Surf club splashes competition

Spinnaker

BY Stephanie Cefali

The UNF Surf Club had its first competition of the year at New Smyrna’s Bethune Beach Sept. 26.

The surfing Ospreys proudly placed second out of six competing colleges. UNF scored 89 points, and Flagler won first with 99 points.

Afterward, the surf club invited everyone and anyone to a celebratory party at Cabos’ Island Pizza, where the band Cheezy T rocked out.

“I’m glad we did so well, we can do better, but next time we will definitely be able to take out Flagler,” said Tomas Ritter, a surf club officer and UNF business logistics sophomore. “The waves were pretty choppy and hard to surf. A lot of our surfers didn’t get to show off their skills, we will place first at the next competition.”

This year, the surf club will be shredding it at all of the National Scholastic Surf Association’s North Eastern competitions, where it will be competing against the University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Daytona Beach College and other schools from the Northeast region.

Other than placing in every competition it enters, the surf club also plans on hosting more events this year than in the past.

“We have too much talent,” Ritter said. “Teale Beckenbache is really good. She is such a strong surfer.”

Beckenbache is one of two females on the nine-person team.

Two long boarders placed second and fourth and three short boarders, Billy Olsen, Austen Bungert and Nick Web, made it to the semifinals.

Ritter said he has no doubt they can be better than any other school.

“If it weren’t for the poor wave conditions, I know they would have made it to the finals,” he said.

Ritter said the waves were small, inconsistent and waist high — tough conditions for surfing. However, he is hopeful for better waves and bigger wins in other contests.

“It was our first contest, and we are still learning,” Ritter said. “I think we’ll definitely win in the future.”

The surf team welcomes seasoned surfers as well as beginners who have never surfed before and want to learn how to ride. Dues are $25 and membership includes a discount at Sunrise Surf Shop, a T-shirt and new friends to surf with.

“We want to step it up as much as we can, actively participating in the Jacksonville and UNF community,” said Nicole Holderbaum, surf club manager and UNF psychology sophomore. “In addition to the surf contests, there will be a ton of parties, beach cleanups and volunteer surf lessons for members to participate in.”

Ritter said the club is really pushing to gain more student interest and involvement.

“This year we want to rally our friends and past members to create a more established and active club than last year,” he said. “We want to be huge and offer students an alternative to have fun while feeling like a part of something big.”

Ritter said at its next club meeting, the club will announce a monumental surprise so secret even the club president doesn’t know what it is.

To find out what the surprise is and for more information, attend the meeting Oct. 14 at 7:30 p.m. or check out the club on Facebook, UNF Surf Team.