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Club & Greek

Monmouth University Surf Club Places Second In National Red Bull Video Competition

In an attempt to win the Red Bull Bracket Reel Competition, the Monmouth University Surf Club fought to earn second place, just short to University of North Carolina at Wilmington where the winning collegiate surf team received an all expense paid trip to the North Shore of Hawaii.

Early in Oct., surf teams were handpicked to compete against each other in a head-to-head, bracket-style surf video contest, known as the Red Bull Bracket Reel. Viewer based voting keeps each team afloat in this single elimination matchup. The team with the most “likes” on their weekly video advances until a winner is crowned at the end of the third and final round.

“When teams were picked this year, only two east coast schools got picked and we [Monmouth University] were one of them,” said Max Goldberg, the Surf Club’s videographer. The other east coast school was University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Other universities selected were University of Hawaii – Monoa, Loyola Marymount University, University of California Santa Barbara, University of California Santa Cruz, University of California San Diego, and University of Southern California. “The competition fits us perfectly because we are a small school and NJ doesn’t have much recognition for getting waves as it is,” Goldberg said.

Both the members’ surfing and Goldberg’s videography were tested. Tyler Sankey, a junior health studies major and Surf Club President, said that he is going to surf the biggest wave possible given the opportunity while Goldberg stands ready behind the camera.

“I wanna show them my stuff and we all wanna push each other and make each other better and that’s what I think it’s all about honestly,” said Sankey.

The Surf Club produced a video based on a theme for each particular round, round one entitled “Best Days and Glory Waves,” round two, labeled “Kooks & Flukes, and round three was named “Style Files.” The viewer voting is the main surge that enables a team to carry on to the next round, however, each week, a member of the Red Bull Surf Team judges the themed video. Their respective favorite earns that team an extra 15 percent boost to their total “likes” accumulated. Ian Wash, a professional Big Wave and Free Surfer, judged round one. “I liked that quick cutting editing style in the beginning and also that it gave a look into what it is like to live that college lifestyle,” Walsh said. “I missed out on college so I always enjoy seeing what it looks like from behind the scenes.” Jamie O’Brien, a professional Free Surfer, refereed round two. Aaron Lieber, a professional Surf Filmmaker, decided round three.

Not only is Goldberg the videographer for the Surf Club, but he is also the Red Bull Student Brand Manager for Monmouth University. “Once I was told that Monmouth was picked as a university to compete,” Goldberg said, “I immediately reached out to Paul Kelly.” Goldberg, who was a friend with Kelly prior to Monmouth and knowing he was already a member, inquired about the Surf Club’s interest in the contest.

Although it seems obvious that Monmouth would have a surf club considering the schools proximity to the coast, it took until last fall semester for the club to get up and running. “It all started freshman year when we came to MU and we met a bunch of guys who like to surf and we didn’t have a surf club active here, so I met my friend Connor and we decided we wanted to start our own,” said Sankey.

Starting a club on Monmouth’s campus is more than just a declaration of presence. Monmouth surfers are everywhere, but receiving formal recognition on campus does not simply come with the consistent surfing that the club members do together. “It’s been kind of hard. You gotta track people down and get them to fill out waivers. It’s a lot of paperwork,” Sankey said. “Connor and I had to write up a constitution and that took time. So, we definitely put our hours in to starting this club and now that we are up and running I feel that we are only going to get bigger.”

Each club on campus must have an advisor who must be a faculty member that oversees all club activity. Matthew Harmon is a Specialist Communication Professor, but more importantly, he surfs. “I was asked if I was interested and I guess I fit with the idea of the club,” said Harmon. “I am really excited about how quickly the students got this off the ground. It’s their club and I can really see this taking off.”

Harmon’s advocacy for the Surf Club has been a huge asset for the guys and girls involved. “I have been so impressed with what the club has done with this [Bracket Reel Competition]… we already have knocked off schools from Cali and Hawaii and I think that speaks volumes about what the club is doing. I sent out a campus wide email to the student population encouraging them to vote for their classmates, given the club some ideas on getting votes, and most important I voted!” said Harmon.

During the voting period for the third and final round, the Surf Club members rallied together and set up a promotion table in the Student Center on campus. Connor Perzely, a junior graphic design major and Surf Club Vice President, along with other members gave out Broad Street Dough Co. donuts to students passing by. Members who were helping to promote explained what Surf Club was to anyone in the student body that was interested in surfing and they stressed that anybody is welcomed to join. “As Surf Club, we are trying to reach out to the whole school and let them know who we are. We had voting stations where people could go on and easily vote right there in the Student Center,” said Perzely.

Despite the Surf Clubs’ efforts and the undying support from students and faculty alike, Monmouth Surf Club did not receive the grand prize trip to Hawaii. Instead, the Surf Club will be granted second place prize, which is seven foam Catch Surfboards and a viewing party near the university campus, as determined in Red Bull’s sole discretion. “We were pretty bummed about losing the contest, but when you look at the bright side, we went up against some of the best surfing colleges in the country and I think we definitely made a name for ourselves and put Monmouth on the map,” said Sankey after the voting period came to an end.

PHOTOS COURTESY of Ryan Gallagher