Surfing: The personal and scientific side to a thrilling sport

Simone Wolberg

“Surfing saved my life”: The story of Ian Glover

“Nothing else mattered.  The wind blowing, the waves crashing—you didn’t have to hear anything.  It was just really calming. It felt like home.  I don’t think I would have gotten through without it.

Today, Ian Glover, a 1996 Redwood alumnus, teaches kids how to surf at the Big Dog Surf Camp, teaches private lessons, and judges at the Rodeo Beach Cron Rocks surf contest.

But before being introduced to surfing late in his sophomore year, Glover had been through rehab earlier that year for his marijuana use and was dealing with depression due to the death of his mother.

Although Glover was able to abandon his marijuana use in rehab, he did not feel completely good about himself.  His cure became surfing.

“At first, I was scared to go in a pool at night,” Glover said. “I was fed up—nothing else was working.  I got into smoking weed and that didn’t feel good.  I was just kind of at the end of the road.  When I finally got clean from that stuff, I was able to go surfing with my buddies.”

Glover surfed before school and after school at Rodeo Beach, sometimes arriving late to his classes.  According to Mitch Cohen, science teacher, Glover would arrive late to his classroom wet, specked with sand, and barefooted.

By the end of junior year, Glover quit varsity water polo and fully committed to surfing.

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“[My friends] and I were coming out [to surf] after school and sometimes before school and they looked like they had it together,” Glover said.

When Glover was first starting out, he would observe other surfers.  “Everyone you see surfing is kind of teaching you.  You just sit back and watch,” Glover said. “You see guys like Nate, who owns the [Proof Lab] surf shop ripping ever since I started surfing.  I would watch him just tear apart waves.”

Throughout his over 16 years of surfing and observing, Glover has discovered his favorite moves.

“I like going fast and getting up out of the wave and acting like I am a lot younger and lighter than I really am.  It’s fun to get barrels too.  To pull inside a tube of water—it just feels like you are cheating everything natural on earth…to get inside a tube of water and look out [while] everything gets all weird and quiet is like nothing else in the world.  If I could do that every day, I would be a happy man.”

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Although Glover had a difficult time during high school, he was able to move on through his adulthood.

“My dad understood. He said, ‘Do whatever you want,’ so I moved down to Santa Barbara [after graduating Redwood] with my brother and worked at a bank full time to pay my bills. I realized it wasn’t any better.  I couldn’t ditch work.  School was better.  I worked for a few years then moved back up here.  I went to school, waited tables at night, and surfed all day.”

Glover is grateful for his job.  “It’s a dream come true.  I love every day.  [Each] day teaching kids is a good day,” Glover said, “Days off I get to surf myself—that’s a good day too. I am so thankful.”

“Surfing is freedom: The story of Jake Racich 

With the winter surfing season in play, many people are heading out to the cold, grey beaches in hopes of catching the big winter waves. Despite the weather, Redwood student Jake Racich can be found, rain or shine, waist deep in salty water, surf board by his side.

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Surfing has become one of Racich’s passions.  Inspired by his father, he started learning at the age of four, becoming more serious in his pre-teen years. After mastering the basics of surfing, he was not enthusiastic about it, but one particular afternoon at Stinson Beach changed all that.

Riding one wave inspired Racich to surf more often, exciting him in new ways.

“It was a bigger wave then I was used too, those are the most thrilling and exciting. It was unbelievable. Other surfers were  hollering and giving me praise as I cruised on it. Before that one wave I was never really into surfing as I am today, but after that one wave, it became my favorite thing in the world.” Racich said.

“My dad was the one who pushed me into small waves and taught me how to stand up. It took him some motivation to get me to come out here.  Once I started doing it [surfing] and getting better waves, it was worth it and I started having fun,” Racich said.

 According to Racich a certain level of self-teaching is necessary to master the secrets of the waves.

“It’s all about practice. After you get up and fall multiple times you start to learn how to stand on the board and where you want to catch the wave,” He said.

Despite popular beliefs, winter is the best season to surf. In the summer, there are little to no storms, but in the winter the many storms cause more sand deposits, creating bigger waves.

Racich said he often rides the waves with his water polo teammates Grayson Noyes and Sean Tippett.

“The whole experience is great. Even if you’re not a good surfer, it is still fun to go out, screw around with your friends in the water and get food after,” Racich said.