October 17th, 6:30 am. 40 surfers hit the waves, representing one of the newer additions to Orange Lutheran’s sports repertoire: the Surf Team. Not your stereotypical high school athletics group, this team truly takes advantage of OLu’s SoCal setting.
Led by Coaches Hernandez and Laulhere, the team starts off their average day by driving to Bolsa Chica State Beach. This is considered OLu’s “home,” so most meets are held here. The team meets each Red Day for practice, “rain or shine,” from about 6:30 until 8:30. Then, with a 30-45 minute drive, most of the surfers head back to Orange to finish the school day on campus.
On this particular day, the opposition was Mater Dei, who holds a relatively positive reputation for surf talent. Ruby Crosby, senior, said “The Mater Dei girls are pretty good,” but Nicole Demurjian, senior, added that “We have actually been getting a lot better with each practice.” At first, Crosby said, “We were just floating at the beginning, but now we are actually standing up!” Despite the girls’ improvement, Natalie Tuerk, senior, jokes that the Orange Lutheran girls were competing at their best this day because “us ladies love the flat conditions.” Demurjian adds that the girls on the team call themselves “The Wavestorm Warriors” because of the soft top boards that most of them ride. Even though many of them are just starting out, Crosby exclaims that they still have “so much fun!”
One reason the girls enjoy the team so much is because of all of the gear provided to the teammates, which really amps up the legitimacy of the team. Crosby mentions that the team has “surf sweatshirts, beanies, rash guards, windbreakers, backpacks, and changing towels.
Basically [they] have lots of benefits,” which help the team to perform their very best at meets.
At each meet, OLu surfers compete against other schools in the Seaview Surfing League, says Shane Scantlebury, junior. Grant Knapp, junior, explains the league placements: “There are three different divisions; we’re not in the top one yet. Also, there are different leagues, like the Trinity League. There are divisions that have heats with Newport schools and schools down south more.”
During each heat, the judges sound a buzzer, queuing the competitors to run into the waves. They have fifteen minutes in which they are allowed to catch a maximum of eight waves. At the end of the fifteen minutes, the buzzer sounds again and the competitors come back in to find out their placement. Wearing different colored rash guards (Orange Lutheran’s home colors are red, blue, and yellow), the surfers are easily differentiated by the judges.
Crosby explains that scoring is based on “technique and how long you ride the waves.” She says that “if you stand up, you get a point.” Coach Clayton detailed the scoring and said, “For first place, its six points. Second place is five points, and then it goes down from there. And your points go to the team, so in that way, it operates almost like a track meet.” Dylan Coombs, senior, said, “The more you walk, the more points you get. The bigger the wave, the more points you get. The more style, the more points you get.”
Coombs, himself, executed all of these determiners extremely well, scoring first in his heat. Though, he says, “The conditions today are pretty awful. Its high tide and the waves are not as firing as usual.” Coombs says he “caught a nice left, walked a little bit, almost got to the nose a few times, and had a little bit of tip time.” Michael Schlueter, junior, mentioned his knowledge of the conditions: “Today was kind of clean, the weather was nice but the waves weren’t too good.”
Ranging in talent, the Orange Lutheran Surf Team welcomes all who enjoy the ocean breeze and the salty sea. This relatively new team represents the California lifestyle and is the perfect addition to OLu’s sports family.
Photo Credits: Georgia Harris