Joe Surf: Sea Kings back in the surf

It stands to reason that Corona del Mar High School's surf team was resurrected out in the water, surfer to surfer, as they waited for the next set to roll in.

The Sea Kings surfed Wednesday against Mater Dei in their Sea View League opener, a noteworthy event in itself considering where the surfing program was at Corona del Mar just over a year ago — dry, up on the surf racks in the garage, collecting cobwebs.

Corona del Mar had been without a competitive surf team since the mid-1990s, and in the meantime, neighboring Newport Harbor High has become among the best high school surf teams in the nation, placing third in the National Scholastic Surfing Assn. nationals in June.

But Mike Pawell, a senior at CdM last year and now attending UC Santa Barbara, made it his mission to bring back surfing to CdM. The hard part had to be going through the administrative process, dealing with the red tape to make it all official.

Finding a coach, though, simply required jumping on his board and getting in the water.

"They would see me out surfing with my daughter Bobbi, and (Pawell) paddled up to me one day and said, 'Hey, you're Bobbi Hoose's dad,'" said Jake Hoose, CdM's surf coach. "I said, 'Yeah, yeah,' and he said, 'Did you go to CdM? I heard you were on the surf team in the '80s.' I said yeah, and he said, 'Well, I'm trying to get together a surf team at CdM. Would you be interested in coaching?' I said, 'Yes, I'd love to be you guys' coach.'

"He made all the steps with the athletic department. He's really a sharp kid. He did all the things necessary to set up a class for the surf team."

Now, CdM is starting its second season with a competitive surf team, competing against Mater Dei, Los Alamitos, Long Beach-Wilson, Long Beach-Millikan and Estancia in the Sea View League.

CdM held its own last year, finishing in third place in the league, according to Hoose, who is getting coaching help from Gary Crane. They get paid nothing and rely on the team's parents to help pay for the team's contests, the booster club run by Jim Wood. Wood, Hoose and Crane are all fathers of surfers on the team, but their volunteer efforts can only do so much.

While Newport Harbor High has surf apparel giant Volcom as a sponsor, CdM has Hobie Surf Shop in town, which Hoose says he appreciates. But Hoose is learning to embrace the underdog role. In fact, he would like to eventually set up a contest against Newport Harbor.

"Hopefully, we'll try to get something arranged," Hoose said. "They're sort of a powerhouse in the surfing world. I compare it to their football team. It's kind of like David vs. Goliath. We're ready for the 'Battle of the Bay.' I don't think it would be as crazy as a football game. The surfers, we're all friends. It would be a more friendly competition."

Jason Crane, Ryan Clayton and Trey Wood are three of CdM's top surfers on a team with 30 total, significantly less than most others in its league. The program is growing, however, up from 19 surfers last year. The team is also trying to recruit girls to the team, as it currently has just three, including Bobbi.

"The feedback from the community has been really positive," Hoose said. "We're trying to be respectful with the community in West Newport because we're down there early with 30 of us, so we try to move around our practices and not always be at the same place. Mostly we go to Blackies, River Jetties and Orange Street and we try to be respectful of the local surfers."


ASP World Tour update

Brazil's Adriano de Souza beat Kelly Slater in the championship heat Tuesday at the Rip Curl Pro in Peniche, Portugal, the ninth event in the 11-event ASP World Tour.

Despite the loss in the final, Slater is almost a lock to win his 11th ASP world title. He needs to finish ninth or better in the next event, the Rip Curl Pro Search in San Francisco beginning Nov. 1, to clinch the crown. Slater has placed first or second in five of the nine events so far.

JOE HAAKENSON is an Orange County-based sports writer and editor. He may be reached at

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