Surf Club Makes Waves


Katherine Nguyen

Surf Club co-presidents Hannah Janse (left) and Aaron Janse (right) founded the club to share their surfing experience and teach others about the sport.

On a Tuesday afternoon, students cluster in the Johns Hopkins classroom to review surfing safety rules. One of UPA’s newest club additions—the Surf Club—was founded by freshman Hannah Janse and junior Aaron Janse on Sept. 21, 2018.

As one of the few sports clubs at UPA, it has sparked interest among students curious about surfing.

Over the summer, the Janses learned about the fundamentals of surfing at Club Ed Surf School in Santa Cruz. They started the club with hopes of spreading their passion for surfing with others and introducing something new to the school.

“We knew that UPA didn’t have a surf club so we wanted to bring some variety to the clubs that are offered to the students,” the younger Janse said.

The Janse siblings aim to educate their members about the sport through surfing activities and lessons. However, the wildfires earlier this year halted their progress.

“We wanted to go surfing a few [months] ago, but we had to cancel due to the poor air quality,” the freshman said. “When you go surfing, it depends on the waves and the weather for that specific day.”

Although surfing may seem like an easy sport to learn, it is much more than just balancing on a board. As one of the most difficult and complex sports in the world, it is a very challenging, yet enjoyable learning process.

“You have to have a lot of arm strength because it’s mostly paddling out and paddling in,” the younger Janse said.

Freshman Melissa Pettit is a passionate club member who has always wished to practice the sport. Despite living by the golden coast, she has never taken advantage of the opportunity to surf.

“I never heard of a Surf Club, which is really cool,” Pettit said. “I’m not really sure how to start learning how to surf so I think it’s good that [they] have a good program for us to learn.”

Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month in Johns Hopkins during lunch. A typical club meeting in which they discuss the guidelines and expectations of surfing draws around five to seven members. They have also started to consider designing club sweatshirts to wear for warmth in Santa Cruz.

“Our aunt is actually a graphic designer so we were thinking we can enlist some of her help to create a design for surf club,” the younger Janse said.

The duo envisions their club participating in surf competitions once everyone gains an adequate amount of experience from surfing lessons.

“We were thinking of competitions earlier in the year, but it’s just a long-term idea,” the older Janse said. “One step at a time.”