Pacific University lies just an hour from the Pacific Ocean. Outdoor Pursuits (OP) here on campus offers a handful of surfing courses and excursions throughout the fall and spring, including the surf series that recently wrapped up. The surf series is comprised of two class days and three days out on the water.
The classes teach everything needed to feel confident in the water, like safety procedure, how waves form and even a little bit of fluid dynamics. Professor Aaron Greer, an anthropology specialist here at Pacific, as well as an avid surfer of 30 years, says that this structure is very important in teaching beginners to surf.
“It helps tremendously,” Greer says. “It gets them understanding the skills and body techniques they’ll need to be able to surf.”
The series goes to an array of locations along the Oregon coast. Short Sands, which Greer describes as “a classic beginner beach” is located in a cove in Oswald West State Park. The cove is a perfect beach for beginners because it’s protected from much of the winds that would amplify waves.
Oceanside is another beach surfing students have traveled to this year. It’s much more open so the waves are usually a little bigger, making surfing more of a challenge according to Greer.
The surf series is a popular outing at OP. Since it has been offered, it’s held a positive track record with enticing students to get out on the water, and that’s not a coincidence. The surfing voyage that OP offers to incoming freshman is one of the first to fill up.
“Surfing’s growing in popularity. It’s a global thing,” says Greer. “Everybody wants to learn to surf — I see whole families going trying to learn.”
Unfortunately, those looking forward to going surfing with OP will have to wait until April. For those who want to go on their own time but don’t have the gear, OP does offer rentals for all sorts of gear, including surfboards, at cheap student prices.
Other upcoming outings include a stand-up paddle boarding trip, white water rafting and an outdoor rock climbing excursion.