The Samohi surf team does not have an easy ride. They train on consistently poorer waves than their rival teams in Manhattan Beach or Palos Verdes and they draw from a much smaller talent pool of surfers due to the comparatively weak surf culture in Santa Monica. They are also disadvantaged by their status as a club and not an official team and lack advantages like excused competition absences or practices scheduled during school periods. 

Yet despite all these challenges, this year’s team smashed expectations. Led by their coach Marion Clark and graduating senior Co-Captains Beau Werger and Ethan Foley, the Samohi surfers claimed impressive victories over longtime powerhouse teams.

Foley won first place in the juniors category of the entire South Bay Boardriders Series, while Werger won the prestigious Waterman of the Year Award. Both senior co-captains competed in the South Bay Scholastic Surf Association’s All Stars with Foley coming in second in the shortboard competition and Werger winning the longboard competition. In addition, senior teammate Zachary Mitchell was recognized as the hardest working surfer in the series and won the Dedication Award.

“We overall had a lot of awards, which is kind of unheard of for Santa Monica—like we’ve never had a Waterman of the Year, never had someone win the overall, so I was just super proud of the seniors for setting a good precedent for the future members of our team,” said Foley. 

Foley and Werger also highlighted the contributions of senior surfers Lucas Childs and Declan Smith, whose efforts were integral to competition victories. They said that Childs is always out there ripping and trying his hardest at all competitions and Smith, who joined the team in 10th grade, has shown incredible improvement and significantly contributed to the team’s overall scores.  

“Our grade really stuck together and we have stuck together for a long time. Ethan and I have surfed pretty much every day for the last six years and I think we push each other a lot and I would say that’s the same with a lot of our seniors,” said Werger. “This year, we made it a goal to help out the younger people on the surf team, and take them surfing, and make sure they’re really into it so that when we leave they can still keep winning.”