Surfing Safari

Palisades senior captain Laurel Weitz took third place in the longboard competition on Sunday in the first Scholastic Surf Series meet of the season at Zuma Beach in Malibu.
Photo: Steve Galluzzo

Werner and Weitz Lead Pali High Surfers in First Meet at Zuma Beach 

By STEVE GALLUZZO | Sports Editor

When she entered the water for the first time last Sunday morning at Zuma Beach, Laurel Weitz  never imagined she would be in the final group some six hours later at the awards ceremony.    

So no one was more surprised or happy than her  that she finished third in the girls longboard division in only her second Scholastic Surf Series event. The Palisades High senior has been on the surf team all four years but hadn’t competed in a high school meet since last winter in Ventura.

“I used to be too anxious but I got a lot better and wanted to try,” said the lifelong Palisadian, who was named one of the captains because she is a senior and she is reliable. “I have quick sessions in the water because I have a rapid moving life and mind. I catch what I can and get out. What makes this hard is the pressure of people watching and scoring you. Since you only have 15 minutes you have to be smart about what waves to catch.”

Weitz also advanced to the shortboard semifinals despite only practicing for several months.

“In the last three years I don’t think we’ve ever had anyone place so high,” Pali High Coach James Buckman said. “Laurel surfed smart. She got in good positions to catch the right waves… the smaller waves that had better shape as opposed to the set waves that were bigger but closed out.”   

Palisades’ other captains are sophomore Trey Buck and senior Stone Lerner, who advanced out his heat in shortboarding on Sunday.

Rounding out this year’s surf team are Zion Irvine, Christopher Pettit, Matthew Bertram, Itai Feldman, Joe Fisher, Liam Conrad, Erica Davis, Sean Botansky, Richard Elliot, Ethan Ngyuen, Brennan Clark, Liam Bergerton, Max Judah, Aliyah Walker, Emily Guy, Lucas Lombardo, Jenna Barad, Blake Pecsok, Gregory Rachal, Maximo Speiser, Mia Takaki, Zoe Morgan, Jesse Solomon, Oona Fitzmaurice, Jackson Hammill and Holland Peil.