UC Davis Today

Surfing surgeon stoked on work-life balance

Story by Pat Bailey, video and photos by Joe Proudman

Veterinary surfing club created

Several surfers in wet suits in the ocean with a surf board in the foreground

Surfing teaches everyone in the new club to relax and go with the flow. (Joe Proudman/UC Davis photo)

Surfing is one of those contagious sports. At UC Davis, it has spread from veterinary professors and staff to students, who in late 2014 established the School of Veterinary Medicine Surfing Club.

Each Sunday a group heads for Pacifica's Linda Mar Beach south of San Francisco. A few of the 45 participants are longtime surfers but many are just learning.

Some students purchase wetsuits but rent their boards from a coastal surf shop. After three hours of Sunday surfing, they break for lunch or doughnuts.

“Surfing has taught me to relax,” says veterinary student and club member Taylor Calloway. “I’ve learned to go with the flow of the ocean, but always be ready to catch a good wave.”

The club also is committed to supporting preservation of the coastal environment and in March brought a Monterey Bay Aquarium veterinary researcher to UC Davis to discuss marine and coastal conservation.

Veterinary students interested in the club can request more information from co-president Andrea Aghaian or ask to be added to the club’s listserv by contacting Professors Sean Owens or Boaz Arzi.

Crisp and sunny, it is a drop-dead gorgeous January morning at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, south of San Francisco. Some 50 wetsuited surfers are stretched shoulder-to-shoulder across the cove, bobbing expectantly beyond the breakline of tightly curled waves.

Here, not far from the site of the annual Mavericks big-wave surf contest, midwinter breakers are often crashing wildly. Today, the water is flat and the waves tame. But for one surfer in the lineup, they do not disappoint.

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