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Local high school students take home top surfing honors

ENCINITAS — The Swami’s Surfing Association gave its top surfing honors to two local high school students at the annual awards ceremony this past December.
Preston Crowell, 15, was awarded Male Surfer of the Year while Kelsey Daum, 17, was awarded Female Surfer of the Year. Preston and Kelsey accumulated the most contest points in the club for 2008. Both honorees won multiple first and second places in contests throughout California.
Preston, a sophomore, surfs for the Torrey Pines High School Surf Team where he was named Rookie of the Year for 2007-08. His mother, Dana Crowell, said he began surfing at age 8. “He started out at Pipes on a longboard,” she said. “He loves it. It’s a passion for him.”
Preston is the prototype longboarder according to his mother. “He has a classic old-school style,” she said. “His nose-riding abilities surpass those with many more years of experience. It’s very natural to him,” Crowell said.
Kelsey, a junior, surfs for San Dieguito Academy High School Surf Team. The Encinitas native began the family tradition of surfing at age 5 according to her mother Rhonda Daum. “They were raised at the beach surfing,” she said. “Kelsey has had a lot of wins this year; she’s been competing consistently for three years now.”
She has racked up an impressive year. In 2008, Kelsey came in third place in the Junior Women’s Division of the Roxy Cardiff Jam, first in the San Onofre Club Contest with Coalition wins including third place in Malibu, second in Oceanside and third in Swami’s.
Currently she ranks first in the Interscholastic Foundation-San Diego High School Women’s Longboarding division.
In addition to surfing, Kelsey stays active with other sports, including snowboarding, and artistic endeavors. “She is an artist, sketches and oil painting; she’s musically inclined including playing piano,” Daum said.
Swami’s Surfing Association is a member of the Coalition of Surfing Clubs, an international organization that represents the interests of surfing clubs throughout the world. The coalition represents more than 10,000 surfers of all ages and exists for the betterment of the citizenship of the surfer, to improve clean water locally and globally, and to promote the sport of surfing.
Two members must sponsor a surfer for admission to the club that was founded in 1963. “They have a legacy of having the very best longboarders,” Crowell said. All of the contests sponsored by the nonprofit benefits charity organizations. “They give money to Surf for the Blind and Disabled Vets,” Crowell said.
The seasoned members teach the younger ones about the ocean during various environmental education and service activities throughout the year. “It’s not just there for you to surf, you have to take care of it, too,” Crowell said.
For both families, surfing is a shared experience. The Crowell family can be seen in their 1965 Falcon wagon with original Aloha racks, parked at local beach breaks along the coast.
The Daums not only surf but are avid paddleboarders who frequent Cardiff Reef.