Despite campus being about 60 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Penn students created a new club to hit the waves together.
College and Wharton first year Emily Grossarth, with the help of College junior Olivia Klubeck, founded the Penn Surf Club this fall to create an opportunity for students interested in surfing to form a community.
According to the Penn Clubs website, the club will provide opportunities for members to participate in both competitive and non-competitive surfing. The club will organize trips to New Jersey beaches for members to surf together. The student leaders also plan have more casual events for members to bond.
Although the group cannot yet surf together because of the coronavirus pandemic, Grossarth and Klubeck want to begin by building up the club’s community through online meetings. They plan to have virtual watch parties of the World Surf League Championship Tour as well as surf-themed movies such as Blue Crush and Big Wednesday.
Grossarth said that she wanted to get involved with some sort of surf community at Penn, adding that “there’s no better way than to start one."
“I’ve been surfing since I was about four or five years old, so it’s definitely always been a part of my life,” said Grossarth, who is currently living off-campus in Philadelphia.
The club's leaders said they have been advertising the club mainly through Instagram, Facebook, and other forms of social media.
The Surf Club had its first GBM on Nov. 9 on Zoom. Grossarth said the club had around ten to fifteen students attend, adding that the meeting had “a lot of positive energy.”
Once restrictions on in-person activities are lifted, the club hopes to facilitate group trips to the Jersey Shore. The club also plans to coordinate storage for members’ surfing equipment.
The club hopes to encourage members to compete in National Scholastic Surfing Association competitions, Grossarth said. Since surfing is not an NCAA sport, the club is not affiliated with Penn Athletics.
The club also plans to have drafts for the fantasy surfing league, which Grossarth said is similar to fantasy football.
Grossarth, who is from New Jersey, and Klubeck, who is from Santa Monica, California, said that they have surfed quite often during the pandemic. Klubeck added that surfing is “the best social distance activity."
“If you’re not socially distancing while you’re surfing, you’re probably doing something wrong,” Grossarth said.
Grossarth hopes that this club will foster a new community on campus, as she said surfing is “such a unique experience that I think inherently brings together such a strong community.”