Hangin’ 10 With Harvard

Ever since Michelangelo proclaimed, “Cowabunga, dude!” in one of the earlier runs of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the surfing community has amassed a fringe group of followers. But with the development of the Harvard Surf Club and the Ivy League Surf Association (ILSA) over the past three years, the once-niche sport might finally move out of the sewer world and through the Ivy gates.

Fresh off the team’s second-place performance this past weekend at the Third Annual ILSA Fall Invitational, club president Ryan S. Alfred ’05 was giddy as he spoke about the recent popularization of surfing in the ivory towers.

When the club was founded in 2002, it was mostly a collection of guys who sat around and watched surf movies. Today, Alfred has moved the focus of the club beyond Point Break viewing sessions and into intercollegiate competition, which he coordinates with presidents of other surf clubs throughout the Ivy League and on the East Coast. Alfred has even moved into cyber-land to recruit talent.

“Basically, [Alfred] just went through all of the facebook profiles in the class of ’08, saw who put down surfing, and then e-mailed them,” says Joshua A. Kobza ’08, a Florida native who won the individual title at the tournament last Saturday. “I didn’t have any equipment [to compete], but they said that they could round some up and give me a ride down.”

Alfred’s work to expand the club has also spread beyond the Yard. Kobza credits Alfred for much of the organization of the actual tournament, which featured eight schools and 45 different surfers, a big step up from previous years.

But despite the growth of these competitions, Alfred insists that the club is still fairly informal.

“Though the majority of kids tend to be from California or the [East] Coast, we really welcome anyone,” Alfred says.

Teenage mutant ninja turtles included.