How to Surf Your Way Through College

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College. For some it's a gateway to the future, for others it's a four-letter word that means more schooling, more studying and even more time out of the water. But it's not like that, especially if you attend a college with a surf program.

By Tad McCardell

Beach bums … lazy and unmotivated are just a few of the words that people use to describe surfers and the surfing community. It's strange, however, for those of us within the surf community who see doctors, entrepreneurs and students when we look around our local lineup. As a surfer in college, it's safe to say the majority of surfers do not fit into the stereotypical, "lazy surfer" mold.

Although it may seem tempting for most surfers to drop off the grid in search of perfect waves, many do go to college. This is not a coincidence. Universities like UCSB, UCSD, UCI and UCSC are all in close proximity to world famous breaks including Rincon, Blacks and Steamer Lane, making college that much more enticing. The amount of surfers on coastal campuses becomes apparent when you see the hundreds of surfboard racks on students’ bikes, and wetsuits hanging out of their dorm room windows. Suffice to say, it's easy to split studying with surfing when you attend one of these coastal colleges.

In addition to the ability to surf, many schools have thriving surf clubs that are a social “home” for surfers. These clubs offer friends, social functions and even connections to the surfing industry. Joining the 'surf club' is a great way to get involved and can be a hot spot on campus for fun. In short, surfers at the college level are by no means alone.

A common myth among groms is the loss of a surfing future if you attend college. However, competition and exposure still exists at a university level, and it isn’t a low level. There is a college division in the NSSA, strictly for university surf teams. Surf teams are offered by many schools to those inclined to continue their competitive career and, although surprising to some, if you were to look at the team rosters, you'd see names of NSSA standouts and top junior pros. Many aspiring professionals complete in college before taking the initiative to start the WQS, which, in the long run, may help them get a job with the surf companies they ride for. To add to the perks of being surfer in college, surf companies love to utilize the university demographic. Brands like Red Bull have marketing positions exclusively for college students in which you can work directly with their athletes and marketing department. It's a great way to get your foot in the door for future jobs, or even sponsors while still pursuing your other interests.

With all of the bonuses of attending university: surfing worldclass waves, working within the surfing industry and making great friends along the way, it's easy to see why so many surfers decide to attend college. And because of this, the stereotype of surfers is quickly straying away from lazy.

Image: The Author, Tad McCardell, cracks one close to home. Tad is a third year psychobiology major at UCLA and is captain of the Surf Team. While attending school and pursuing his surfing career, Tad works two jobs; one as a Brand Manager for Red Bull and the other as a UCLA Tour Guide. Needless to say he's got a bright future regardless!! Photo: Garrett Moon


Posted by: Ghetto JuiceGhetto Juice at: 12 Nov 2014 21:02




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College. For some it's a gateway to the future, for others it's a four-letter word that means more schooling, more studying and even more time out of the water. But it's not like that, especially if you attend a college with a surf program.

By Tad McCardell

Beach bums … lazy and unmotivated are just a few of the words that people use to describe surfers and the surfing community. It's strange, however, for those of us within the surf community who see doctors, entrepreneurs and students when we look around our local lineup. As a surfer in college, it's safe to say the majority of surfers do not fit into the stereotypical, "lazy surfer" mold.

Although it may seem tempting for most surfers to drop off the grid in search of perfect waves, many do go to college. This is not a coincidence. Universities like UCSB, UCSD, UCI and UCSC are all in close proximity to world famous breaks including Rincon, Blacks and Steamer Lane, making college that much more enticing. The amount of surfers on coastal campuses becomes apparent when you see the hundreds of surfboard racks on students’ bikes, and wetsuits hanging out of their dorm room windows. Suffice to say, it's easy to split studying with surfing when you attend one of these coastal colleges.

In addition to the ability to surf, many schools have thriving surf clubs that are a social “home” for surfers. These clubs offer friends, social functions and even connections to the surfing industry. Joining the 'surf club' is a great way to get involved and can be a hot spot on campus for fun. In short, surfers at the college level are by no means alone.

A common myth among groms is the loss of a surfing future if you attend college. However, competition and exposure still exists at a university level, and it isn’t a low level. There is a college division in the NSSA, strictly for university surf teams. Surf teams are offered by many schools to those inclined to continue their competitive career and, although surprising to some, if you were to look at the team rosters, you'd see names of NSSA standouts and top junior pros. Many aspiring professionals complete in college before taking the initiative to start the WQS, which, in the long run, may help them get a job with the surf companies they ride for. To add to the perks of being surfer in college, surf companies love to utilize the university demographic. Brands like Red Bull have marketing positions exclusively for college students in which you can work directly with their athletes and marketing department. It's a great way to get your foot in the door for future jobs, or even sponsors while still pursuing your other interests.

With all of the bonuses of attending university: surfing worldclass waves, working within the surfing industry and making great friends along the way, it's easy to see why so many surfers decide to attend college. And because of this, the stereotype of surfers is quickly straying away from lazy.

Image: The Author, Tad McCardell, cracks one close to home. Tad is a third year psychobiology major at UCLA and is captain of the Surf Team. While attending school and pursuing his surfing career, Tad works two jobs; one as a Brand Manager for Red Bull and the other as a UCLA Tour Guide. Needless to say he's got a bright future regardless!! Photo: Garrett Moon

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