California in their sights

By Derek Westfield |

The Surf Team’s season is underway and they look to take advantage of the talent that’s at Flagler College. For the first time in recent history, Flagler has used a tryout, instead of a team assembled by the surfers themselves.

“With all the talent we have here at Flagler, it’s hard to decide on a lineup that everyone agrees on, so it only seemed fair to have a tryout,” junior Phil Mansfield said.

The team is made up of an “A” and “B” squad, a female surfer and a longboarder. They compete in the National Scholastic Surfing Association, which is the largest, most competitive organization of its type in the nation.

Flagler College surfs in the Southeast/North Division against the University of North Florida, University of Central Florida, Florida Atlantic University, and Daytona Beach Community College.

The first contest of the season was held Sept. 23 at Bethune Beach, in New Smyrna. Conditions were lacking, but the team took first overall with Ben McLeod, Adam Muller and Eric Taylor taking first, second and third, respectively. Six contests remain and will take place monthly, culminating in March with the East Coast Championships held at Sebastian Inlet.

Competing in these contests, however, costs money. Two years ago the Flagler College Surf Team qualified for nationals held in Southern California, but only three members of the squad could make it there due to financial and scheduling problems.

“After making it that far and to not be able to get out there, it was definitely a bummer,” team member Bill Stanley said. “This year is going to be different, because we went out on our own and got sponsors and money, and now everyone is behind us.”

This year’s contest entry fees, traveling costs and other financial needs will be alleviated thanks to local businesses such as The Surf Station and The Pit Surf Shop, as well as other companies.

Andrew Gregorie, a senior and veteran member of the team, is positive about this year’s outlook: “I think everyone is just much more focused,” Gregorie said. “Everyone wants to stay in those top 12 spots and that will help to keep the team determined. Nationals must be our team focus.”

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