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MHS Surf Team's Successful Season

By McKenzie Jackson
Photo by Scott Lewis

A season of conquering waves, top finishes and exciting surfing came to an end on April 30 for the Malibu High surf team.

Of course, the season wasn’t close to a wipeout for the group of longboard and shortboard surfers. The Sharks boys and girls squads finished second in the Scholastic Surf Series’ LA to Santa Barbara High School Division 1.

Sharks coach Dale Rhodes said the group had a strong finish to the season that began last October.

“At the end of the day, we ended up strong as a team,” Rhodes said. “We worked well together and had great teamwork. Although we didn’t get first place, I still say we had a strong year.”

The club team won head-to-head matchups and meets against opposing schools in surfing events on the Southern California coast.

The boys group was led by junior SJ Murphy and senior Sean Woods, who finished rated second and third in shortboard, respectively. Carson Dohan finished eighth, Italo Masinas finished 11th and Ryder Sturges was 13th. Senior Cajun Holland placed 13th in the longboard.

“We have some of the best boys surfers on the whole coast,” Rhodes said
With the girls team, sophomore Betsey Lee ended the season rated first in longboard and second in shortboard. Her teammate, freshman Saxon Rhodes, coach Rhodes’ daughter, finished third in longboard and fourth in shortboard.

Scott Lewis, who coaches the Sharks with the elder Rhodes, said Lee and Rhodes’ high finishes are a big deal.

“It was unprecedented,” he said. “This year we had two strong girl surfers. They have nowhere to go but up.”

Coach Rhodes said the girls excelled at a high level while under pressure all season.

“Betsy and Saxon thrive on pressure and they really go after it,” he said. “These girls are highly competitive. Our girls are more competitive and focused.”

Malibu’s season started in October with a 76-53 win over Oak Park and a first-place finish among the eight schools that competed in a meet at Zuma Beach.

Lewis said one of the highlights of the season was shortboard surfer Dohan’s confidence at a late February meet at Summer Beach in Ventura.

“He showed up and said, ‘I’m going to win today,’ and he did,” Lewis recalled. “That was shocking. It was amazing. I pointed out with that type of attitude, that is how you win in life.”

Rhodes said the Sharks’ camaraderie at the state championships last month stuck out to him.

“They entered the event with a positive attitude,” he said of Malibu’s surfers. “Even though they fell short, they still walked away like, ‘We did this as a team.’”

Rhodes and Lewis are proud of the team’s second-place ranking in their division. The coaches have high expectations for next season.

“I think it is a natural progression,” Rhodes said. “As they get older and train more. It’s a natural progression.”

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