A day of surf and snow

Plenty of Californians take pride in knowing they can surf in the morning and enjoy winter sports in the mountains in the afternoon, but it's a privilege not often taken advantage of.

For three years, Red Bull has sponsored an event called the Switchboard, making the trek possible for hundreds of college students.

On Saturday, Switchboard participants from various California schools were treated to a morning of surfing at Huntington Beach or La Jolla, food, transportation to Bear Mountain, a lift ticket and discounted ski or snowboard rental for $25.

Zev Friedman, 19, from Chapman University, grew up surfing in Huntington Beach and even attended the Super Surf Camp held by the California Junior Lifeguards when he was 10 years old, he said.

"It's cool because 500 students will be there from different schools," he said. "I go to Chapman University, but there's going to be people from USC and San Diego and you get to meet kids that have similar interests."

When Brian Birmingham, 22, from Loyola Marymount University, heard about the event from his surf club, he couldn't skip out on the opportunity.

"It's something I've wanted to do my whole time at LMU but haven't gotten the chance to until this year," he said.

Birmingham texted his friend Adam Skoog, who goes to UC Santa Barbara, asking him if he wanted to go. Once Skoog found out it was only $25, he was on board.

"I freaked out and I asked him if he was joking," Skoog said. "For $25, I'm surfing at Huntington Beach and then going boarding later and it includes the lift ticket and food? Are you kidding me?"

Skoog, 22, drove down from Santa Barbara and picked up Birmingham on the way to Orange County to go surfing at Goldenwest Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

After a couple of hours surfing some 3-foot waves, the two took a two-hour journey up to Bear Mountain, where they were joined by nearly 500 other college students from Southern California, Birmingham said.

College students weren't the only ones who had fun that Saturday morning. Professional surfer Jaime Sterling and professional snowboarder John Jackson joined in as well.

"The difference is you can't get barreled snowboarding. That's the only thing missing for snowboarding," Sterling wrote in an email. "Big mountain snowboarding is very similar to big wave surfing. You're pushing the limits in a realm that's seldom ridden. Surfing and snowboarding gives you the freedom to express your desired choice of line on a wave or mountain as well as your natural style."


Twitter: @acocarpio

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