As the end of the season approaches for the UCSB surf team, the Gauchos have just one more contest on the schedule: the National Championships, set for June 14 to 17 at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, Calif.
“It’s been kind of up and down — kind of an inconsistent season, you could say,” senior Peter Kuriyama said. “But all-in-all we’re probably one of the top three or four teams.”
Santa Barbara has seen its share of success as well as struggles this year. The Gauchos began the year at Black’s Beach in San Diego on Oct. 22 and 23 and finished in ninth place overall. In the second contest at Seaside Reef in Cardiff-by-the-Sea on Nov. 13, UCSB improved to sixth place but could not carry the momentum to the third contest in Huntington Beach on Dec. 3 and 4 because of Fall Quarter finals.
“Unfortunately, a lot of the contests came at bad times for our team; we’ve had finals or midterms,” senior Parker McMullin said. “There were only a few contests that all of our team was at, and the contests we were all at we did pretty well.”
On Jan. 15 the Gauchos had the best outing of the year, capturing first place in Huntington Beach. Similar to earlier this season, when finals impacted the turnout in Huntington Beach, UCSB faced a similar situation at the State Championships. This time the Gauchos overcame a small turnout due to Winter Quarter finals and will head to Nationals after placing fourth as a team at State, which was held from March 9 to 11 in Huntington Beach.
The Gauchos will not do anything out of the ordinary and will prepare for Nationals as they would any other event.
“We just try to surf as much as possible,” Kuriyama said. “Comfort’s the biggest thing, getting in sessions before the contest so that the board feels good under your feet.”
Unfortunately, scheduling dilemmas continue. The dates for Nationals overlap with graduation for the Gaucho seniors, which will cause quite a few surfers to miss out on the National Championship event.
“I’m pretty bummed because I transferred here, so I didn’t get to surf it last year,” McMullin said. “I really wanted to go to Nationals but there is no way I could do it. I’m happy for graduation, don’t get me wrong, but it would be nice to surf for UCSB in Nationals.”
The loss of the seniors means many underclassmen will get an opportunity as alternates this year for Santa Barbara. With a focus on future seasons, it may mean an early look at what talents will lead the team next season.
“They’re just as good as some of the other guys,” McMullin said. “I have total faith in every guy that’s on the team; it should be good to hear about after I graduate.”