Waves of Regent students find escape from schoolwork on the shores of Virginia Beach, not far from campus. They ditch dry land for the motion of the ocean, grabbing their surf boards and meeting up with their friends in Surf Club. Beginners learn from the experts and become fans of a new sport.
“It was something I always wanted to try doing,” said Katherine Person, ’17 (CAS). “I never really never had the opportunity to invest time into it. There are a lot of people here who are a lot better than me, but it’s the culture that I really like. Being able to come out to the beach with friends. You don’t have to be good to come out and go surfing. A lot of people are willing to teach you and go do it.”
Person says she picked up surfing about one year ago. Her second adventure into the waters with the board was with Surf Club. She says it takes determination and consistency, getting up when she falls down. Member Brandon Droz, ’17 (CAS), describes the club as “chill,” and says it provides new surfers and education.
“We meet up and pray before we go out,” said Brandon Droz, ’17 (CAS). “If you’ve never been, we’ll teach you. I have ten years of experience. We did a couple of lessons with 10 new people. I took them out in groups of two at a time and went over all of the safety rules and tips and tricks. I’ll just go out there and push them into some shorebreak and watch them fall.”
“Grabbing the board is a process in and of itself,” said Person. “Aside from that, grab the board, if it’s cold like today, you’ll throw on a wet suit, which makes a big difference if the water is really cold. Get in, paddle out to where there are good waves, because you don’t want to surf into the sand.”
The club is now 50 members strong. At least some of the members go out on the water almost every weekend, either at Sandbridge or First Street at the Oceanfront. Many enjoy starting at sunrise, but some will head out whenever good waves are forecast. They say riding the waves doesn’t just help them perfect the skill of their sport, but draws them closer to God and one another. The club’s vice president says there’s a spiritual side to encountering God’s nature.
“It’s really freeing,” said Katherine Bundy, ’18 (CAS), vice president of Surf Club. “I remember last year when I hadn’t been on the board for a while, but I remember last year, for the first time, I just understood why people love surfing. It’s just so freeing, and you feel like it’s amazing. The waves are so powerful, and to be able to ride them is an incredible experience. This is what our God can create? It’s amazing.”
“It’s a good time to go out there by yourself without distractions and get some scripture in you, and meditate on that Scripture while you’re out there,” said Droz.
Beyond surfing, the club organizes cookouts, luaus and two annual snowboarding trips. Members say it serves as a support group and that they pray for one another on a regular basis.
“It’s actually a lot of fun to be able to come out here any weekend and enjoy the waves and the creation. You can have homework in the back of your mind, but this is a great place to come and let it all go. You can bring homework if you want, but it’s a vacation that never ends. Even when there’s snow on the beach, it’s a lot of fun.”
More information about the surf club is available on its Facebook page. It provides foam boards for beginners and has others available to more experienced surfers. It also makes arrangements with a surf shop to provide wet suits.