I could have been valedictorian, but coach, I thought you would understand. I was surfing for three straight hours and the surf was so good that I just couldn’t get out of the water and come to your fitness class at OCC. Besides, I was getting better exercise paddling and swimming after my board repeatedly than we ever get here during our 45 minute period.
This plea, though repeated over and over during my long career at Orange Coast College, was never accepted as reasonable by my coaches, resulting in an F grade in PE during several semesters. In high school missing class to surf was often punished by suspension days, however those days off could then be used for more surf time, which was fine with me … until the my parents would discover my situation and demand I make amends.
Well that was the early ’60s and times have changed. Starting this week at OCC, PE161 surfing class is in session and it’s headed by coach Laird Hayes for the 15th year.
Can you imagine that? Kids get to come surf – and earn two units of college credit in the process. Well, not only might I have graduated with honors, but I would have a real shot at valedictorian if this had been the case when I was there.
In my day, surfing was often looked down on by teachers as a waste of time, practiced by losers and ne’er-do-wells. Today’s students meet at the beach at 8 a.m. Tuesday and Thursday, or can take the longer Friday class, and are taught many aspects of the surf game including surf etiquette, wave selection, paddling techniques, appreciation of surfing, and the ocean environment.
Wow! I could have aced this class with my eyes closed.
This class is not just for beginners, but is enjoyed by surfers at all skill levels. Those with expert skills help in the teaching and those with entry level skills, and the result is not only positive for the beginners, but a plus to the entire surfing community as these groms learn etiquette at a faster rate than if they are left to be taught by disgruntled fellow surfers in the lineup.
I tip my hat to OCC and especially coach Hayes for this service, but only wish that this class had come along earlier in my life as it might have saved my academic career and sent me off to bigger and better things.
Thank you for reading.
TK Brimer operates The Frog House surf shop in West Newport. Your positive comments are welcome at [email protected].