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Athlete of the Month Junior Catherine Crichton: recreational surfer

Compiled by Anyi Cheng

Published in the May 22, 2015 issue

The Oracle: Why did you start surfing? Catherine Crichton: I thought that since I live in California, I should learn to surf. My sister was really into it at the time; she was interested in pro surfing and all that. One day we suddenly decided to start learning to surf. We just got in the water, started paddling and that was that!

TO: What was your first time surfing like? CC: My first time surfing was with one of my best friends in fifth grade. We went down to my beach house in Monterey and brought one of her huge hardtops and one windsurfing board to Asilomar Beach. The main goal for the day was to teach me, my twin sister and my dad how to surf, which I think worked out fairly well. By the end of the day, we were all on the surfboards getting pushed into the white water and tiny waves as we tried to stand up together.

TO: When do you surf?
CC: I used to surf at least once a week. I would wake up at 5 or 6 a.m., depending on the condi- tions, and go over to Santa Cruz. I would be paddling out to the lineup while watching the sunrise and would be driving to school before I would even think about being awake on a normal day. Nowadays, I hardly ever go be- cause it’s junior year and I’m recovering from injuries, but I do wish I could go more often. TO: You mentioned that you started to learn to surf with your sister. How is your relation- ship with her in regards to surfing?

CC: One of my biggest challenges is the com- petition with her. I’m more into longboarding and stuff like that, but she’s a shortboarder, so she’s really intense and competitive. Short- boarders are like that.

TO: Where do you surf?
CC: In Santa Cruz, I usually go to Cowells, Steamers Lane, The Hokok, 38th and Pleasure Point. I’ve also gotten the chance to go surf- ing at Rincon in Southern California before, which was a very exciting opportunity because that’s a spot fairly famous for the pros. I’ve also surfed at a few places in Hawaii and through- out the rest of California. The most exciting place that I went to recently was Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu. It was very interesting to get to see the pro houses.

TO: What has been one of your greatest personal challenges when it comes to surfing? CC: One of my greatest personal challenges when it comes to surfing is doubting myself. It can be hard to feel good about yourself when there are grumpy old dudes in the lineup who have decided that you are the person they will lecture about what is or isn’t considered to be a party wave. I’ve also had a lot of injuries that have held me back, which has been tough. TO: What is unique about surfing?

CC: In my opinion, surfing is different from other sports because it is more of an art form. Also, conditions are always changing, which keeps you on your toes and makes every- thing more interesting. You also have to have knowledge about tides and how to read waves correctly; that makes the sport complex.

TO: How would you describe surfing to some- one who has had no experience surfing?
CC: Surfing isn’t something someone can really describe; the rush is unlike anything I had ever experienced. The feeling you get is a lot like how you feel when you’re skiing on an empty slope under perfect conditions, and you’re hitting all your turns perfectly and you feel like your life is falling into place. In the beginning, learning how to paddle correctly was difficult but once I got that down, I real- ized that all the hard work had been worth it.

TO: What is your most memorable experience surfing?
CC: I once went night surfing with my twin sister and my best friend. We rigged ourselves with glow sticks and got these huge stand-up paddleboards. We couldn’t really see anything, so we just kept paddling until we felt a wave, and then we’d stand up. It was really exciting.

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