Whether its on their shortboard or bodyboard, Seabury’s surf team rides their way to success

Isabella Blair, Staff Writer

If you’ve caught a glimpse of Seabury Hall’s surf team, then you know that they are amazing at what they do. The team has been charging Maui’s waters for two years now, and Seabury Hall surfers hope that other high schools will be inspired by their success to have surf teams too.

The surf team competed in their final competition on Saturday, April 25 at Ho’okipa. Freshman Skylar Lickle got second place in girls shortboard, and junior Isabella Pickering got third in girls shortboard. Overall, the boys team got fourth, and the girls got second.

The surf team at Seabury Hall is unique and laid-back; the students range in experience and are always open to newcomers. Some of the surfers have been surfing their entire life, while some started surfing this semester.

This year, the team grew in numbers. There were 25 members this season, and although most of the team members did not know each other before the season started, one of the factors that brought them together is their ability to accept others and their range of experience. Everyone worked together to achieve a common goal while having fun at the same time.

The trip to Hana on Saturday, April 4 contributed to the team’s bond. However, friendships were not the only thing progressing that weekend. The surfers also did really well in competition; freshman Conan Gentil got third place in boys shortboard and senior Ridge Lenny got sixth place. Lenny is also the co-captain for the team.

“[It was] our first Hana outing with 17 kids. It was a blast. Getting them to bed and lights out at 10PM!” surf team coach Rodney Kilborn said in an email.

Even at the team’s first competition at DT Fleming Beach Park on Saturday, March 28, they were winning. Lenny got first place in boys short board and Gentil got second.

The categories for the competitions are boys shortboard, boys bodyboard, girls shortboard, and girls bodyboard. Some of the surfers chose to do both shortboard and bodyboard. Each ride is judged and given a score between 1-10.

“A one is pretty much standing up and going straight, maybe falling like a few seconds after. A ten is pretty much riding the wave as good as it could possibly be ridden,” said Lenny.

Each season, there are four MIL surf competitions. This year, they were at DT Flemings, Koki Beach, Lahaina Harbor, and Hookipa. Coach Kilborn wrote, “The [fourth] event is the final event, and this is where it counts for the top placement winning school. [As for] scoring, you have 3-5 judges on the panel, your top two scoring waves from each judge’s sheet [are] taken and placed on a tally sheet, are totalled up and your results placed… Judging Criteria is subjective and it is what it is!”

The team met about three times a week to practice, usually at Hookipa, which is on Maui’s north shore. Practices were pretty flexible; everyone went out into the water and surfed. The students, as well as the coach, gave each other pointers throughout the afternoon.

When describing practice, Coach Kilborn wrote, “I try to learn every surfer’s style, weak & strong point and most of all, building positive energy within oneself, ‘YOU CAN!’”

Co-captains sophomore Justin Nees and Lenny have been on the team since it started in 2013. It was not an official Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) team until 2014, so this year was the team’s second official year competing. It was also the second year that Maui has had any surf teams competing for the MIL title.

Nees’s favorite part about being on a team with other surfers is “probably just the friendships. There are so many kids I wouldn’t know unless they joined the team. It’s cool to get a sense of what everyone is doing. Like there are so many freshman that I had no idea surfed.”

Seabury Hall’s surf team encourages other high schools to have surf teams, especially on the mainland. On Maui, most of the high schools, including King Kekaulike, Baldwin, and Maui High, have surf teams competing in the MIL. One of the many things surfers on the team said was that surfing in high school has caused them to want to find colleges near the beach, or even with its own surf team.

“The fact that we have surfing within our school activities is pretty cool. I know that a lot of schools don’t have that, so we are pretty fortunate,” said Pickering.

“All of the surfing contests [that most surfers do on their own] are more of an individual thing, so when you do it on a team it’s really cool because everyone [contributes to] how the team does and everybody competes. It’s sort of like you’re doing it together like any other team sport. You have a lot more support,” said Gentil.

This season was not your last time to see Seabury Hall’s surf team. If you go to Ho’okipa, or just about any other surf spot on Maui, then you’ll probably see some of the surfers on the team. As for Seabury Hall, hopefully surfing will continue to be an MIL sport for many years to come.