Surf’s Up! Rhodes Leads MHS Surf Squad in Season Finale

Malibu Surf Team members pictured, from left: Evan Kassoy, Sebastian Bluhm, Kai Owens, Max Gourson, Gavin Cross, Vanessa Clark, Whitney Shanahan, Saxon Rhodes, Chloe Rapf, Nicky Chittendon, Maxine Kelly; front row: Coach John Cross and Coach Dale Rhodes; back row: Coach Jorge Lopez-Vida

Malibu Sharks surf team member Saxon Rhodes surfed her way to a first-place finish as two groups of Sharks surfers grabbed wins in the team’s last event of the season. 

Rhodes, a senior and seasoned youth surfer, won the women’s shortboard bracket in the Scholastic Surf Series meet at the Tarpits in Carpinteria on Feb. 1. She outlasted five other surfers at the top of the division, including a teammate, to lead the Malibu Black squad (surfers at the top skill level) to a 60-27 victory over Palisades. The Malibu White group also won, downing Oak Park, 43-41. 

Contending in the exhibition were surf squads also from Loyola, Oaks Christian, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica and Westlake high schools. The teenage wave riders vied in shortboard, longboard and bodyboard surfing brackets on waves that were around five or six feet in height. 

The event was the fifth competition since October for the teams, which are all in the surf series’ LA to Santa Barbara High School division. 

Vanessa Clark, also a Malibu Black member, placed one spot behind Rhodes in the women’s shortboard, while Malibu White surfer Whitney Shanahan placed fourth and her teammate Chole Rapf finished fifth. In the coed bodyboard, Malibu Black member Gavin Cross finished second and Malibu White surfer Kai Owens finished third. Malibu Black members Evan Kassoy and Sebastian Bluhm placed fourth and fifth in the men’s shortboard, respectively, and Cross finished third in the men’s longboard. Maxine Kelly, a Malibu Black surfer, finished fifth in women’s longboard, and Nicky Chittendon, a Malibu White member, finished sixth. 

Malibu, coached by John Cross, Dale Rhodes and Jorge Lopez-Vida, will have a few surfers competing in the state championships from April 25-27 in Oceanside.