The OLu surf program is entering its inaugural year, led by former volleyball coach Marc Laulhere.
By Maddy Dwyer
After many years on the sideline, Marc Laulhere retired from his position as head coach of the boys volleyball team after the 2015-16 season.
But he was not ready to give up the title of “coach” just yet.
Soon after his retirement announcement, Orange Lutheran was in the process of developing a new surf program. And this seemingly arduous task was to be taken on by none other than Laulhere.
The volleyball coach turned surf instructor has had as much experience with surfing as he has with volleyball, if not more. Surfing has run in his blood from a very young age, Laulhere explained.
“It is my No. 1 favorite sport,” Laulhere said. “I have been surfing since third grade. I competed when I was younger on NSSA (National Scholastic Surfing Association) and I still compete now on WSA (Western Surfing Association) with my age group.”
The idea for the surf program, it turns out, came from Head of School Leslie Smith, who saw a high demand for a team.
“There were a lot of kids who wanted to go here that surf, but ended up going to other schools just because we did not have a surf team,” Laulhere said. “Even at Orange Lutheran already there were forty-five kids who wanted to join, but could not get their schedules changed.”
Orange Lutheran set out to meet this demand, and with 20 kids on the first-ever OLu surf team, it looks like the school is well on its way to having a successful program.
The experiences of each team member varies, with some having surfed their entire lives and some having taken it on as a new hobby.
The team practices every red day morning at Bolsa Chica State Beach, where they all bring their own boards. The surf team is part of the Seaview League with schools such as Corona Del Mar, Mater Dei, Los Alamitos, Long Beach Wilson, Long Beach Poly, and Long Beach Millikan. There are three different divisions: girls and boys shortboard, girls and boys longboard, and girls and boys bodyboard. Teams face off against each other twice and at the end of the season there is a championship meet where each team looks to take home the title of Seaview League champions.
With Orange Lutheran already having so many traditional sports teams, surfing will add a unique aspect to the athletic department, partly due to the fact that surfers wake up at 4:30 a.m. for practice.
When asked about this unique commitment Jenah Tittle, a senior on the surf team, said, “Just like any other sport, there are practices you have to go to to get better and there are always ways you can improve. I know for surfing, to keep up with everyone, I have to keep my arms in shape so that is something I am always working on. Surfing is really something you have to love since you wake up so early in the morning for it.”
The love for and dedication to surfing that Tittle explained is something that Laulhere said is universal among all twenty kids on the surf team.
“The kids are great. They are really into it and committed.”
Adding the surf program to Orange Lutheran, Laulhere said, will, “Create another community for kids to come together in fellowship with something that they are passionate about: surfing.”
Senior Nick Fitzgerald commented on the fellowship of which Laulhere spoke.
“Surfing is where I can experience nature with my friends. Just me, the ocean, and a couple of rad dudes.”
For years Orange Lutheran has been providing kids with different ways to showcase their talents, explore their interests, and find what they love to do. With the new surf program, the school is adding just one more avenue in which students can do just that.
Laulhere and the rest of the team are looking to having an enjoyable inaugural first season and represent both Orange Lutheran and God well out on the waves.