“They have a lot more experience [and] they’re a lot older of a team since that most of their kids starting surfing when they were four or five years old, our kids mostly start when they’re 12 or 13 and most don’t start until they come to me in high school,” surf coach Lisa Battig said.
Despite the Oilers’ strong background and extensive experience in the sport, four Baron surfers placed in the top three positions for certain competing categories or heats.
Junior Eddie Watkins placed third in men’s shortboard and second in the men’s longboard heat, achieving high scores for his crucial positioning and skillful maneuvers, like hanging 10, where the toes of his feet went over the nose of the board.
“I feel really good. I’m stoked, just super psyched,” Watkins said.
Junior Mateo Arellano and sophomore Noah Baldree also placed, earning second and third place in men’s shortboard in the fifth and seventh heat, respectively.
“I got two fives. It’s a pretty big accomplishment because not too long ago, we weren’t scoring any points against Huntington and we’re finally able to compete against them because we’re progressing so much,” Arellano said.
The 15-minute heats varied with changing ocean conditions. Some waves came through, while others had long lulls between sets and no waves at all.
“With surfing, you can’t control what the ocean does, which is what makes adaptability and being able to read waves critical skills out in the water,” co-captain and senior Isabella Day-Galiteva said.
The two schools competed at tower nine in Huntington Beach between Magnolia and Newland St. on Pacific Coast Highway.
“When you’re at a complete beach break like we are, the waves tend to be more erratic where they come,” surf coach Lisa Battig said. “Surfing is so tough because no wave is ever the same…[and] in a two-hour session, you might be surfing on your feet for two to three minutes.”
The team reviews their surf film and reflects on their performance to prepare for future competitions in addition to team practice yoga, surf-skate sessions and strength and mobility training during their seasons.
“[Surf is] a lot to work on, it’s a pretty dynamic sport. [There] are things we can grow in both in our competition and in our skills, but I’m encouraged and impressed by our team,” Battig said.
With increasing members, particularly more girls joining the male-dominated sport, to placing against Huntington Beach, the FVHS surf team has experienced a tremendous overall improvement throughout this season and has high hopes for the following.
“I’m so proud of our team and I love the fact that we work hard to be an incredibly open team to everyone. We don’t officially do a try-out. We try to make sure that everyone can compete…We do focus on having our top [surfers] compete [each week] but we try to cycle in anyone who’s interested [in competing] so they at least have the opportunity to and can feel it without pressure,” Battig said. “I love the fact that it’s growing here on campus and I would love to see it grow more.”