Riding waves to No. 1

Boys’ and girls’ surf teams from Newport Harbor High School take first place in state championships.

April 15, 2010|By Tom Ragan

Newport Harbor High School Surf team are champions.

The squad took first place in the state championships last weekend in Oceanside, earning a pair of trophies in the short board competition for both the girls and boys categories.

Scott Morlan, the team’s coach, said the short board competition was the high point of his career.

“I’ve been teaching here for 15 years,” he said. “This is a really big deal — for them both to win. We’ve never done this before. They wanted it more than anybody else did. My seniors led the parade and the younger guys and girls just followed behind. Everybody went out and did their job.


“My job was to just motivate them.”

And motivated they were. All 21 one of them — from freshmen to seniors. They all surfed fantastically against more than a dozen teams from up and down Southern California’s coast in what is called the Interscholastic Surfing Federation.

Kaleigh Gilchrist, a senior, was particularly phenomenal. She received a 10 by the judges in one of her performances.

“The team spirit and atmosphere on the beach was great and everyone was super stoked for each other,” said Gilchrist, adding that the winning girls’ team in the short board competition consisted of Shelby Detmers, Ali Hayes and herself.

“We surfed three heats and every heat I went first and Shelby went second,” she said. “We all surfed really well during the whole competition and took home the girls short board state champion.”

Next up, Gilchrist said, were the boys.

“We cheered them on to their own state title,” she said.

“The final was really close,” she added, “but they ended up coming through in the last heat and also won. It was awesome.”

For those who have never witnessed a surfing competition, Morlan said the judges look for maneuvers performed on the waves as well as how long surfers can ride the waves and whether they are difficult.

Creativity as well as being smooth are big factors among the judges, he said.

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