Malibu Surf Teams Open Season with Good Performances

Three Malibu surfers had top finishes on Oct. 1 during two Los Angeles to Santa Barbara Scholastic Surf Series meets at Zuma Beach. 

Eleventh-grader SJ Murphy finished first in the High School Division 1 men’s shortboard and 10th-grader Betsey Lee finished first in the High School Division 1 women’s longboard. Brooke Carlson finished first in the girls’ longboard in the Middle School Division. 

Murphy’s and Lee’s top finishes led the Sharks high school team to a 76-53 win over Oak Park and a first-place finish among the eight schools that competed in the meet. Carlson’s number one finish helped the middle school squad gain 130 points, third amongst the eight schools. 

Malibu surf coach Dale Rhodes said the older Sharks excelled on the waves during the highly contested event. 

“Our athletes surfed very well, competed at a high level and we couldn’t be more proud of them,” the coach said. “We had a lot of athletes that surfed really well that didn’t make it through the earlier rounds, but this year we definitely have a state championship level team for Malibu High.”

Lee also placed second in the women’s shortboard, and her teammate, freshman Saxon Rhodes, finished one spot behind her in the event. Rhodes also placed fifth in the women’s shortboard. Junior Sean Woods finished third in the men’s shortboard and Italo Mesinas, also an 11th-grader, placed fourth.

Cabrillo and Santa Barbara Jr. tied in first place with 200 points and Malibu finished third. 

Along with Carlson’s first-place finish, Gavin Cross finished third in the boys’ longboard and second in the coed bodyboard for the younger Sharks group, coached by Gavin’s dad, John Cross.

Rhodes, the high school coach with Scott Lewis, said around 50 kids are participating in the high school and middle school surf teams. Rhodes said he wants both squads to win as a team. 

“It’s about team spirit,” he said. “We root for our teammates win or lose. It’s all about having fun.”

Rhodes said the Sharks need to always compete at a high level.

“We want them to be smart and finish strong on every wave,” he said. 

The surf teams will take to the waves again next month during competitions at Mandalay Beach in Oxnard. The middle school team will surf on Nov. 19 and the high school team will surf on Nov. 20. 

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