by Savana Robinson
It was an overcast morning at Moonstone Beach in Trinidad, California on the morning of Sept. 17. A group of Cal Poly Humboldt students ran out into the waves, surfboards under their arms and wetsuits on their bodies. For some, it was their first time surfing. For others, it was just one of many sessions. All of the students had signed up for the surf class through Center Activities, which also offers classes in climbing, backpacking, kayaking and more.
The intro surfing class on Sept. 17 was Hannah Doran’s first surf lesson. At the beginning of the class break, she emerged from the water with a wide grin on her face and her hand displaying a shaka sign. Doran has previously surfed in New Hampshire, Maine and Scotland. Doran is a junior at Cal Poly Humboldt majoring in oceanography with a diving minor.
“Surfing is cool and Humboldt’s the place to surf,” Doran said. “I’m having a great time.”
She was most excited about getting more comfortable in the water, the Pacific specifically. She was also stoked to get solid advice from good instructors. Plus, $40 for five hours of instruction is a great price.
Grady Hechd was the assistant instructor for the class. He has been working at Center Activities on campus since Feb. 2022.
“It’s really rewarding watching people that have never surfed before get out there and watching them learn,” Hechd said. “It kind of clicks for some people.”
Chris Isola, an environmental science transfer student, had gone surfing six times in Humboldt before the Sept. 17 class, but it was his first lesson. Throughout the lesson, Isola caught several waves with a smile.
Alumna and lead instructor, Annalisa Rush, has been teaching surf lessons for over 25 years.
“[The best part of the job is] sharing the joy of being on the ocean and watching people get super stoked on the thrill,” Rush said.