By Matthew Pagels | firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo by Matthew Pagels
Each semester the Flagler College Surf Team competes once a month for four months, adding up to a total of eight preliminary contests per year. For every victory or placement, the team earns points. These points are gained to qualify for the East Coast Championship, which takes place early in April.
The club’s goal is to achieve third place or better, which advances them to the NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) college title. Once completed, the surf team takes a trip out west to California in the summer for a week to compete for the national title.
Thomas Casse, 21, has been a part of the surf team since day one. Sophomore year, he took over as club president.
“Each member trains year-round on separate terms in order to raise their surfing level, which enables us to compete against the best,” Casse said. “The goal is to surf well in each contest, eventually leading to enough points to head to California for Nationals every summer.”
Dylan Harrington, now a junior at Flagler, joined the surf team as a freshman.
“We usually get second or third every contest,” Harrington said. “The team should be able to claim number one this year. We are looking pretty good.”
Less than halfway through, things are looking up for the surf team. Credit is given to the team members, especially Casse.
“Tom brings a lot to the team,” Harrington said. “He makes sure we have our funds for every contest, enabling us to surf and eventually helping us get to California every summer.”
The team holds fundraisers during the semester in order to save money for a trip to California.
“The school does not pay for any of this,” Casse said. “We do fundraising in order to pay for the entry and hotels. Surf team members pay for their plane tickets separately.”
The team was started in the late 1980’s with a group of students who wanted surfing to be part of Flagler’s athletic program. The team was allowed a club status, but funding was not provided to help pay for its expenses.
“Thanks to the Surf Station, our sponsor, we can afford to send the A-Team to each contest,” Casse said.
The A-Team consists of a group of five men, two women and one long boarder, who can be a man or woman. Competitions take place in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. The team competes against a variety of different schools including UNF, UCF, FIT, BCC and UNCW.
“Flagler has the potential to be the best surf team in the country,” Casse said. “We draw some of the best surfers from all over the east coast and with proper backing, the team will prosper.”