PLNU’s surf team is ranked among the top 12 college surf teams in the United States, but their main focus is on the upcoming State and National Championships.
On January 31, PLNU’s surf com- petition in Ventura was postponed until February 28 due to high winds. This contest marks the last competition of four contests throughout the 2015/2016 school year.
Surfer Ashley Charles has been a part of the surf team since her freshman year. As a sophomore, she has been un- able to compete after tearing her ACL three times during independent surf sessions.
“This last time I tore it, I tore it surfing last winter and then I had a really bad meniscus tear in the spring just from skating,” said Charles. “I actually surfed three contests with a torn ACL without knowing; it didn’t really hurt after a couple times.”
Charles said she looks forward to competing again in the fall. Until then, she has been pleasantly shocked by freshman Maddie Lomonaco’s contribution to the team.
“Maddie has been doing really well. I think she has a lot of experience in the contests… like Surfing America con- tests,” said Charles. “She’s been making it to semis; she’s always out there [surfing].”
Before coming to PLNU, Lomonaco had started her own surf team sophomore year in high school. Although she is more comfortable with a long board, Lomonaco has challenged her skills by switching to short boarding to improve her skills.
“It’s been a blast joining the team… where everyone is really good. It’s really pushing me in a different kind of way, and I really like that. Before contests… we’ll all surf out together- there’ll just be a group of us and its super fun,” said Lomonaco.
While Charles is unable to com- pete during her recovery process of six surgeries, she continues to support the team. Charles attended the fourth competition in Ventura on January 31, which marked the last meet of the season be- fore the State Championships.
“Our team was actually completely dominating before it got postponed… We were expecting it to be stormy but it totally blew out of proportion and it just started hailing,” said Charles. “Everyone was kind of bummed because [Ventura] is pretty far away to drive, but the fact that we were in such high standings- we’re all excited to come back and surf it on a good day.”
According to senior co-captain Jeremy Carter, each member of PLNU’s surf team was able to win their individual heats at the Ventura contest on January 31. However, a windstorm postponed the remainder of that contest until last Sunday, February 28. The team came in first place with a total score of 200 points, earning the team a conference title.
Out of the 30 colleges that compete in National Scholastic Surfing Competition (NSSA), the judges take the top 12 schools with the highest scores to compete in the State and National Championships.
Carter has high hopes for these com- petitions because both of PLNU’s surf teams – team A and team B – are among the top 12.
Although three of the top surfers are studying abroad in New Zealand this semester – sophomores Jordan Kudla, Conner Carlson and Timmy Metcalf – Carter said that PLNU’s surf team is strong enough to win Nationals just as they did in 1989, 1999 and 2015.
According to NSSA.org, UC Santa Barbara holds the title for most wins at the National Championships. However, in 2015, PLNU’s A-team won first place with the highest score of 147 points.
“I expect us to win, honestly. Churches is a pretty simple wave. It breaks in one spot, so it will suit us, considering the wave is like the waves we surf here,” said Carter.
To participate in all contests of the college southwest conference, the cost is $1,300 for each team, according to NSSA.org. On February 17 and 19, the team gathered on Caf Lane to sell surf team t-shirts for $10.
Senior Craig Knox said that ASB did not give the team enough money to compete in State and National Championships. With the amount of money the team did receive from ASB, the team made shirts to raise enough money for the remaining contests.
March 4-6 is State Championships, which will be held at Church in San Onofre. On June 11-13, Dana Point’s Salt Creek will hold the National Inter- scholastic College Championships. Visit NSSA.org to see the full schedule of the 2015/2016 California College Team Season.
photo by Jayme O’Hanlon