After an exhilarating hometown victory the previous week over northerly nemesis Newport Beach, the Laguna Beach High School Surf Team suffered a tough loss against San Clemente at Salt Creek on Tuesday.
However, following a season-long pattern, Laguna had some stellar individual performances.
Among them was junior Taylor Pitz, who continues to shine brightly for Laguna with her sharp surfing and seemingly unshakable poise.
Against San Clemente, Taylor slashed her way to another first-place finish in the girls’ short board division, running her season record to a perfect 5-0!
Also securing first place in a boys’ short board heat with his radical and futuristic surfing was senior Porter Hogan. When asked about how he manages to consistently deliver results, Porter replied: “When I paddle out in my heat I really just get into my contest mode and work hard to get it through my head that first place is the only place I can get. I find that if I go out thinking I’m going to get third, then I get third or worse."
Laguna senior Sean Kimball, who after taking several years off from the surf team to focus on other pursuits, has returned in amazing fashion by routinely producing top-level results. Tuesday at Salt Creek, Sean turned in a lights-out performance, leading the way to a much-needed short board heat win with his first-place result.
I caught up to Sean post-heat to glean his thoughts on a variety of team-related issues.
“When I’m out there I focus on getting the best waves and being consistent with my turns and keeping a tally in my head of what I think my scores on each wave are," Sean said. “Also I try and keep an eye on my opponents’ waves so I have an idea of where I’m at and what’s needed to win a heat. I also play defense by keeping opponents off of waves, and no matter how the heat goes, I always keep a positive mind set out there."
I asked if he had any tips for the younger groms working hard to further their surfing in the contest setting.
“I would always encourage kids to stay super assertive out there for the 15 to 20 minutes of their heat. Other competitors rarely, if ever, will give each other waves. You have to work hard for the right position and then take it!"
Next competition: 6:15 a.m. Thursday vs. Dana Hills at Salt Creek. For more information and complete season results, check out the Laguna Beach Surf Team Blog at lbsurfteam.edublogs.org.
CHRIS WILLIAMS is a surfing coach and Laguna Beach resident, and father of four surf-crazy sons. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (949) 497-5918.