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The University of Surfing's backyard. Photo: Myles McGuinness

Wouldn’t that be nice? Photo: Myles McGuinness


The Inertia

When I was in school, I hated astronomy class. Due to school requirements, it was mandatory I took two semesters of it. Mostly, I cursed the school and failed to realize why taking a class unrelated to my major was forced upon me. I often thought how great it would’ve been had I been able to enroll in classes exclusively tailored to my interests. And now, this is a possibility.

For student/surfers who sympathize with 20-year-old me, you can now ditch “traditional academia.”

In September, one of the greatest developments in American higher education will materialize in La Jolla, California: a university centered around surfing. There’s no better place for this project to be unveiled than by the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, among some of the state’s best waves. Lunchtime surf at Blacks? Yes, please.

At the University of Surfing, Dean Fernando Aguerre, also President of the International Surfing Association, explains: “The new institution will offer … Advanced Surf Forecasting, History of Surfing, Competitive Surfing, and Surf Industry Management. Our goal is to transform surfing from an exciting water activity into one of the ten most popular outdoor activities in the world.” The entire university will be funded by Quiksilver, O’Neill, Billabong and Rip Curl.

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However, each degree will have core curriculums which each student is required to take. On the other hand, it probably won’t be astronomy. As students progress to the back half of the program, they will take specialized classes focused on their intended career path in surfing and will guide them (hopefully) into post-graduate jobs.

One of the most appealing aspects of the University of Surfing is its teaching staff. Leaders such as Kelly Slater, Mark Richards, Shaun Tomson, Shane Dorian, Garrett McNamara, Laird Hamilton, Stephanie Gilmore, Jim Moriarty, Bethany Hamilton, Matt Warshaw, Mike Stewart and Maya Gabeira will share their knowledge of the surf world with students.

Slater has confirmed he will lead a class in Managing Stress in High Performance Environments. There may be no better teacher for that curriculum and you can bet your lunch money spots will fill up instantly. Kelly explains, “More than just a sport, surfing has long been a cultural melting pot. Those in the surf industry must learn, study and develop more than we actually do. The future generations must be prepared to guide surfing through bright paths.”

Laird Hamilton will also teach at the University. “It’s all in the brain. The University of Surfing is an excellent, groundbreaking initiative. I can confirm I will be teaching ‘Hydrofoils in Hydrodynamics’ in the inaugural year.”

As admission goes, it’s typical of most four-year colleges and universities nationwide in that the highest performing high school students will have the greatest chance of admission. Sparkling letters of recommendation don’t hurt either. To all applying, best of luck. I’m tempted to pull a Billy Madison and see you there.

Editor’s Note: To all who have been duped, this was a (belated) April Fool’s joke. Don’t send those checks just yet.



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