The UCSB surf team roared with the surf at Salt Creek, Dana Point, this past weekend against 23 other squads all across California, surging to a victory in Event #4 in the Southwest Collegiate Championships. Santa Barbara narrowly edged out rival Mira Costa, 134-120, on March 4, to be crowned 2001 Southwest Collegiate Champions.
UCSB Victor, one of three surf teams at Santa Barbara, has given itself an added boost for the upcoming State Championships in two weeks. The tight-nit club, which is deep enough to also include UCSB Vector and UCSB Gauchos, is enjoying riding out the success of the season.
“We’re just a fun team,” senior men’s shortboarder Sean O’Toole said. “We like to have a good time, and the cool thing about this season’s [events] are that they’re a real close race – it was pretty much a tie for first. We just beat everyone out.”
Battling in a tight race with Mira Costa and Long Beach State, which won the first event of the day, enabled UCSB Victor to save its best moves on the 2- to 3-foot swells for last. Senior longboarder Tanner Beckett, who won every event for Victor Team, and men’s shortboarder Mike Bilgren came through in the end to pull out a huge victory for Santa Barbara.
“It’s been a close [race with Mira Costa and LBSU],” said senior men’s shortboarder Terrance Allman, who is also the team’s social chair involved in all surf team-related festivities. “It comes down to 14 points out of around 200, and it gives us momentum. This victory makes us stronger for State Championships and Nationals. We weren’t expected to win. Mira Costa won last year. We kind of came from underneath; it was a really good showing for us. I’m really stoked about it.”
Junior shortboarder Andy Miller credited Bilgren’s huge performance at the end of the event to be a clutch performance that lifted the team’s spirits heading into the State Championships the weekend of March 24.
“[The win] was all because of Mike Bilgren and Tanner,” Miller said. “These point totals help the season totals. … [Bilgren] just came in and won the entire event. He did really well. He came through for the whole team.”
LBSU came in third place with 113 points, University of San Diego ‘Blue’ finished fourth with 99 points, UC San Diego ‘A’ came in fifth with 69 points, and UCSB Vector rolled to a sixth-place finish with 67 points. UCSB, the third tier of teams, finished a respectable 13th out of 23 teams in the Southwest Championship.
Each of the three teams contains six men shortboarders, one longboard surfer, one female surfer and one bodyboarder. During the championships this past weekend, the athletes competed in heats with the other schools. To get the most points, each surfer was judged on how big the wave was and also on how many tricks and moves the surfer could pull off on the wave as smoothly as possible.
After State Championships, the surf team will put forth a fundraiser surf contest for Spring Quarter, involving students called the Stu-Peak Beaterboard Classic where students will ride “old surf boards for a fun surf contest,” according to O’Toole.
“We’re all really amped about going into State Championships,” O’Toole said. “Last year we finished second in Nationals. … This year, I’m pretty sure we’ll do well in Nationals.”