In the middle of the bay, where the wave breaks from the rock, dozens of Malibu Sharks Surf Team members rode the Leo Carrillo State Beach waves for the last practice of the season.

The Malibu Sharks Surf Team is a community organization that supports the development of local children through surfing. After the surf, trophies, certificates and speeches were given during the year end ceremony at the Leo Carrillo amphitheater. The event acknowledges team members who have worked hard throughout the season.

Arpie Petkus, social media and team communications volunteer for Malibu Sharks Surf Team, said the weather was perfect for the kids to surf, even though the area was a bit challenging Petkus said it was a good way to finish the season.

“Today was very uplifting for us because we had a very hard year, very few events with all the kids, and in Malibu there weren’t a lot of sports and so John and I said, ‘We can surf, it’s safe for them,’” Petkus said. “It was great because we just haven’t had a lot of opportunities to be together and everyone says the beach is one of the safest places to be.”

Sharks Surf Team

After the final team surf, parents, students and volunteers enjoyed tacos before the ceremony at the Leo Carillo amphitheater, with Petkus and president John Cross handing out the accolades.

“John is such an advocate for all these kids; it doesn’t matter if you’re the most advanced surfer or you’re just starting, he’s always encouraging everyone,” Petkus said. “One of the things we say is we’re a surf family and I really feel like they’re such a good spirit.”

Cross said they saw a 20 percent uptick in membership this year and said it was due to people being home during quarantine. 

“We started more as a social club, surfing together just for fun. [We] didn’t know we were going to compete and then the contests started and we changed gears right away to compete and win,” Cross said. “It showed that the program provides a lot of value for the families and the kids here in Malibu.”

Cross said the pandemic shaped how the program went this year. 

“Mother nature blessed us with some of the best surf I’ve seen at Leo Carrillo for our last practice of the season,” Cross said. “Next year is going to be even better. I can’t wait for it to begin.”

For more information on the Malibu Sharks Surf Team, visit: malibusharkssurfteam.org

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