The USF Surf Club members will be teaching new surfers how to surf at Cocoa Beach next Saturday as they host their annual semester event, Surf School. The fun-filled day at the beach is also an education session that teaches students about the ocean as well as getting them out on surfboards and riding the waves of the east coast.
“The whole reason we do Surf School is not many people honestly know we even have a surf club,” said Austin Duty, a senior environmental science and policy major and president of the Surf Club. “We like to use Surf School as our main way of getting people out knowing that we do surf, take them to the east coast and show them what it is like to surf.”
Although Surf School is aimed at new surfers, the club is always welcoming to experienced surfers who want to join the team.
“We want the new people who haven’t surfed before; we want them to come out, teach them how to surf so they can slowly get into it,” Duty said. “Then of course we want experienced people to also come out to feel what it’s like to be out with the team and hopefully they’ll come back recurring and join in our competitions.”
Sophomore and civil engineering major Matt LeRette, treasurer of the Surf Club, says students who have never surfed before surprise themselves once they get out on the water at Surf School.
“One thing I’ve noticed is when I ask people if they want to come, they’re just like ‘oh I’ve never surfed before I’m going to be so bad’ and it’s like, you don’t know that,” LeRette said. “Lots of people out there, they end up having a great time and doing better than they think they would—that’s why I try to encourage people to just give it a try.”
Duty, now going in to his fourth year on the team, was just like those students who were new to surfing when he first joined the team, having grown up inland North Carolina.
“When I joined the club, I had no idea how to surf; I was from North Carolina, I had never surfed before,” Duty said. “So I came to Florida, the second I saw a surf club I immediately joined it so I could learn.”
The club has come a long way since then, now competing in Longboard and Shortboard divisions with a maximum of nine members every month at New Smyrna Beach.
“We’ve only had one competition this year so far and we did rather good (sic) in it,” Duty said. “[LeRette] placed third in the longboarding division and we had another person come in the very last semi-finals of the Shortboard competitions.”
The club hopes to keep this winning streak alive with other competitions coming up this semester and in the spring.
“One of our harder goals is right now we’re trying to get more people that serious into competing,” LeRette said. “We’re trying to get our competition team better and start placing more.”
When the Surf Club isn’t competing, its members do surfing-specific training, skate sessions and have movie nights to bring the team together.
“When we can’t do surfing stuff we just try and hang out with each other and have social events when we can,” LeRette said. “We want it to feel like a big family for everybody.”
Duty felt that very same sense of family when he first joined the club and now that he’s president, he wants to pass that on to other students at USF.
“It didn’t feel like a club, it felt more like a family and that’s something I wanted to be a part of right off the bat,” Duty said. “It was a great experience and I’ve had a blast doing it ever since.”
The Surf Club will be carpooling to Surf School, Cocoa Beach from the USF Campus Recreation Center on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 8 a.m. Its only $10 to rent a surfboard so come out for the day to learn how to surf!
For more info about the Surf club, join the Facebook group page here.
For more information about Sport Clubs at USF, visit our website.
By Huw Morgan-Baveystock, USF Sport Clubs Marketing Assistant