CARMEL VALLEY — The Canyon Crest Academy boys surf club took first place in short board in Division 2 of the Scholastic Surf Series High School State Championships.
Teams from 40 schools from San Diego to Santa Cruz participated in the three-day event at San Onofre State Beach that began May 16.
The win was quite a feat for a team that finished last season 0-5. Making it even more impressive is the fact that half of the six-member squad was competing at the high school level for the first time.
“We got a lot out of our freshmen, who had limited experience,” coach Jesse Sinclair said. “That we won with three freshmen is pretty powerful.”
Sinclair, in his second year as coach, also credits the success to “a lot of hard work and a lot of involvement.”
“I gave them clear instructions and a game plan and they executed it perfectly,” he said. “I told them to be conservative and focus on wave selection.”
A late season winter storm provided a big south swell on Saturday, with some challenging surf in the 5- to 7-foot range. For the short board competition the following day things improved, resulting in 3- to 4-foot clean and glassy conditions.
Sinclair, a San Diego native who now lives in Del Mar, said short board is the most coveted and competitive competition in the tournament.
This year teams from nine schools participated, including Carlsbad High, which came in third, and district rivals San Dieguito Academy and Torrey Pines, two of four teams that ended in a fifth-place tie.
Jason King, the team captain and a senior at Canyon Crest, said the win is also gratifying because oftentimes the team lacked surfers.
“As a team we usually had a limited number of surfers,” he said. “This was a bigger deal because of that. It was refreshing to come back with enough people and a lot of talent.”
Jason said the camaraderie between his teammates also contributed to the first-place finish.
“It’s huge that the short boarders all get along really well,” he said. “We communicated, which is vital in team competition. And we all enjoy surfing as a sport and a hobby. So it wasn’t hard to commit to practice.”
He said Sinclair is a great coach whose experience in competitive surfing has helped the team.
“There’s a lot he can apply to each and every aspect of the sport,” he said. “We really appreciate him organizing team events. He’s a coach and a guide.”
Canyon Crest, in a new division this year, finished the regular season 4-1.
“We came through,” Jason said. “We hope next year will be the same.”