As tank tops and shorts turn to sweaters and long pants, most students are switching from their summer habits to wintertime activities. On the contrary, the surfing population of SLVHS will be preparing their wetsuits, wax, and fixing up any dings on their boards for the upcoming winter season.
This year, with SLVHS’s own Surf Team preparing for the rising swell, they were nothing but ecstatic for the changing seasons. “I’m really excited about big waves and huge swell!” said Surf Team and Club member Max Deutsch. For surfers, wintertime is not the time to stay inside and keep warm, but instead a time to challenge themselves as the biggest sets of the year will be rolling in. With the Surf Team’s first competition coming up on November 5th, team members are getting in the water more and more to hone their skills. As surfer Will Sutton states, “It’s gonna be gnarly.”
The reason for the increase in swell is quite simple actually. In summer, the warm air and sunshine cause high pressure systems that can destroy the surf. However, in the winter, the cold air differential causes low pressure systems that allow storms to form, which creates great surf. This swell growth is a surfer’s favorite time of the year, and the surf programs at SLVHS allow students to take advantage of the big waves.
For years, SLVHS has had a large group of surfers that are eager to put their skills to the test. With this evolution of the Surf Team and Surf Club, run primarily by Joni Martin, it has become a place not only to gain experience surfing, but to meet new people with same interests. The difference between Surf Team and Surf Club is the level of commitment. Team members are expected to get out at least once a week or more, and are invited to participate in competitions. Club members are put under less stress, only going out once or twice a month on beginner waves.
However, both Surf Team and Club can help the least confident surfers if they are committed to the sport. Less experienced surfers are usually advised to join Club, at least until they gain confidence in the water. One reason for this is because when the Surf Club goes out, more experienced surfers on Surf Team go out and give advice to help out beginners. “It’s just super fun because it’s an excuse to go surfing,” Team and Club Surfer Nate Alisago states.
Nate Alisago has been surfing for about one year. He is really excited about these programs and this upcoming stormy season. He described his anticipation for the upcoming swell, saying “I’m super excited for heading up to Davenport for some sick left-breaks.” He continued, saying, “The leadership in Surf Team is great. The whole program has been progressing a lot.” Will Sutton also added his own comment about this winter, telling us that he was most excited about “getting pitted.”
These programs mark the beginning of the new generation of Santa Cruz surfers, and having SLVHS have its very own Surf Team and Club is key to keeping a positive surf culture at our school.
By Aiden LeRoux