Fourth was firing. That barrel was so gnarly. Moss was, like, at least triple overhead.
At the beginning of the year, junior Bryce Bishop, with help from his father, formed a surf club that is pairing up with surfers from Harbor High School to create a scholastic surf team that will compete against other teams in the Santa Cruz area.
“I think that it’s cool that we finally have something that supports the local surfers that are at school,” sophomore member Freesia Bauer says. “I’m excited for the competitions.”
As happy as these surfers are to compete, many note competition fees are high, and some surfers are having a hard time finding the money.
“Money is a huge issue right now,” Bishop says. “As a team we are still trying to get support from local sponsors.”
Bishop and the team hope to get sponsorship from local surf shops like On the Beach and Sunshine Freestyle. It costs $180 for each member to join the Santa Cruz Scholastic Surf League. The price covers hiring professional judges, obtaining permits to shut down sections of the beach and liability insurance in case of injuries or lawsuits.
Despite their challenges with money, surfers are eager to compete. The first competition is scheduled for this Sunday at Half Moon Bay. Competitions consist of 15-minute heats with six surfers in the water at once.
“If you’re inside, whoever is closer to the part of the wave that is breaking has the right of way,” Bishop explains. “In every competition they judge it differently depending on what the waves are like.”
Unfortunately, competition for waves not only occurs during tournaments, but also in local waters.
“Given that waves are often limited resources…it’s pretty normal for surfers in this area to not always be overjoyed about having new people coming out into the water and especially having people who aren’t that experienced, don’t know the etiquette, and can create hazards by getting in the way,” Surf Club advisor Pat Robel says.
According to the club president, teaching etiquette is a priority.
“The goal of the surf club is to make people better surfers,” Bishop says. “That way they can control themselves in the water, have more fun in the water as well by learning new tricks and learn more about the sport. Everybody likes to see the kids getting out there, surfing and getting educated.”