15th Street Surf Club members in Del Mar share a special connection

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From a small group of surfers emerged a group that now calls itself the 15th Street Surf Club, where members can be found in the lineup at the beach near its namesake street in Del Mar.

“Our group got larger, and it became larger and larger and larger until almost everybody in the lineup was part of the group and we decided we should come up with a name,” said JD Stull, one of the 30 or so members. “The Del Mar Surf Club was taken, so we took the 15th Street Surf Club.”

The 15th Street Surf Club formally began about a year and a half ago.

“Everybody knows each other,” added Bill McFarlane, another member. “They cheer each other on, they give each other waves. It’s really sort of contrary to what surfing is, so much so that people come from other places and they’re like, there’s a vibe here that I haven’t seen anywhere else up and down the coast. And it’s a good vibe.”

McFarlane is also in charge of merchandise, which can only be acquired by being a member and attending one of the group’s annual parties that it holds in the summer and around the holidays. The most recent one was held Dec. 4 at Stull’s house.

Beyond surfing, the group has also provided a sense of community to its members, including activities and other gatherings out of the water.

“I get to start every morning by going out and hanging with my friends,” Stull said. “I got out of a 17-year relationship last year, and having this club was just a great support group.”

Many of the members are in their 40s and 50s, but also includes a father and son as well as a diverse overall lineup of surfers.

“There are a few what I would call started-in-the-pandemic type of surfers,” McFarlane said, “but the average person there has surfed 15, 20 years.

“It’s like a fellowship,” he added. “Try to get more and more people to buy into this support-each-other mode out on the water. That’s our bigger vision here, spreading the Aloha of surfing out on the water.”

(Except for the first photo above, all other photos are by Jon Clark)


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