Flagler surf team clinches podium spot at East Coast Championships

Flagler surfer in red, Alec Zappone, and in white, Jack Rowan, head out to compete in their heat.

By Jessica Rowan | gargoyle@flagler.edu

NSSA Regional Championship at New Smyrna Beach Inlet.

The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA), held the 2017 East Coast Championships this past weekend in New Smyrna Beach Inlet.

NSSA is an association that hosts surf contests all over the country catering to surfers of all age divisions. Surfers are judged in a six-man heat competing against others from various colleges. Each surfer is scored based on their top two waves and judged based on style, length of ride and maneuvers.

College surf teams from up and down the East Coast battled each other in the ideal three to four foot surf to see which team would come out on top with the East Coast Champion title.

Flagler surfer in red, Alec Zappone, and in white, Jack Rowan, head out to compete in their heat.

Florida colleges and universities compete in the Southeast/North conference of NSSA during regular contest season. This past weekend, all eastern schools came together to compete for the prestigious East Coast Championship title.

While the Flagler College Surf Team might be small in numbers— with only five men and one woman competing this past weekend— they still manage to perform well.

Alec Zappone, Alex Brooks, Hunter Manning, Parker Sawyer and Jack Rowan have continued to perform well over the course of the surf team season with at least one Flagler surfer placing in every contest final.

Flagler’s team competed in New Smyrna Beach against other larger teams which include: UNF, UCF, UF, Daytona State, Florida Institute of Technology and even UNC Wilmington in North Carolina.

Despite competing against much larger schools, Flagler managed to come in third overall. The team dominated for having so few surfers competing and currently ranked the third best college surf team in all of the Southeast/North Conference.

Surfers getting ready at for the college mens shortboard heat.

Freshman Parker Sawyer from Virginia Beach competed in both longboard and shortboard divisions—picking up the second place title in longboard and fifth in short.

Senior captain Alec Zappone continues to dominate while working hard to promote awareness of the teams existence and exceptional skill set. The last time the team qualified and was financially able to compete in NSSA Nationals was when Zappone was a freshman— and this year Flagler again solidified another spot at the national competition.

“It would be great to compete one last time in Nationals as a senior,” Zappone said.

Flagler Surf Team members.

The NSSA National Interscholastic Surf Championship contest will be held June 17-19 at Salt Creek in Dana Point, California.

The Flagler Surf Team continues to come out on top, contest after contest, with continuous trophy winnings despite the teams lack of official school funding.

The team’s main sponsor, Surf Station, contributes toward entry fees provides discounts on gear. But, the students must pay their own NSSA membership fees and other expenses out of their own shallow student pockets.

Jack Rowan and Parker Sawyer with trophy winnings from Regional Championships.

Now that Flagler Surf Team has qualified and shown their strength and skills against large universities, they are doing all they can to represent their school— and hope to compete amongst the best college surf teams in America this June. Flagler’s toughest competition could include teams from California, Hawaii, and North Carolina.

Alec Zappone and Parker Sawyer with their winnings. Picture courtesy of @flaglercollegesurf Instagram.

If you want to know more about the team or interested in helping them compete in California check out the Flagler Surf Team’s Instagram—@flaglercollegesurf or contact captain, Alec Zappone, at azappone753@flagler.edu .

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