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Strength in numbers for new surfing club

OCEANSIDE — A new club that aims to provide a collective voice for the city’s surfers has reached nearly 100 members after only a few months of accepting memberships.

“We needed to unify as a surf community,” said Jamey Stone, president and co-founder of the Oceanside Boardriders Club (OBC).

Stone said the club first started out as an Instagram account (@oceansideboardridersclub) that he helped set up last year with the goal of educating surfers about the community and giving back. The account attracted several like-minded surfers, Stone said, and eventually became a bona fide club with 11 elected board of directors members who make club decisions.

The club has only been accepting memberships for the last few months, and as of last weekend had more than 90 members signed up according to Stone. Members also don’t necessarily have to be surfers or Oceanside residents.

Stone grew up in Oceanside and has been surfing here for 38 years. Though the surf community has always stuck together throughout the years, he and other seasoned surfers have been seeing more new faces in the water as people continue to move into the city of more than 180,000 people.

Stone and the other OBC members welcome new surfers to the community, but they also want to teach those newcomers to respect the city and its surf traditions.

“They moved here, so they need to help keep the beaches clean and they need to be respectful in the lineup,” Stone said.

According to Stone, a certain hierarchy exists for surfers who have been riding waves in Oceanside for more than 30 or 40 years. Those who have been here longer usually get first grabs at the best waves, but someone new to the area may not be aware of that rule.

Stone added new surfers in the area need to respect the younger surfers and not bully them out of waves so that those youths don’t become disillusioned with the sport and give it up.

Surfing can be a selfish sport, Stone said, so respecting Oceanside’s rules is important.

“This is Oceanside, this is how it’s been,” he said. “We’d love to have you but play by the rules.”

Event Manager Scott Desiderio, who has been surfing in Oceanside for 25 years, likes the camaraderie between surfers that the group helps to facilitate. Though he recognized familiar faces in the water, he didn’t know a lot of names before the group formed.

“Now we’re getting to know each other outside of the water,” Desiderio said.

The Boardriders are also focused on giving back to Oceanside and looking after its beaches and waters.

The club had its first beach cleanup event at the pier in partnership with Linksoul, an Oceanside-based apparel brand, on July 13. The club expects to have more cleanup events in the future as well.

Additionally, the club is also planning on starting a scholarship program for young athletes and sponsoring high school surfing programs to encourage teens to continue surfing.

Creating a collective voice for surfers in the community is also useful for inspiring change. For example, the OBC supports local group !S.O.S.Oceanside!’s call for the city to install groins along several beaches to protect the its sand supply.

Though OBC’s main focus is on its community, it also aims to attract more surfing competition opportunities for its members as well.

The OBC is associated with a bigger collective known as the West Coast Board Riders (WCBR), which hosts surfing competitions between several board rider clubs from cities up and down the coast between San Diego and Ventura counties.

Desiderio said he originally reached out to Stone about the club associating with WCBR.

According to Desiderio, the club is starting to look for surfers to potentially represent Oceanside in the WCBR competitions, which begin in October.

The club needs to find four surfers for each age group: boys 13 years old and younger, men 15 to 19, men 20 to 29, men 30 to 39, men 40 to 49, men 50-plus and women of all ages. Alternatives will be chosen as well.

Those who are interested in becoming OBC members can sign up at oceansideboardriders.org.

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