Cowabunga, dude! UNF Surfing reached the crest of the season with its recent success in New Smyrna Beach.
The UNF Surf Team took second place in the National Scholastic Surfing Association East Coast Championships April 10, clinching an invitation to the national competition in Dana Point, Calif.
UNF had three surfers place either first or second in three different categories, more than any other team. One was the women’s division champion, Mallory Turner.
Marshall Alberga, a UNF business management and marketing junior, placed second in the men’s shortboard division, and Christopher Lind took second in men’s longboard.
“I felt like we had the winning team,” Alberga said.
The University of North Carolina – Wilmington won the competition with 115 points, beating UNF by 23, despite not having a surfer place higher than fourth in either the men’s shortboard or women’s divisions.
“We had three or four surfers in one heat,” Alberga said, “and that hurt us.”
Each team accumulates points based on how far its individual surfers advance through each round, and UNC-Wilmington had numerous surfers reach the semifinals, allowing them to rack up points, Alberga said.
The weather and the waves were beautiful all weekend, perfect for a weekend in the surf.
“There were good, contestable, chest high waves all weekend, and they were chest-high and glassy for the final,” Alberga said.
UNF is scheduled to compete in Nationals at the Salt Creek break in Dana Point, Calif., June 16-18, but only if it gets enough funding.
“We are one of the only teams out there that I know of not supported by their school,” said club president Thomas Ritter.
The team even had to leave a few people behind this weekend due to lack of funding, and that may have held UNF back from even better achievements, Ritter said.
“If we would’ve had funding,” he said, “we would’ve won.”
Since the UNF Surf Club, along with other competing UNF clubs, is not recognized as a recreational club team, it cannot get funding from the school for its competition. It has to go through the same process as any other club to get Student Government funding.
SG only granted the club enough for T-shirts this year, Ritter said.
It needs to raise $6,000 to $7,000 in order to take a team out to California to compete in June.
Strata King Clothing, a Jacksonville clothing company, sponsors the UNF Surf Club to make up for the lack of SG financial support. The company even sponsors several surfers individually.
Assuming they get enough money, the team is looking forward to the opportunity to surf in California.