Fall, winter camps to meet at three local beaches
Surf Happens, Santa Barbara’s longest running surf school, is continuing to live up to its name by running Fall Day Camps during the Thanksgiving break from Monday through Nov. 27 at Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, Leadbetter Point in Santa Barbara and Campus Point in Goleta.
Winter Camps will run for three sessions from Dec. 21 to 24, Dec. 28 to 31 and Jan. 4 to 8.
“COVID-19 protocols will be in place. One of the safest, happiest places to be is outside and in nature, and the ocean provides a reprieve from the stresses of school and work and a connection to tribe as youth and adults alike enjoy the ocean and community together,” said Chris Keet, who founded Surf Happens in 2000 and now runs the operation with his wife, Jenny Keet, from their school at Santa Claus Lane, along with a surf shop, also on Santa Claus Lane.
“We decided to cancel the 2021 Rincon Classic surfing event to best support safety and health within the community. It is the area’s oldest and most revered surfing contest. In January, it would have been the 39th year of the event. We have postponed it to Jan. 15 and 16, 2022,
but there will be an online video contest/virtual event for 2021 with submissions being taken for the best wave of the winter at Rincon Point with age divisions that generally run at the Classic from the 12 and under to the Legends 56 and up, and the professional division.”
Mr. Keet, who was raised on a boat in the Santa Barbara Harbor from the ages of 3 to 18, said, “We have taught the sport of surfing and the spirit of Aloha to students of all ages and abilities from 11 months to 88 years old, raising generations of surfers both locals and visitors.
“The ocean was my first love and passion. I was an aspiring young surfer with dreams of becoming a professional surfer and segwayed my passion and athleticism into local surf contests and advanced surf coaching while a student at UCSB.”
From 1996 through 2006, Mr. Keet ran the Santa Barbara Surf Series, which evolved in 2000 to offer year-round surf camps, lessons and a full-service surf school named Surf Happens.
“Since then, we have taught more than 25,000 surfers and have operated satellites in China, the Philippines and Indonesia,” said Mr. Keet, a five-time national surfing champion and seven-time West Coast champion who was inducted into the UCSB Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 2013, he was inducted into the National Scholastic Surfing Association Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement for coaching and giving back to the sport of surfing.
“Our programs focus on teaching the art and sport of surfing as well as etiquette and how to surf in crowds and show respect in the local line-ups,” he said. “From the first steps of learning the fundamentals of ocean safety, etiquette and basic techniques of what we refer to as the first (Turtle Phase) to intermediate, competitive surfer seeking a national title to the professional level, our team of expert coaches will systematically help people achieve their goals their goals with guaranteed methods and results.
“We believe that surfing is one of the most fun things we as human beings can experience, along with a lifestyle that dreams are made of. Our approach is unique in that we have created a teaching methodology and structure along with a training system that resembles a martial art with phases of progressive learning for all levels.”
Surf Happens instructors include Adam Lambert, Pete Mussio, Brandon Benjamin, Ally Bortolazzo, Chloe Brown, Jade Perkins, Jade Blair, Erin Mcgeoy, Kenna Reyner, Nick Valiunas, Jack Wall and Nathan Asaro among others.
The company also offers after-school and home-school programs, and a new chapter will launch on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 26, with “How to Surf-Pro Series,” offering free online surfing tutorials from basic to elite.
“The idea has been on the books for a long time, but during the COVID-19 restrictions, event cancellations and the changing economic climate, it allowed for time to devote to the program development and launch,” said Mr. Keet.
The first of three tutorials on Nov. 26 will be ‘How to Do a Cutback with Lakey Peterson.” New tutorials will drop each Thursday and feature tips from Ms. Peterson, Conner Coffin, Parker Coffin, Micky Clarke, Eithan Osborne and others. To view them, visit www.surfhappens.com.
“Surf Happens has always taught by using examples of the best surfers in the world, and now our ‘How to Surf-Pro Series’ has them teaching their signature moves in their own words,” Mr. Keet said, noting that the Surf Happens Foundation is a nonprofit supporting area youth with free environmental programs and surf days.
“We believe surfing promotes a healthy lifestyle as well as a connection to the self and others that empowers and builds self-confidence and belief that anything is possible.”