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Redwood Bark

Surfing provides outlet for community of students

Senior Cale Smith drops in to a wave, while surfing at  Fort Cronkhite.
Senior Cale Smith drops in to a wave, while surfing at Fort Cronkhite.

The alarm clock buzzes at 5 a.m., rattling the bedside nightstand and forcing you to slowly drag yourself out of bed. You eat a quick breakfast and rush out the door. Barely awake and running on the adrenaline of six hours of sleep, you pile the wetsuit and board into the car and set off toward the nearest beach, Fort Cronkhite.

This is not an uncommon routine for several Redwood students who have a passion for surfing. For these few who commit themselves to the beach five, six, or even 10 times in a single week, surfing provides an outlet for stress not present elsewhere in their lives.

“It’s almost like another form of meditation,” said senior Cale Smith. “It is a really great feeling when you’re out there. It’s the one time I can just sit and give myself time to think.”

For some students who surf, it has proven difficult to find the time to go out to the beach. More often than not, they have to go out before the first school bell.

“It’s hard to find time to go out because the closest beach, Cronkhite, is 45 minutes away,” Smith said.

Smith glides on top of the water.
Smith glides on top of the water.

Thus, students have had to make their own time by forfeiting hours of precious sleep. Smith said that the first time he went out before school was one of his favorite memories surfing.

“When we got there it was pitch black and the waves were just fantastic.” Cale said. “The image when the sun rose and it just lit up the spray coming off of the waves looked like it was something out of a movie.”

Smith said that he goes on “dawn patrol,” a slang term for surfing early in the morning, anywhere from one to three times in a week.

Junior Jacqueline Racich also heads out surfing in the morning, and finds it relaxing, despite the loss of sleep.

“I don’t mind getting up and sacrificing some sleep in order to go out and get some time surfing,” Racich said. “I believe that, for me at least, surfing early in the morning is a time when I can really clear my head.”

Junior Jacqueline Racich rides on a wake surf board in Tahoe.
Junior Jacqueline Racich rides on a wake surf board in Tahoe.

 Surfing may provide an outlet for these students, but it is not without peril.

“You have to realize and respect the fact that the ocean is a very powerful thing, and take that heavily into consideration while out there,” Racich said.

This past April, Smith suffered a concussion while surfing, knocking him out of commission for several weeks.

“I got my concussion when I stumbled going into a wave and my board hit me in the head. I woke up underneath the water and slowly had to make my way to the surface,” Cale said.

Junior Francesco Cico also endured an injury while surfing when the fin of the board penetrated his wet suit and sliced open his chest.

“Surfing is just like any other sport in that there is a high risk of getting injured, but the thrill of getting a wave makes it all worth it,” Cico said.

Senior Dea Edington flies off his board.
Senior Dea Edington flies off his board.
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Annie Forsman, Author