By Rob LeDonne
Solana Beach resident and Torrey Pines High School senior Kyle Timm first learned to surf when he was around 10 years old. “My brother and dad always surfed,” he remembers. “I would always go to the shore to hang out with them. I’ve been surfing every day since.” Kyle took after his older brother Dale, and when Dale joined the surf team at Torrey Pines High School, Kyle thought he’d like to join someday as well. When he became a freshman at Torrey Pines he finally did.
Coached by ex-professional surfers Shea Roney and Ryan Judson, the Torrey Pines High School Surf Team takes full advantage of the school’s proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and has been around for as long as Kyle can remember.
“We have about 30 or 40 kids on the team, and normally around 10 or 15 of our best surfers go to competitions,” he explains. Practice is only one day a week at Del Mar Beach, but most kids on the team, many of whom have been surfing for much of their lives like Kyle, surf every day regardless of practice. However, being on the team makes everyone better surfers individually thanks to the guidance of Roney and Judson.
“During practice they’ll watch and sometimes film us, giving us pointers afterwards on how to improve our surfing skills. It’s very helpful to have that; since they both surfed professionally, they know a lot about surfing in competition,” Kyle said.
Perhaps that’s the reason why the team is known as one of the best not only in North County, but the San Diego area in general. Just recently, the team competed in the Oakley High School Surf Team challenge, which lures 10 high school teams from around the area to compete for a grand prize of $5,000. Kyle was one out of the four-person team representing Torrey Pines, and notes that competitions are much more nerve wracking than just going out there for fun.
“It’s stressful because you’re not just competing for yourself, you’re competing for your school,” Kyle said. “There’s a lot on the line, but it makes it more fun if you do well, because you do well for everyone.”
The competition is set up by having one member of the team go out into the water to surf three separate waves the best he can; when they’re done with the three, they run back to the shore and tag the next person. Each wave is judged closely, and the team members’ highest scoring waves are then averaged together.
“It was very close,” said Kyle, who eagerly awaited hearing the results with his teammates. “This year, one of our key surfers was on vacation, so we didn’t know how we’d do.”
Fortunately, Torrey Pines came out on top, winning by just one point, narrowly beating the team from Carlsbad. “They’ve only held this competition for two years, and we came in first both years,” explained Kyle. “It felt really good.”
As a result, the grand prize of $5,000 was donated to the school’s science and athletic departments.
The surf team’s season stretches all year long, and is about to wrap up. After graduation, Kyle is planning on attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo to study engineering and, of course, continue to surf. Said Kyle of his time with the Torrey Pines team: “It’s been fun.”