The Malibu High Sharks surf team caught some waves and nabbed some respectable finishes at a Jan. 7-8 meet at Carpinteria State Beach.
Malibu head coach John Cross said the team — split between two middle school squads and a high school bunch — performed well at the two-day event.
“We had a bunch of second-place finishes,” he said. “We had a lot of spirit, sportsmanship, and teamwork.”
The coach added that the waves rolling to the shore during the meet were spectacular but challenging for some of the Sharks.
“That is to be expected,” he said. “Overall, the team did well. It was a very positive vibe on the beach.”
There are 30 surfers on the high school team and 50 middle school Malibu surfers. Not all of them compete in meets, though. Around 25 high schoolers surf at meets, as do 19 individuals on each middle school team.
Malibu’s standout surfers at Carpinteria were middle schoolers Lulu Rankin and London Runyon.
Lulu’s qualifying for the girls shortboard final was impressive, Cross explained, because she missed the finals in Malibu’s previous meet.
“She is one of the surfers on the team that has been improving steadily and takes it very seriously,” Cross said. “It is encouraging to see that type of focus.”
London qualified for the finals in the boys longboard and coed body board.
“His longboarding is getting exceptionally better,” Rankin noted. “He has been focusing on his footwork. Improvement in his footwork is showing in his scores. He has a carefree but solid style that stands out.”
The Sharks high school team will compete on Saturday at the Ventura Fairgrounds and Event Center, while the two middle school teams will take to the surf on Feb. 11 at Ventura Point.
The high school team started its season last October. They had seven finalists at the event at Emma Wood State Beach.
The middle school teams’ initial event was at Summer’s Beach last October. Ten Sharks were finalists and 11 won medals. Thirteen middle schoolers won medals at a December meet at Summer’s Beach and 11 were finalists. At a competition at Ventura Point, eight surfers were finalists and nine claimed medals.
The middle school teams have competed in four out of five competitions on the schedule, and the high school team has surfed in two out of five. Despite the meet cancellations, Cross said the season has been great.
“We’ve had very exceptional conditions for practice, great waves,” he noted.
The state championship meets are in March. Cross said Malibu’s surfers want to qualify.
“They are looking at what they need to do in the final meets,” he said.