Surfer Magazine chose Cal Poly as one of the top 10 surf schools in the U.S. in an article published this month.
The magazine cited the wine and viticulture major offered here as one of the reasons Cal Poly is a prime place for surfers “wanting to major in booze.”
However, Mike Ion, a mathematics sophomore, said he did not agree with the description the magazine presented of surfers as slackers.
“I don’t think that it’s a logical implication,” Ion said. “Cal Poly is a difficult school, and I think it’s stereotyping surfers to be a party crowd.”
Other student surfers, such as Matt Ininns, an architecture junior and member of the Cal Poly surf team, agree with Ion.
“I was kind of pissed because it seemed to me like they were trying to make a joke about Cal Poly being a party school,” Ininns said. “Every year we make it on this list, but a comment seems to be made about our academics being lesser, and that’s not true.”
However, other surfers such as biomedical engineering senior Stevie Giacomazzi, are not fazed by the association.
“I mean, it is kind of funny to me,” Giacomazzi said. “I don’t find it offensive or anything; it’s obviously supposed to be a joke.”
Also featured in the article was a description of Cal Poly surf as uncrowded, cold and, to a certain extent, shark-infested.
Ion said he agreed the water is cold, and the surf is not as crowded at Cal Poly as at other top surfing spots.
“Cal Poly is more of a top spot because there are so many breaks with literally no guys out there,” Ion said. “We definitely have cold water here, that’s why it’s not as crowded (but) I kind of like it because it means less people.”
Though the water can be in the low 50s, many surfers do not mind the lower temperatures.
“I would sacrifice cold water for no crowds any day,” Ion said.
Mike Stone, a mechanical engineering senior, said the best thing about surfing at Cal Poly is that it is generally not crowded.
“Within a 20-minute drive there are lots and lots of spots to surf that are kind of hidden,” Stone said. “Whereas at other places there are a lot more points and breaks that are well-known, so that could be why they are more crowded.”
Stone contrasted Cal Poly with the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), the university chosen as the best overall school for surfing, when he said UCSB is a lot more crowded and is always packed.
“The wave quality is really good there though,” Stone said. “It is definitely not always as easy to find the high quality waves here.”
As for “sharky” waters, Giacomazzi said there is a bit of truth to the rumors. He has seen sharks a few times while out in the water on the Central Coast.
“I’ve never been circled or anything like that, but it definitely adds character to the surf,” he said. “Compared to the SoCal beaches that are a lot more popular, these beaches are more untouched and natural, so the habitats of many of the animals including sharks are untouched.”
Though many Cal Poly surfers said they agreed that when there is a swell, UCSB is the best place to surf in California, surfing at Cal Poly is a different experience.
“At Cal Poly it’s like natural surfing — it’s just you and nature,” Giacomazzi said.
Some of the other perks of attending Cal Poly listed in the article include surfboard-shaping classes and a “hip” downtown scene, as well as being good for partying and “hanging out with tons of girls.”
However, for most of the surfers here it was not the wine, girls or parties that convinced them to attend Cal Poly.
“The surf is what definitely influenced me in choosing (Cal Poly) as a school,” Ininns said. “It’s more of a challenge here … It’s more work (to find good waves), but once you find them, there’s more (of a) reward.”