Diamond Bar High School has added a new club to its extensive list: the Diamond Bar High School Surf Club.
Membership is still small at eight members, but enthusiasm is high.
"I love the beach, and the water," said club president Luke Klein. "I know other kids at school do, too. This will be an opportunity for us to show leadership as we enjoy the surf and sand. I'm excited we found eight so far, and Mrs. Benner is advising us. She was more than happy to help us get started."
Lisa Benner has been a surfer for years, but her keen interest in the sport will have to wait until the arrival of her baby later this year.
"It is really neat that there are students on campus who are passionate about surfing," she said. "It is a wonderful sport and not one that you hear much about once you get outside of the beach communities. It is great to share a common interest with the students; they are a great group of guys and I hope that the Surf Club flourishes."
The group also has the support of guidance counselor Dave Desmond.
“I think it’s great," he said. "We look forward to seeing more from the Surf Club. It’s so cool to have these students take the initiative and start up a club here in Diamond Bar. I guess we’re far enough from the ocean that no one has thought of creating one before. I’ve seen pictures of them on the waves, and they’re the real deal.”
Over Labor Day weekend, the Surf Club had its first official outing at Huntington Beach. Klein, Vice President Kevin Dao, Secretary Stephen Hong, Vishal Bhupathiraju, and Aaron Oh met to test their skills. Kevin’s father, Kiet Dao, provided the surfboards and lessons, and family members came to cheer the club on.
While the riding the waves, the surfers caught the attention of Orange County Register staff photographer Armando Brown.
“I’m here taking pictures of the beach for a story on lifeguards, but the guys here make great background shots!” he said.
Surfing and skim boarding were the activities at Huntington, and Kevin Dao enjoyed the day,
“I’m stoked to be a founding member (of the DBHSSC) with Luke," he said. "It would be fun to teach people how to surf and skimboard. Our first meeting went pretty well. Although the waves were a bit rough for teaching the beginners, it was really fun to skimboard with everyone.”
The beach was full and the waves challenging, but everyone had a chance to try their best. Klein caught the first wave of the day on Kiet Dao’s surfboard, making it look easy, but it proved harder to catch many more.
“The water was very cold; I should have brought a wetsuit," he said. "I didn’t think I needed one this time of year.”
Kiet Dao was happy to bring the boards and provide transportation.
“I had to learn to surf to be with my son," he said. "I’m glad to bring his friends along too, if they need a ride. It’s a healthy sport.”
Hong added, “I feel that helping to start this club is a tremendous honor. I think that this club isn’t only about wanting to go to the beach more, but to have fun with new friends.”
From left: Kiet Dao, Kevin Dao, Vishal Bhupathiraju, Donovan Klein, Aaron Oh, Stephen Hong, and Luke Klein.