Panthers take the waves this fall

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The Point Boro surfing team will have its inaugural season this coming fall. [PHOTO COURTESY OF LINDA PEPPER]

POINT BORO — Thanks to community support and student interest, Point Boro will add a surfing club team to its athletic roster this upcoming fall season. 

After rising freshman Scarlett Scillia and her mother, Linda Pepper, started the process of forming a team last August, it was approved by the Point Boro Board of Education in January and now holds the interest of 20 high school students. The team, however, is considered a club by the administration making the Panthers a fully self-funded program with the help of fundraisers and sponsors. 

“It’s really rewarding to see how many kids were so excited to be a part of something at our school,” Pepper said. “This is an opportunity to be a part of the school’s athletics and it’s really important to have extra curricular activities for kids not involved in school sports.” 

Since surfing does not fall under the NJSIAA umbrella, Boro will compete under the NSSA [National Scholastic Surfing Association] and is a part of a four-school 2019 class that will join the NSSA this fall season, including crosstown rival Point Beach. With 25 total New Jersey teams to compete, the NSSA and local surfing communities are making a push to provide a scholastic surfing outlet in the Garden State.

“Surfing has become more mainstream than it is has been in the past and it offers a different option for a fall sport,” said NSSA Northeast Conference Regional Director Randy Townsend. 

“It’s really important that we stick together and keep going because maybe we will have the support from them and become a sport in the state.” 

Headed by coach and Boro teacher, Josh Nelson, the Panthers will have a leader with close to 40 years of surfing experience. He also headed the more informal club back in 2007-2008 but is excited to have a full-fledged team this year, with hopes of expanding the club team to a varsity sport in the future.

“It’s the perfect avenue for students or kids that aren’t all that interested in fall sports and who want to be a part of something both from a community and athletics perspective,” Nelson said. 

“I don’t want to say this puts us right up there with the other varsity sports, because we’re not really there yet, but it puts us on the same playing field and maybe we can be taken a little more seriously [than in the past]. This team really shows that there are ample opportunities for students of every interest level at Point Boro.”

The Panthers are hosting a fundraising event at the Shore House Bar and Grill in Point Pleasant on Aug. 29, from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 per person and include an open bar, food and a raffle ticket. The night will also include prizes, giveaways and a gift auction. You can also follow the Panthers on social media, on Instagram and Facebook @PointBoroSurfTeam. Those interested in registering for the team or looking to support can visit pointborosurfteam.com