Three generations of Surf Club presidents look to revamp team

By Henry Kittle

You won’t find them meeting in a classroom during dead hours or holding events on campus, but the USD Surf Club has brought surfers together for over a decade. Whether it’s getting together for a mellow barbeque or riding the wonky waves of Mission Beach, the club’s 25 active members love to get together and share their passion for surfing. Within the Surf Club is the competition team, which is made of the top nine surfers including six men’s shortboarders, two women’s shortboarders and one longboarder.

Every year there are four qualifying contests followed by States’ and Nationals’ in the National Scholastic Surfing Association collegiate division. In 2012, the team managed to place 12th at Nationals. An impressive finish, but many club members are confident the team can do better.

Last week, the USD Surf Club elected a new resident for the upcoming year, Forrest Dein, a junior from Hawaii.

The current president, senior Luke O’Connor from New York, felt good about the decision.

“I’m excited to pass the team on to Forrest,” O’Connor said. “He’s got a bunch of good ideas and I know he has the drive to see them through.”

Luke’s predecessor, senior Alex Thompson-Mendez from California was optimistic as well, “We think this year could be the best the surf team has ever had. Can’t wait to see what we can do,” Thompson-Mendez said.

As president, Dein is focused on two things: winning contests and having a bigger presence on campus.

“We’re going to be on the lookout for fresh talent coming from transfer students and the incoming freshmen class. For the guys [men’s shortboarders] already on the team, the potential is there; we just need to execute when we advance into the later rounds [of the contests],” Dein said. “If we develop our men’s shortboarders, then USD will have the best college surf team.” Dein added.

Considering how the team has performed in the longboarding and women’s division this year, Dein’s ambition is supported by the skill of the club’s members. Junior Zach Hines is the No. 1 ranked surfer in the longboarding division and sophomore Keenan Lineback is the No. 1 ranked surfer in the women’s division. Heading into the state finals on March 8 in Huntington Beach, Calif., these two wave riders seem all but unstoppable and are likely to score big points for the team.

In the past, the surf team has struggled to balance social activities and competitive surfing. “Contests are a priority but we also want to establish our club on campus and get more students involved” Dein said. “Winning contests helps us gain recognition from the student body but so does reaching out and bringing people together with fun events.”

Dein plans on working with club members to host more events such as contests with SDSU and UCSD, inner club mock contests on Mission Beach and more “classic” BBQ’s.

There has also been discussion among the USD surf community about starting an annual “Surf Day” where all students, regardless of skill level, would be welcome to join the Surf Club on Mission Beach.
In May, the USD Surf Club will be co-hosting the “San Diego Surf Cup” with the USD Club Volleyball team.

Surfers from USD, UCSD, SDSU and Point Loma Nazarene University will be competing for prizes. Free giveaways will also be on site for fans and spectators. Ideas for such an event has been brewing for years and a large turnout is expected.

“Every school in San Diego has great surfers who love to compete. We’re psyched to get them all in the water at once and show them what we can do on our home turf,” said USD Surf Team Captain and senior Anthony Mau from Hawaii.