UCSB’s club surf team hit the waves again over Winter Break, and, after a strong showing, hopes victories will come the next breakpoint.
The Gauchos traveled south to San Diego for their second competition of the season on Dec. 22. While most students had sugarplum fairies dancing in our heads, Santa Barbara’s surfers were concentrating on the waves while they prepared to battle 24 teams off the shores of Blacks Beach.
Santa Barbara entered two teams into the competition. The ‘A’ team, otherwise known as the Victor Team, rode their way to a third-place finish, while the ‘B’ team, or Vector team, surged into sixth place.
Individually, the Gauchos served as a threat to opposing teams as well. Short boarders Bart Templeman and Nicole DeLeon, both riding for the Victor team, managed to catch and conquer the waves necessary to secure second in their respective events.
Adding to UCSB’s success were two surfers from the Vector Team. Short boarder Mike Bilgren made it to the semi-finals, and Katie Anthony claimed fifth individually in the Women’s Division. Long boarder Matt Rickard placed third for the Vector team and said, “Skill-wise, our team is the best. We just need to bring it together as a team, be more serious, and there is no doubt that we can win state, even nationals.”
The team’s first event was held in October at C Street in Ventura. The Victor team swept the competition and clinched the first place title. Individually for the Gauchos, Nic Galati finished third, while Templeman, following closely behind, took fourth in the finals.
When asked how the team prepares for their events, Templeman said, “We pretty much practice individually, however we meet the morning of our events and mentally prepare one another. We free surf and push each other.”
The Gauchos’ next chance to prove themselves against Mother Nature will be on Feb. 18. They will head to Seaside Reef in Cardiff, Calif.
“We are going to do much better in Cardiff,” captain Andy Miller said. “We had about six solid guys that were absent from our last event due to Christmas Break.We’ll have our full team this time.”