Scripps Hosts Second Annual Student Surfing Clinic


The office of the average American looks a lot like that of a detention cell: confined cubicles stacked beside one another, smashed in-between the concrete walls of a high rise building.

But not at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.

With views of the ocean peaking up over every desk, a sticky, salty ocean breeze slipping in every window, and surfboards leaning on every office wall, the coastal environment of Scripps is anything but average.

“It’s pretty nice to be able to look out onto the water anytime I want; I think it keeps me calm,” said Adam Petersen, one of two graduate coordinators in the Scripps Department Office.

This atmosphere, combined with top-notch research facilities and expansive educational offerings, are just a few of the most appealing qualities drawing world-class students to Scripps. Coming from different areas around the globe, however, the “life’s a beach” attitude may not be familiar to the newly admitted graduate students.

This is the reason behind the second annual Scripps Student Surfing Clinic, held on September 25. On this endless summer day, three UCSD Recreation surf instructors came together to teach these graduate students how to take advantage of their surroundings.

“It’s important to make sure they understand that the very best place to get exercise and relax is right next to them and is always open,” said Petersen. “There's a very prevalent surfing culture at Scripps and we wanted to give our new students the opportunity to join in.”

The class, designed for beginners, taught ocean safety and surfing techniques to the incoming graduate students, as well as any current Scripps staff and faculty who wished to participate, giving them a hands-on guide into the world of surfing.

“We have a lot of really good surfers among our students and when there's so many of them out in the water on any given day, I think it's a bit intimidating for people just starting out,” said Petersen.

For a few hours, students explored the waves just north of the Scripps Pier. The day was filled with laughter, determination, and most importantly, an opportunity for new students to meet one another and bond over their newfound love of surfing.

The clinic had such an impact on Caitlin Coomber, marketing communications specialist for the Sea Grant office at Scripps, that she is trying to make surfing a part of her daily routine.

“I was so inspired that I went out and bought a longboard and a wetsuit,” Coomber said.

For more information about surfing lessons with the UCSD Recreation department, please visit:

- Mia Mendola is a public relations intern for the Scripps Institution of Oceanography communications office and a graduate from the Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo journalism department

Related Image Gallery: Scripps Second Annual Student Surfing Clinic

Sign Up For
Explorations Now

explorations now is the free award-winning digital science magazine from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Join subscribers from around the world and keep up on our cutting-edge research.