UNF Surf Team A National Champion – The UNF Spinnaker. returned from California with the fourth place in the country

The University of North Florida (UNF) has a new national champion. Upcoming junior, Blake Spear, took first place among college men’s shortboarders at the 2022 National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) Championships in California this Friday, and UNF surf team Overall fourth place.

“I caught the last wave of the final heat, and during the last 30 seconds of the final, I was in the shore break, and I see my whole team running underwater and playing more cowbells to cheer me up. And stuff, all the nominees,” Spears recalled of her most memorable moment from the competition.

Spears has been competing in the NSSA championships since he was about ten years old, but this was his first time competing at the national collegiate level. He said his past experience helped him know what to expect, but not necessarily a huge advantage because many of his competitors have also been in NSSA competitions since childhood.

Blake Spear (center) with his team after winning the NSSA National Championship for Men (Photo courtesy of Blake Spear)

Spears said living and surfing in Florida also presented a slight disadvantage for Spears and the surf team because the waves in Florida are generally not as good as in California.

“California has good waves almost every day, and it’s so erratic that the waves are as bad as they are [in Florida], Spear said. “Right now, it’s likely to be flat for the rest of the summer, so no waves, while [Californians are] Getting pumping waves all summer long, so they really benefit more.”

Despite this, UNF’s surf team finished fourth in the nation for college surfers, and Spears claimed the title of shortboard champion among college men.

“The energy was insane,” said team vice president CJ Rogers. “Even though we didn’t win as a school, we got to go out to see my friend and my teammate win over everyone, and we got to fly the Florida flag.”

The team arrived in California a few days before the competition to practice and adjust to West Coast waves. Rogers described waking up early every day with his team to practice, saying that the waves were the biggest on the day of the competition.

After overcoming a “first-round setback”, Rogers received one of his best scores in his first heat. Some members of the team made it to the quarter-finals, and team treasurer Sophie Falzon made it to the semi-finals.

“This year was really, really, really tough competition,” said team captain Charlie Current, “I was really impressed by how many surfers were surfing well in college.

UNF Surf Team holds its trophies
The UNF surf team poses with its trophies after the NSSA national competition in California (Photo courtesy of Blake Spear)

Rogers said that in addition to the stiff competition, a challenge for the team was funding its way to California. Since surfing is considered a club sport at the UNF, Rogers and Current explained that the team had to do fundraising for the trip.

“It’s expensive,” Currant explained. “We all had to pay for our place, pay for our Air BnB, our sponsors helped, but even the entry fee to compete at the nationals is $1000.”

Current credits UNF with helping pay for the team’s rental cars and hopes that their success will help the team earn more support from the school in the future, allowing more talented surfers to enroll in UNF and the surf team. will encourage you to participate.

Spears credits surf team president Avery Aidelot for making the trip to California possible.

“He’s the one who put the whole trip together and put everyone in line to make sure everything was going well,” Spear said.

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