Hurricane Sandy was a historic event for the New Jersey Shore, but Ocean City High School surf coach, Mark Miedama, remembers when his team's conference championship was scheduled on the day Sandy was supposed to hit.
"I was looking at my messages the other day, and I had said, 'Oh, it shouldn't be canceled. I think it's just going to be a big northeaster,'" he laughed at his enthusiasm. "We just made (the conference championship) up in April, that's the first time it's ever been put off that long."
The Ocean City High School Surf team won its 19th consecutive National Scholastic Surfing Association Northeast Conference championship. Miedama, 54, of Ocean City, has been teaching at Ocean City Intermediate School and coaching the surf team at Ocean City High School for 28 years.
The team has competed in the NSSA national championships twice; the second time was this past June, in Dana Point, Calif.
"The high school event, it's a two-day event," Miedama said. "It's pretty standard. It's basically 15 minutes, and the top two waves are scored 0-10. Ten is a perfect rate."
At nationals, each team goes into the water with nine surfers: there are six short boarders, two women, and one long boarder.
"It is a total team effort," Miedama said. "It's collective. It's not as many guys as you put into the water."
While Ocean City High School did not place in the top three teams at nationals, team captain Jimmy Naplacic, 18, of Ocean City, said that going to California for a surf trip was enough.
"I think we could have done better, but it was more about the experience than anything," Naplacic said. "It was a reason to go on a surf trip, pretty much."
"We got half of our guys out through the first round," Miedama said. "We had three of six guys get into second round, with one girl. A long boarder made it through two rounds but did not advance to the final."
In 2009, Ocean City High School was featured in an MTV 2 six-episode reality show that aired that December. Then, the high school competed in the Red Bull Riders Cup national championship, but did not walk away with the title.
Miedama said the difference in surf on the West Coast might factor into how the team performs in competition.
"They don't get the experience with the big waves, but when we go to the competitions and the waves are kind of small or not lined up, it kind of favors us," he said.
"That's one of the things that make East Coast surfers," Miedama said. "They surf junk!"
Miedama said tryouts for the Ocean City surf team will begin when school starts in September.
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