San Dieguito surf team repeats as state champions

The champion SDA surf team.
(Marco Martinez)

The San Dieguito Academy surf squad won the Scholastic Surf Series High School State Surfing Championship for the second year in a row at South Jetty Oceanside Harbor March 27, proving once again that Encinitas is truly a surf town.

In addition to taking the championship crown, SDA’s Veronica Hughes and Titus Santucci were honored with the Scholastic/Sportsmanship awards. Tom Gibbons, the founder of the National Scholastic Surfing Association and founding director of the United States Surfing Federation, presented each winning surfer with a $300 check and a plaque.

Marco Martinez, also an education specialist at SDA, has been the surf coach since 2012 and led the team to their second straight championship.

“It’s a surf team but it’s also like a club,” said Martinez, a Del Mar native. There are 65 surfers on the team—some are super into competing and some just enjoy being a part of the culture. They get together for team gatherings, every year they march in the Encinitas Christmas Parade and Martinez also sets up team community service opportunities. This year they gave back to Feeding San Diego and for Earth Day they are participating in a tree planting event as a team.

The surf season stretches from September through March, typically with one contest a month in the Coastal Division for Scholastic Surf Series. SDA surfers also compete in the National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) and contests put on by the West Coast Surfing League. The SDA surf team’s home beach is Seaside but they also meet up at D Street. The women really like Pipes and the longboarders prefer Cardiff Reef.

“Carlsbad is our biggest rival,” Martinez said. “This year we were undefeated and we left Carlsbad to the last contest.”

SDA surfers.
(Marco Martinez)

With the team split up competing in two different contests that day, Carlsbad won the matchup and took the Coastal Division title. The Mustangs were able to bring a mostly full A team to States, besting not only their rival but a total of 40 teams from San Diego to Half Moon Bay.

The team racked up points with the men and women’s shortboard surfers and co-ed body boarders taking first place. Individually, Veronica Hughes took first in women’s shortboard.

“It was tight and it was close with Carlsbad,” Martinez said. “We just ended up coming away with it. We definitely had to fight for it. We got the right waves and we made it happen.”

The men’s shortboard team included Titus Santucci, Ty Spencer, Luke Butterfield, Eeli Timperi, Owen Casey, Dane Libby, Reef Persidock, Lukas McMahon and Bryson Palmer. The women included Syd Ott, Veronica Hughes and Marlee Lovell. On longboard the SDA men included Kai Murphy, Ty Evans and Henry Garrett, and women Izzy Derenzis, Sofia Gonzalez and Helena Graney. The two bodyboarders were Ty Traubman and Yu Yu Chan.

Over the years, Martinez said he has seen a real shift in the support for surfing as a youth sport. Parents have become more committed and involved and groms are starting young with trainers and competitions so they are “ready to rumble” by the time they get to SDA. Martinez said he is also fortunate to have a solid group of coaches including Dylan Powers, Jan Kaufman, Irene Navarro, Sue Misner and SDA surf alums Grayson Adams and Hannah Vanveen.

A three-peat could be in the making as only a few senior surfers will be leaving the team and they have a really good talent coming up from the Oak Crest Middle School program, which finished second at the Middle School State Championships.