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Back from California, UNF Surf Team speak on strong championship performance

Joslyn Simmons

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With the waves perfect in sunny California, the UNF Surf Team grabbed second place and two individual titles in the National Scholastic Surfing Association Championship.

This is the third straight year the team earned the runner-up spot against a deep field.

Making a more than 2,000 mile trip, UNF brought enough talent to compete at a high level in the individual-basis heats. The team was small in comparison to their West Coast opponents who brought two separate teams to the championship.

During the all-day championship, the heats are 16 minutes long , with points being awarded to teams based on placement. Points added up quick with individual wins making it a tight battle for UNF against defending champion Point Loma Nazarene University.

Ray Bunch, club sports coordinator, watched teammates as they were knocked out by other teammates during the competition.

“In the first round, basically all our guys won or came second in the [preliminaries] and then we ended up having four seeded against each other,” Bunch said.

Rj Berger. Photo by Scott Roberson

Corey Howell, the team captain, became the first male to win back-to-back in the short board. Howell has been surfing since he was about three, he will remember this honor for the rest of his life.

“It felt amazing to be honest. I worked really hard doing a lot of training in the gym and also nutritional wise and just to see that pay off through the hard work,” Howell said.

He wasn’t alone on the podium stand. Emily Ruppert, an athletic training senior, pulled in her second title in four years with a total of 14.10 points.

“It was awesome, she was surfing great all day and to see her win was just a really good driving force for the whole team and all of our spirits and I know she’s stoked,” Howell said.

Going forward, the team looks to carrying the momentum into next season. With three East Coast titles under their belt, they are ready to bring home the top spot in the nation next season.

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Back from California, UNF Surf Team speak on strong championship performance