Santa Barbara Surf Club Takes COVID Hiatus

Santa Barbara Surf Club Takes COVID Hiatus title=
Photo: Jon Shafer / SBCSC
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By Connor Hanrahan

Since its inception, Santa Barbara County Surf Club (SBCSC) has provided a community environment for all interested surfers, stoke-seekers, and passionate Santa Barbara locals alike via good surf, monthly club meetings, intercounty surf competitions, and community service.

Upon creation in the 1970’s the surf club was limited to 60 members because the club was given a special invitation to Hollister Ranch. The invitation was eventually rescinded after Hollister Ranch was sold to a development company that eventually led to a private Hollister Ranch Owners' Association. Following this location shift, the surf club became more inclusive and community-oriented. [Learn more about Hollister Ranch's surf history in Tom Modugno's story here.]

The club wears their geographic affiliation on their sleeve. Santa Barbara has played a large role in the development of surfing with many famous board shapers and surfers refining their skills at the likes of Rincon, Campus Point, and Sandspit. Surf enthusiasts of all ages move to Santa Barbara to experience the mild weather, good surf, and better comradery. SBCSC exists to give all of these people a home. 

“I want people to join the surf club from all walks of life,” said SBCSC President James Pike. “I think that it should be open to everybody. From little kids who want to learn how to surf to teenagers who want to improve competitively and then older adults who want to have that connection with a real surf tribe.”

Despite its title, the club's morals outshine the need for surfing knowledge.

“People always ask me if they need to know how to surf, and I always answer ‘No,’ because you don’t need to know how to surf,” said former club president and longtime member Debra Trauntvein. “Some of us take people out and give them a little lesson on surfing.”

Typically, surfing is competitively recognized as an individual sport because of how solitary time on the water can be and how much room on a wave one needs to ride peacefully. But surfers do not need cell phones nor any means of communication in order to meet up when the time is right.

“Surfing is not really a social sport,” continued Pike. “The surf spot itself is the communication for all the surfers. We do not have to make phone calls to each other, we just wait for the waves to show up and everybody goes so we all see each other.”

SBCSC views surfing, as an activity, as the basis of the club which is why the club makes such a uniform effort to keep Santa Barbara as the surf haven it has always been. Throughout the year, the club hosts a variety of community service events ranging from toy giveaways for children to beach cleanups. The club has also partaken in the California “Adopt-A-Highway” program, where it kept part of Cliff Drive clean.

“If you love surfing and the ocean and want to meet great people and give back to the sport we love, then the SBCSC needs you!” the SBCSC Facebook page states.

SBCSC is currently on hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the club hopes to resume events as soon as attendance would be safe for everybody.

The club can be found on Instagram at @santabarbaracountysurfclub or Facebook at “Santa Barbara County Surf Club”.

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