As seconds fell from the timer of the opening heat the dream of bringing a surf team to SF State was finally realized.
Happy to be out of the classroom and into a wetsuit, surfers gathered Saturday at Ocean Beach for the first mock-competition held by SF State, dubbed the “Battle of the Bay”.
After months of paperwork, permits and liability concerns, the official sport of California is now ingrained into the university which sits just a mile off the bay. From proposal to acceptance, the process totaled eight months.
“We are surfers, we don’t like doing paperwork,” said club president and creator Dylan Linde. “The process was tedious at times, but that’s over now, we are official, it’s time to go surf.”
Head coach and fellow SF State surfer Kristian Kocherga was In charge of getting the event off the ground and finding opponents.
“Getting this off the ground was tough,” said Kocherga. But we were like let’s do it, why not, let’s leave a little legacy behind.”
The contest welcomed a total of 20 surfers: eight representing the home team, four from University of San Francisco and eight from UC Berkeley.
“The turn out was a lot better than expected,” said Kocherga.
The opening four rounds pitted five surfers against one another trying to place in the top three of the 20 minute heat in order to move on to the semi’s. When scoring a surfers output, judges focus on biggest wave, longest ride and most maneuvers achieved on the wave. Only the top two scores are recorded, making a 20 the highest possible score. As the opening rounds and semi’s came to a close, it was SF State who led the pack, sending four of six to the championship round.
“This is what college kids in NorCal need,” said SF State transfer student Nathan Duft. “The energy was great out here today and these types of events really bring people together.”
With some challenging conditions SF State showed consistent progressive turns and major maneuvers making them the clear cut winner in the team’s total category. Ryan McFadden claimed top billing for the entire competition, completing a clean sweep for the Gators.
“It was great to see our guys do so well out there today, to have four of us in the final round confirmed that we belong here and can make some noise later on the bigger stage,” said Linde.
Looking to build from a great first showing as a team the Gators will look to seek recognition from the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) and compete in their collegiate division come next semester in the Spring.
“The surf community is really tight at Ocean Beach,” said USF surf participant Jaden Hamid. “It’s awesome that this all finally came together.” USF is currently facing the same uphill battle the Gators faced and hopes to also be made an official surf club come Spring of 2020.