Association, had shut down contests due to the COVID-19 chaos. Contests have not taken place for about a year and a half, and are now starting back up again. After a year off, everyone is excited to be back.
I could feel the nerves in the air that morning. Most of us have been out of competition for a while now. A healthy competitiveness set in as everyone was trying out, and it was obvious that regardless of what happened in the water that morning, we all were stoked to simply put a jersey back on and surf for sport.
Sophomore John Frye, one of the shortboarders who made the team, gave a statement on the reality of the tryouts.
“I was pretty nervous and there was a large amount of people that were really good at surfing so I started to doubt myself and I didn’t know if I was going to make it,” Frye said.
Even with this looming anxiety after going without competing for a long gap of time, Frye kept a positive outlook.
“I knew if I had the right mindset I could make the team no matter who I was against. I just needed to remind myself to have fun and be thankful I have the opportunity to surf in this environment again,” Frye said.
The mindset Frye had was a key factor in these tryouts, as the surf was less than decent. Being a shortboarder myself, I was finding it incredibly difficult to sneak any worthy waves in the one to two foot surf. I had to fully rely on my mental state to not psych myself out or get discouraged.
“The surf was terrible with lots of lulls which made it really hard for shortboarding and by the time the longboarders were surfing their heats, the tide was too high so it got tricky for them too,” said Frye.
Others still remained grateful for tryouts, despite not making the team.
Sophomore longboarder, Mason Grey, explained her eagerness to tryout since this year’s sophomores missed tryouts last season due to COVID-19. Not only did Grey have the extra-long waiting period like all sophomores, she had the obstacle of surfing against male longboarders due to a lack of a women’s longboard division in both the Point Loma surf team and the NSSA league.
“I was bummed because it felt like an unfair playing field having to surf against boys in a co-ed division,” Grey said.
Grey explained that she is still so stoked for this upcoming season for the PLNU surf team and hopes to see a women’s longboarding division added in the near future.
As for now, Frye speaks on the high hopes for this year’s restart of a surf team.
“I think we are going to do really well and I hope we win nationals because our team is super stacked and we have good mindsets going into this competition season.”
With this new and refreshing start of the surf team, many surfers who made the team and those who didn’t, are setting high expectations for the year to come.
By: Isa Darisay