Students tempted to drop their books and grab their boards may soon find some middle ground this spring with the addition of UCSB’s latest course, History 103S: History of Surfing.
The course premiering this spring is the result of collaboration between UCSB’s history and environmental studies departments. Unlike Geog 20: Geography of Surfing, the new class focuses less on the sport’s scientific aspects and more on its history. Professors Peter Neushul and Peter Westwick will lead the course.
Westwick said he hopes that in conjunction with Neushul, the professors will succeed in broadening students’ views on the ways in which the surfing industry affects society.
“The class is not just for surfers, we’re hoping to attract any students who have an interest,” Westwick said. “The class is serious and will deal with important environmental issues. Hopefully the class will be accessible and fun.”
According to a press release, the course will cover such local issues as the coastal engineering that produced the Sandspit surf spot as well as the recent Goleta Beach erosion prevention proposal involving coastal armoring. The class will also discuss environmental pollution and coastal preservation issues and cases regarding beach access and privatization in locations such as the Hollister and Hope Ranches.
Westwick said he and Neushul hope to connect these local issues with similar issues affecting coastal communities worldwide.
The Associated Students Coastal Fund, a quarterly $3 per student lock-in fee formerly known as the Shoreline Preservation Fund, will fund the class. A.S. Coastal Fund Board member Cheryl Chen said the course is designed to help deliver the fund’s message in a stimulating environment.
“Surfing is a part of UCSB’s character and integrating coastal issues into the course gets students interested in getting involved in local issues and keeping the beach clean,” Chen said.
The class, which will admit 75 students, will include a research project focusing on the history of surf break along the California coast.
Fourth-year computer science and biology major Oliver Vining said he is looking forward to the new course.
“There’s nothing like it on campus and it is a fun way to learn about surfing,” Vining said.