While high school students in Santa Cruz can hop on their cruisers and head to the ocean, it takes dedication to bum a ride from the San Lorenzo Valley to catch a wave in Santa Cruz.
But that’s exactly what members of the Santa Cruz Mountains Surf Team do — many of them almost every day.
“We just love surfing so much,” said April Martin-Hansen, a freshman and one of the members of SLV’s surf club. “It’s been really fun. It’s a group bonding experience, and we get along well together.”
The high school club is a segment of the SC Mountains Surf Team.
The team, coached by Jeremy Bright, is made up of seven Scotts Valley High students, three St. Francis High students and the 21 students in SLV’s club. They compete against five other schools in the Santa Cruz Scholastic Surf League in a season that lasts through April.
The first competition of the season was Oct. 27 in Half Moon Bay, and the team drew Santa Cruz High as an opponent, likely the toughest team in the league. Scotts Valley High’s Evan Milnes was the lone member to advance through his heat, taking fourth place in co-ed body boarding.
“It was good for us to start off against the hardest team,” Martin-Hansen said.
There are three divisions in competition — long board, short board and body board.
SLV’s surfing club, now in its second year, has generated new excitement at the school.
Andy Norton, a graduate student at University of California, Santa Cruz, volunteers as coach of the club.
“We try to go surf as often as we can,” Norton said. “We practice technique, and I talk to the kids.”
Norton said the skill level in the club varies, but he has goals for the team.
“One of our first goals is to start at the very beginning,” Norton said. “We build a solid foundation and go from there.”
Norton assigns homework to the team members, including assignments on how swells propagate and how to understand tides. He also records video of the students as they surf, and they watch it and critique each other.
Mateo Rocamora, a sophomore, has enjoyed being part of the club as a way to get into the water more often than he would on his own.
“We get to all surf together and have a lot of fun,” he said. “Watching everyone else has been helpful.”
The team’s next competition is scheduled for Dec. 2 at The Hook in Santa Cruz.
For information about the SLV High surf club and its weekly practices, search for SLVHS Surf Team on Facebook.
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