Starting the 2005-2006 school year off on the left foot, the Santa Barbara surf team picked up right where it left off last June, to take first place in the C-Street competition held Oct. 30 after winning the 2005 National College Championship.
Three surfers represented Santa Barbara in the C-Street competition finals, held on California Street in Ventura, where competitors saw small, one-to-three foot waves.
Senior co-captain and short-boarder Kyle Albers said that despite losing significant members from last season’s A-team, Santa Barbara retained its high level of competition.
“We pretty much dominated the competition,” Albers said. “I attribute it to the hard training program that I put the team on.”
Sophomore Brad Margol placed a team-high third in the men’s shortboard division. Senior Joe Alani and Santa Barbara City College student Ted Travers followed, placing fourth and fifth, respectively, in the men’s shortboard division. Brenden Castile placed in the longboard division and junior Bianca Valenti finished fifth in the women’s division.
“[Brad Margol] is throwing down a lot of 360s and reverses, which are big point-scorers,” Albers said. “I think some people were anxious to see if we’re going to repeat [our National Championship] this year. We pretty much showed them that last year was not a fluke.”
Santa Barbara picked up its 10th National Championship win last June at Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point, Calif. setting the record for the most National Championships won by any college surfing team.
“Although no one [from Santa Barbara] won the actual final, the team did better than everyone as individuals,” Alani said. “I think everyone was really happy and excited.”
Santa Barbara got through the semi-finals in three-foot waves before sending four surfers to the finals.
“That was the clinching point for us,” Alani said. “We knew that as long as we placed well individually, the team would do well.”
In addition to Alani, senior shortboarder and co-captain Charles McMahon, Castile and Valenti all competed in the final heat. Santa Barbara had the highest number of representatives in the men’s shortboard division than any other team.
“It was really good,” Alani said. “I was stoked because it was my first year on the team and Nationals is a good contest.”
Santa Barbara competes in four regular season contests and a semifinal before going to Nationals. Last year, the team finished third at Nationals.
“We basically surf against the same people every time,” Alani said. “You can tell which guys are a little bit better than the others but the thing about surfing is that a lot of it comes down to luck. Whoever gets the best waves is going to win.”