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The Don Patrol


Santa Barbara High School Surf Team Shreds to Victory in Scholastic Surf Series

Stoked SBHS surfers show the hardware won at recent contest.


    The morning opened up with an array of colors in the sky indicating that it was going to be a beautiful day.  As I drive by Rincon, it’s small, clean and offshore. I am hopeful that the conditions are going to remain the same as I head south towards Heavens.  As I arrive at the beach, the conditions are near perfect and my team is there, ready and anxious to get in the water.

    This year’s team, lead by captains Glennie Roders and Matt Maheri, had an outstanding performance. Of the 30 finalist spots in six divisions, the Dons locked in 11, putting a finalist through in every division. Stand out performances were produced by Matt Becker and Emy Yates who both took home 1st places in long boarding and placed in their short boarding heats as well.  Newcomer freshmen Isabelle Radis and Chris Imperatto hit the center stage Sunday securing two spots in the finals in their respective divisions.  Senior and captain, Matt Maheri, placed 3rd in the highly competitive Men’s short board final. Freshman Chris Imperatto placed 6th carving some power turns into the final heat.  Sophmore Matt Becker, placed 5th throwing some power turns and floaters into the finals as well.  Senior Tate Larrick slid into second place in the body board division, executing some moves never seen before on this team.  Women’s long board was won by Junior Emy Yates who tip toed her way to the nose and strait into first place. Men’s longboard final was an exciting heat to watch. The talent streaming from our freshmen this year is unbelievable.  Two freshmen, Jack Keough and Evan Trauntvein, sizzled in their first finals appearances and fought through chop and wind to place 5th and 6th place overall.


    The season is upon us in many ways and as the days grow shorter I think of this in two ways. In one way, the coast has awoken from the gloomy sun-ridden slumber we call summer and flourished into colorful sunrises, sunsets, and great surf. In the other way, it is competition season and we have jumped head first into two meets with contestable to great conditions weather and waves. Event number two of the Scholastic Surf Series took place at Oxnard’s Mandalay Beach Sunday with 3-4 ft waves and occasional larger sets, offshore winds most of the day, and an abundance of waves to appease both competitors and non-competitors alike.

    The Dons opened the day in a team-against-team faceoff against Buena High School of Ventura with great contest conditions. The first Men’s heat of the morning had Chris Imperatto, Sean Moffett, and Spencer Smith battling it out against their Buena competitors. Chris slid into the second round throwing some good combinations together while freshman teammate Spencer cranked some powerful turns off the lip, earning good scores from the judges and nabbing a first. Sean had great wave selection but did not get a chance to showcase his natural talents and was knocked out in the first round.  The second heat was lead by team captain Matt Maheri. Maheri put on a show of powerful turns and snap combos while Dryden Brown put his board on rail, executed great top to bottom surfing, and advanced as well.  New comer Matt Becker displayed his classic style in both short and longboard in his early heats easily advancing into the second round.  Women’s shortboard had some outstanding moments throughout the day. Freshman Isabelle Radis sat on a peak on the north end of the competition site and picked off some good set waves winning her heat. Captain Glennie Rodgers had a solid wave with a good score but wasn’t able to find a back up score and went down early. Teammate Emy Yates found a few corners and received some good scores advancing her into the next round.  The men’s Longboard heat had some tough competitors. Buena took the top spot in this heat but SB placed freshman Evan Trauntvein, and sophmore Matt Becker on to the next round. Though freshman Jack Keough rode some of the larger waves in the heat and showed the smoothest style, he fell short by a few points to advancing.  Evan had some solid nose rides with some hacks on the face of the wave that earned himself a spot in the second round.  At the end of the first round, Santa Barbara won 71-32 over Buena.

    As in many surf competitions the conditions deteriorated into the afternoon, making for some rough and tough surfing. By the time finals came around, the Dons had advanced six team members. Emy Yates with style and grace put it down in the finals and took home the top spot earning first in women’s longboard. This marks Emy’s second straight victory in this division. She will hopefully be getting the turkey at the next event at California Street in mid December. Isabelle Radis followed in her older brother and sister’s footsteps not only placing in the shortboard finals again, but taking the victory. Emy placed 3rd in this division picking a few long right handers. The last heat of the day was Men’s shortboard, by far, one of the most challenging heats of the day due to the low tide and strong on shore winds. Senior Matt Maheri placed 6th, struggling to find a wave in the washing machine conditions. Matt Becker, last week’s champ, in a close final placed second in longboard getting inched out of first by a hair.  Tate Larrick, our team comedian, proudly took home 5th in the Body board division making his second final of the season. The Dons record now stands at 2-0. The Dons will compete again on December 12th at Ventura’s famed C-Street.  More waves, more stories, more photos, and more fun are predicted.


    Special thanks to JP Garcia for the killer images and contest report!  Stay tuned to for continuing local high school surf competition coverage…