by Coach Benner Cummings
At times I run across people who seem to want to place limitations on surfers and their abilities. In their haste to define, they tend to limit by placing labels upon gifted athletes without investigating their potential.
Many surfers long ago chose to explore and express themselves in an athletic medium suited to their personal motivations. Strong-minded with gifted abilities in tact, it was a game of choice for them. Their interests and skills were fed by their desires.
Many changed as they aged and explored endeavors opened up from world travels and adventures. They became highly successful in the fast-growing surfing industry itself, furthering themselves with education, writing, designing, sales and surfing photography.
Reflecting upon these highly skilled athletes, one finds many who have done well for themselves. Young Michael Taras earned some 23 NSSA titles and is now earning a 4.0 GPA at the University of California Irvine. His brother Peter became the photo editor for Trans World Surfing Magazine. Both Gahan brothers are attending college full time while still surfing, as are the Gudaukas twins, Patrick and Dane. Nate Yomans, the Long brothers and Mike Losness are receiving sponsorships with top name surfing companies, allowing them to continue their surf travel, photo shoots and competition. They are mixing with the world’s vast multi-nationalities … rich happenings that might have taken them years to experience, if at all!
Surfers like: Tanner Gudaukas, Travis Mellem, Trevor Sanders, Dane Ward, young Kelohe Andino and his father Dino Andino, Matt Archbold, surfing coach Mike Parsons, longboarders Josh Baxter, Brenden White, Troy Mothershead, Chris Wach, John Robinson, Jason Miller, the McNulty brothers, and Colleen Mehlberg - along with so many many others - have helped place San Clemente on the world map of surfing.
The three world renown surfers from San Clemente, Shane Beschen, Chris Ward and Collin McPhillips, coming into my history classes at San Clemente High wet hair and all, spent their early morning hours surfing, yet, doing equally as well in their studies as other students. Even then I knew they were their own men, knowing what they had to and wanted to do, practicing twice and three times daily.
Many surfers long ago chose to explore and express themselves in an athletic medium suited to their personal motivations. Strong-minded with gifted abilities in tact, it was a game of choice for them. Their
interests and skills were fed
by their desires.
Often when watching surfing, I’ve witnessed young gremmies trying to grasp the practiced skills that lead to paths of glory. There are certain basic skills required to survive the taxing game of wave riding. If they lack patience and proper preparation fear tends to take control of their energies, negating all their unlimited desires. I believe it was Caesar Augustus who uttered a most lasting truth, “Make haste slowly.”
Tanner Gudauskas seems to be doing just that, earning for the year 2005 a grand 2nd place in the World Junior Surfing Championships, and winning the league individual title for San Clemente High. Watch for him and other gremmies during their practice sessions at T-Street, Trestles, Calafia, and the San Clemente pier, early mornings, or even late winter afternoons. Here you can watch the development of the pure natural talent that has given San Clemente so much to be proud of.
IN OTHER ARENAS
A short note about surfing’s brother sports, swimming and water polo. It appears Mission Viejo High, like Huntington Beach with its fine surfing teams is ever working to press San Clemente’s swimming and water polo teams for titles. Having great depth again this year in both sprints and middle distance races, they could present challenges for the Tritons. However; look for the talented sophomore Mike Chamoures to challenge their top 500-yard freestyle swimmers. Watch also the indomitable Chad Tourette or Greg Goodell. San Clemente might have another Scott Spansail in the making here,
Powerful sprinters find Mission Viejo with the likes of Scott Sorg, already blasting a 46+ for the 100-yard freetyle. This is equal to a high school track star running the100 yard dash - a fast 09.5+. There aren’t too many of these around in any high school. The Tritons will no doubt counter with Kyle-Folton Smith, Brady Haug, and Brett Garett. This could make for a very powerful swimming season for both schools. In fact, look for all the league teams to be pointing at Mission Viejo’s repeat of both its league and CIF titles.
Interesting to also note that water polo Coach Marc Parker, come fall, could send a line-up of behemoths charging down the pool in the likes of Brad Kerr, Scott Yeilding, Cameron Helm and Aaron Rivadeneyra - 830 pounds of pure leviathan power! A special salute to ex-Triton water polo player Logan Powell for earning All American honors at UCLA this past season.
And finally … a very special tribute to Shane Beschen for his proven greatness over many years of surfing. Some 16 years of dedicated surfing no less. I suppose Shane will now leave his ‘good waves’ to the young gremmies of San Clemente who will be keeping busy trying to emulate him. b