Jun 22, 2009

Colleges for Surfing

Today’s undergraduates expect a much richer experience than those of us whose idea of extracurricular activity was limited to sitting out on the quad in good weather. They come equipped with an array of interests, hobbies, and the all-important “passions” that have been carefully nurtured through 12 or more years of lessons, teams, mentors or other hired guns employed by parents to keep kids competitive.

In a post-secondary universe where schools compete on a variety of attributes other than academics, it comes as no surprise that lists starting with “Best For….” or “Strong In .…” are generated and feverishly exchanged among college counselors anxious to stay ahead in the advising game. One such list recently grabbed my undivided attention: Top Schools for Surfing. And by this, I do not mean the internet. These are schools that have earned bragging rights for their easy access to waves by students hoping to “hang ten” either competitively or as a weekend diversion from studies.

As is true with all such lists, there is some controversy as to which criteria to use in judging schools strong in surfing. Transworld Surf lists academics, surf proximity, life experiences, costs, and partying. Surfline takes a slightly different approach and adds surf classes, surfing professors (!), and male/female ratio to the mix. The result is as follows:



1. UC San Diego

1. UC Santa Cruz

2. UC Santa Cruz

2. UC Santa Barbara

3. California Polytechnic State U

3. UC San Diego

4. UC Santa Barbara

4. Pepperdine University

5. U of Hawaii Manoa

5. Point Loma Nazarene University

6. UNC Wilmington

6. U of Hawaii Manoa

7. U of Rhode Island

7. Flagler College

8. Pepperdine University

8. Monmouth University

9. Humbolt State

9. UNC Wilmington

10. Florida Institute of Technology

10. Salve Regina University

For Virginians not interested in traveling far to pursue surfing interests, Surfer Magazine lists the top 5 east coast surf schools as Flagler, UNC Wilmington, U of Rhode Island, U of North Florida, and Monmouth. A few more schools may be found by searching "surfing" on FindurU, a quirkly but useful little college search engine. While not providing a ranking, The College Finder adds a few more east coast schools including the University of Central Florida, College of Charleston, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (engineers who surf!), Jacksonville University, the University of West Florida, Ringling College of Art & Design, Stetson University, and Old Dominion University in Virginia. Who knew?

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