At the close of the 2008 season, the Cal Poly surf team has continued to improve upon the foundation that was laid by the club’s resurrection last year.

The club finished in the top 10 in the California division, and looks to improve upon that standing in national competition later this month.

“The club was restarted last year about halfway through the season, and it had moderate success,” said Jordan Stern, a construction management freshman and the club’s treasurer. “We did pretty well this year, especially since we were self-funded, with no financial help from the school.”

“They did compete last year, but it was more of signing up for individual competitions and dabbling in a few of them,” agreed Nick Mestre, an environmental engineering freshman and the club’s president. “So we filed a few more papers and got recognized as a real club, and we’ve become a real contender in the league.”

The surf club competes in the California Division of the National Scholastic Surfing Association, a non-profit organization that “promotes discipline and competitive excellence while supporting academic achievement in young surfers.”

Last year the club sent only one team to compete in events, but this year the club sent two, each comprised of six shortboarders, two female surfers, and one longboarder. And because the entry into the league has a variety of fees and equipment costs, the club has found solace in the assistance of various businesses around San Luis Obispo.

“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of help from San Luis Surf Company, who give us insane discounts, help us with fees, and help prepare our boards before competitions,” Mestre said. “Trader Joe’s also gives us a hand, giving us $100 of free groceries for every competition that we have to make a road trip to compete in.”

Although surfing is not a team sport, the communal nature of going out and riding waves has really helped the club flourish, with members relishing the opportunities to go out and meet other surfers to both ride with and go on trips with.

“Being in the club has really helped with being a student here at Cal Poly, as I only really knew of one other surfer who went out consistently before I joined the club,” said Andrew Crane, a business sophomore and the team’s top overall scorer for the season. “It’s given me people to carpool with to the beach and formulate potential excursions that the club might go on in the future.”

Because the club’s officers and a number of its members are all either first or second year students, the club will have a steady hand to help guide it in becoming one of the premier clubs on campus. Over the next couple years, the club hopes compete in more events, especially closer to the Central Coast, and may even eventually host an event of its own.

“There’s always going to be a learning curve, and some mistakes will inevitably be made,” Crane said. “But we did more than we could have hoped for this year, and next year looks to be even better.”

“We’re all making a lot of friends and networking, and so everyone’s real stoked on the club as it stands right now,” Mestre agreed. “As word spreads, more and more people will come and try out for the team, or will join and be a member non-competitively.

The Cal Poly Surf Club will be sending one team to compete in nationals, which will take place at Salt Creek near San Clemente on June 18.

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