On June 16, 2014, Florida’s own UNF surf team made quite a rumble in the west coast dominated National Scholastic Surfing Association’s National Championships, which took place in Dana Point, California.
Every year, colleges from all over the country compete in their respective regions to have a go at the National Championship at Salt Creek. Each team, representing their school, competes on an individual basis, in which the highest scoring and furthest advancing surfers gain points for their team. At the end of the contest, whoever’s team has the most points wins, and this year, UNF made a valiant effort with their 4th place finish at the event.
This 4th place finish means UNF broke their own school record for its best performance to date at nationals. Additionally, they placed the highest out of any of the east coast teams in the competition. Not only was the team recognized for their performance as a squad, but they also earned honors for the individual performances of surfers as well.
The UNF ladies took the competition by storm. The team’s top performer was freshman, Emily Ruppert. In her past, before enrolling at UNF, Emily had a successful amateur surfing career and has always been one to excel on the individual side of the sport. This time though, Emily carried the team on her back winning the women’s shortboard event. Emily ripped her way through each round taking the event by a substantial margin. Ruppert also received the NSSA Chuck Allen Memorial Trophy, which in the college surfing world is considered the Heisman Trophy of the sport. She had quite a run!
Kayla Durden finished right behind Ruppert and surfed consistently throughout the whole event as well. She fell short to her teammate in the closing minutes of competition, leaving the two sweeping the women’s competition.
Patrick Nichols placed second in the men’s longboard division and made it far into the shortboard rounds as well. It was a great final once the longboarders hit the water, and in a close battle with fellow east coast longboarder, and Flagler College surfer Josh Richardson, Nichols fell just short of the top prize. Nichols has been making a solid run individually as a competitive longboarder around the east coast and Florida as well, so this probably won’t be the last time you hear his name either.
In the end, it all came together with the time and effort spent collectively organizing the team, fundraising and making the trip to California a reality, and it was all under the management of team captain, Adam Bartoshesky. His efforts didn’t go without notice when the day came to a close either. For the first time in east coast college surf history, a captain from an east coast school was named captain of the year by the prestigious NSSA. That man was Bartoshesky. Although Bartoshesky was excited with his award, at the end of the day, he was most stoked on the overall performance of the team.
“We finished the competition 4th overall out of about 20 teams from both the East and West Coast. The top 4 teams made the podium and received trophies, so we were stoked to hear the news at the end of the day! We ended up finishing as the top team from the East Coast,” Bartoshesky said.
The University of North Florida definitely made some noise out in California. Being the team known in North Florida for throwing huge parties and great events to raise money to compete in this event, they wanted to thank the Jacksonville community for the support this year and for giving the UNF Surf Team the opportunity to earn best result in school history.
“The team raised over $2,500 to take the trip to nationals and it was all from local donors and fundraisers put on for the community, so the team owes this to Jax too,” said Bartoshesky.
With every surfer on the team returning next year except for one, and several highly-talented surfers entering the UNF freshman class, the team has high hopes for the 2014/15 NSSA College Surfing Season in September. They also have several other surfers who were not able to make it to California this year, but will be competing next year, so next year’s season is looking very promising for UNF.
For more information on the team, and what’s going on with them now, and in the future, follow them on Instagram @UNFsurfteam or visit their Facebook page here.