Article and Interview Footage by Scott MacLaren

“[teaching Cody to carve a board] All right, look. First of all, with the grain. With the grain. Do you see what I’m doing here? You let the tool do the work, you see? Just like you’re riding the wave, you let the wave do the work. You don’t fight the wave.” 

Big Z, Surf’s Up

There’s something special about pastimes that transcend our vocabulary. It induces an indescribable, unstoppable force, that of which pierces straight through the body and burrows deep inside one’s soul. Surfing, to me, is such an experience. It teaches a rare philosophy of dualism; of pure relaxation to surging adrenaline: of letting go yet being in control. This rubber-banding back-and-forth fascinates me, and when I got the opportunity to film UCLA’s Surf Team… I simply could not pass it up. 

It’s the 7th of March 2024. A Thursday. I was impolitely awoken by an impolite alarm at 6 AM. I ate some breakfast, grabbed a camera, and trekked the 15-mile drive to the northern-most bit of Manhattan Beach. Upon my arrival, I was greeted with a brisk wind that sliced through my clothes, notwithstanding a beautiful sunrise offered gratefully by El Porto’s coastline. To the likes of the incoming surfing crowd, the swell was decent, as planes began to lumber in and out of LAX a few miles north.  

Before dipping their toes into the Pacific, I got to inquire with a few Surf Club Members, asking: “What got you into surfing?” 

“I did a summer surf camp in Doheny … I was seven at the time. I just loved it. I thought the sport was so sick, and I didn’t want to do any other sport.” 

Lilie Kulber

“We went on a family trip to Hawaii when I was five. My parents had me start surfing, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”  

Georgia Lockwood

At 7:30 in the morning, they fearlessly plunged into the water. The sets were tightly packed, providing non-stop waves and beautiful runs alike. This, combined with a chaotic lineup, provided multiple party waves, big airtime, a few 180s, and even a collision.  

Shoutout to everyone else on Surf Team that I couldn’t get on camera – it was unfortunate I had to leave early. But it was such a treat to watch everyone rip, and I will be back soon.