LMU’s real estate near the pacific is ideal for one sport in particular — surfing. The University’s Surf Club is a perfect example of surfing culture in California. The sport has found a growing niche on campus, and the club is growing at an impressive rate. Sophomore marketing major Kalea Vandeventer touched on what drew her to both the club and the sport itself.
“I was drawn to Surf Club at LMU because beyond the physical act of surfing, I love the surf world. I love the energy, the passion, the art and everything that surrounds it. I joined Surf Club at LMU in hopes of finding a community of people that felt the same way I did so I could keep surfing down here at school,” she said.
Surf Club will soon be celebrating its 15th anniversary. The club is currently led by President Andrew Denton, a sophomore accounting major from New Jersey. Denton began surfing when he was 13 years old after being introduced to the sport through a neighbor. Coming from New Jersey, Denton has a unique background in surfing. To make it to where he is today, he ventured through cold Jersey waters and even surfed during blizzards.
“I learned from my neighbor when I was 13, so I’d be coming up on my sixth year of surfing now. Junior year [of high school] I was like, ‘you know what? I’m really going to dedicate myself to this, I really love it.’ Every day after school no matter what, I went out surfing. It included a lot of blizzards and a lot of cold times.”
According to Denton, the club currently has 102 paying members. Outside of the club’s executive board and around 20 returners, the rest of the club is entirely comprised of new members. The organization’s first formal meeting of the year took place in Seaver lecture hall.
Going beyond casual surf sessions, the club also hopes to compete regularly soon. Southern California is ripe with potential opponents, such as USC and Pepperdine. Denton has hopes of some intercollegiate competition coming to fruition.
“We’re starting a competitive team this year. It’s going to be through the NSSA (the National Scholastic Surfing Association). We know a couple people over at the USC surf team, so I think it’d be fun to do a USC surf team versus LMU surf team [event], as well as a Pepperdine event because I know a couple kids over there.”
The club is close to officially adopting El Porto as its official beach, all they have to do is register one more beach cleanup and the stretch of sand will be the team’s official beach. El Porto is a short drive away from campus, located directly south of Dockweiler Beach. Denton commented on the accessibility of El Porto in its location and mix of surf.
“Usually we just try to go to El Porto. It’s convenient, it’s close. It offers everything. If you go out the back you can get a nice, clean wave. For learning stuff, it’s super easy to just stay on the inside and catch white water to practice popping up,” said Denton.
Prospective club members do not need to know how to surf. The org is open to any level of experience, even if one has never stepped on a board before. A large focus of Surf Club is teaching any and all newcomers how to hit the waves. Vandeventer touched upon this as well as surf culture’s general welcoming demeanor.
“No one should feel like they can’t join Surf Club just because they can’t surf — the majority of our members can’t. We’re here to have fun, make friends and maybe pick up a few new surf skills along the way.”