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SLO County Board Riders Club unites around love of waves and county 

Tony Foster remembers the first time he fell in love with surfing the waves in Cayucos. In 1976, he was moving from San Luis Obispo to Cayucos, and he was dead set on learning how to surf.

"I was bent on learning how to surf because I was going to live at the beach. So that was it," Foster said.

His brother bought him a surfboard from the Sunset Drive-In flea market, and the rest was history. Every day, he would walk from his house to the beach, and he learned how to ride the waves at 11 years old.

click to enlarge TRIBE Young and old, there is no age barrier when it comes to sharing a love for riding the waves of the Central Coast or being a member of the SLO County Board Riders Club. - PHOTO BY KAREN GARCIA
  • Photo By Karen Garcia
  • TRIBE Young and old, there is no age barrier when it comes to sharing a love for riding the waves of the Central Coast or being a member of the SLO County Board Riders Club.

"I still have that feeling, the same stoke and froth, if you will, that I had when I was 11 years old. I'll be 53 in August," he said with a pause. "I get up at dawn every morning to go surfing."

Foster is team captain of the SLO County Board Riders Club. It's a club for men and women who share a love of surfing in San Luis Obispo County, and it formed earlier this year. Club President Scott Vanderripe said there was a need for a club like this because there are many individuals who share a love for the water.

"SLO County Board Riders Club is all about the beaches, the ocean, and our camaraderie. At the same time we have a team that competes," Vanderripe said. "It's all about hometown pride."

What makes this collective group special is that the surfers range in both ages and skill. There are pros who have surfed for 40-plus years and kids who are still learning how to tackle the swell. Vanderripe said the club has seven divisions, or age groups: 14 and under, 15 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 and up, and open girls (girls of all ages).

Foster said bringing all the ages together creates a fun and safe experience where surfers can learn from one another.

"It's all about mentoring. It's all about the youth rather than us older people that have been there, done that. Although we still have our competitive juices flowing, so it's not like we're throwing in the towel," he said.

Learning to surf on the Central Coast is a different experience compared to Southern California, Foster said. The water is usually colder and the climate differs, he said, so it makes the surf a bit tougher.

"It's not Southern California's warmer weather and nice beaches. You really got to want it to make it here on the Central Coast," he said.

It's all about creating a community for people who love surfing up and down the county's coastline. Vanderripe said their team is definitely the underdog compared to those in Huntington Beach, Encinitas, and Newport Beach. But that doesn't stop them from giving it their all during competition.

Club Vice President Dave Friesen, aka "Mouse," said that the team competed on March 3 in Huntington Beach. While the team didn't take home the cup, they still surfed very well. The team has been training and working toward the next competition, May 12 in Ventura Point.

Friesen said the club is open to anyone who wants to join, it's not exclusive.

"We plan to do beach clean-ups, to give back to the community, because there is a common bond amongst board riders that have an appreciation for the ocean, the surf, and clean beaches," Friesen said.

Fast fact

Greener Environments, an award-winning local landscaping design, installation, and maintenance company, will now be known as Wild Bloom. The new name reflects founders Luke and Melody Huskey's passion for native plants in addition to sustainable landscaping and design. After five years of serving clients across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, the brand is evolving with a new website, as well, to better serve its customers. To learn more about the company and its services, visit wildbloomlandscapes.com. Δ

Staff Writer Karen Garcia wrote this week's Strokes and Plugs. Send tidbits to strokes@newtimesslo.com.

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