When campus is fast asleep, hours before student’s alarms sound, Cal Poly surfers are awake taking advantage of the Central Coasts’ award winning waves.
Last month Surfline.com, ranked Cal Poly the third best surf school in America. Factors that went into the decision were difficulty to get accepted, difficulty of curriculum, the nightlife, access to surf, size of waves, whether surf classes and a surf team were offered.
“If there’s waves around a college of course surfers are going to apply and go there,” said Cal Poly Surf Team president and nutrition freshman Alana Hendrickson.
University of California San Diego took the top award with University of California Santa Cruz a close second. Cal Poly rival University of California Santa Barbara took fourth. Not all top 10 finishers were located in California; University of Hawaii, University of North Carolina, Wilmington, University of Rhode Island and Florida Institute of Technology made the cut.
While Surfline.com gave praise for the amount of great surf spots, Cal Poly was downgraded because of the cold and windy spring conditions.
Not surprised by the ranking were members of Cal Poly’s Surf Team. “I think they were right on,” said civil engineering freshman James Fuchs. “You kind of can’t beat this place. It’s the best of both worlds you can surf all the time and go to a great school.”
Fuchs started surfing four years ago in Long Island, N.Y. He said he’s used to the cold Atlantic Ocean water and unlike his peers describes the water’s temperature as a treat.
Hendrickson, a Hawaii native, said she had a hard time getting used to the water and found the waves here were scarier than Maui.
“I don’t know if it’s because when the waves come in it’s just a big wall and it just breaks on you, whereas, back home there is a peak so you can get around it,” she said.
Construction management sophomore Jordan Stern said some of the Central Coast’s best waves are found in Cayucos and Los Osos.
“(The coast) faces north and that’s where the swell comes from so it’s just really exposed and gets a lot of waves,” he explained.
This year Cal Poly attended five competitions in Southern California but because of busy schedules many team members couldn’t make the contests.
The team didn’t earn a spot in the National Scholastic Surfing Association’s top 20, but placed ninth in 2008.
Hendrickson has high hopes for a more competitive team next season. She plans on getting the word out that the team exists. “Most people I tell about it are like, ‘oh, we have a surf team?’” she said.
Publicizing try outs is the top priority. Hendrickson missed try outs but ended up making the team when a surfer couldn’t make a competition.
“There is definitely talent here it’s just a matter of scouting them out,” Hendrickson said. “I’m sure there is even more out there that would like to be on it. I really want to open up that option next year.”
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