Cory Arrambide is a grom like no other. What’s a “grom,” you ask? It’s a young surfer who rocks the beach just like an older kid. Cory is a 13-year-old from Ventura, California. In 2002, he set the all-time record for the most wins in a National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) season—23!
Cory didn’t set out to be a record breaker. In fact, he didn’t even know there was a record to be broken until a friend told him after his seventh win!
Boogie Board to Flying High
Cory started by hanging out with his family at the beach and trying to stand up on his boogie board. Then, about four years ago, he began surfing. Although Cory is considered an amateur, he’s good enough that he is sponsored by all sorts of surfing gear companies and surfs almost every day. His dad brings him to the beach and stays to coach him. Cory works hard to improve his surfing by learning different turns and moves, and making them faster and more “vertical” (straight up). But Cory is mostly out to have fun. He says, “Surfing is just the best thing. I’ve made all of my friends through surfing.”
Cory competes on his own a lot, but he is also on two teams. At a team surf meet, surfers try to do well to get points both for their teams and for themselves. The team with the most points at the end wins. And the surfer with the most points in each division wins, too.
What is Cory thinking as he paddles out and waits for a wave? “I want to get the best wave, do the most turns I can, make my turns in the critical part of the wave, and do the most radical moves!” He says that his best move is the air 360 – turning all the way around on his board when he hits the top of a wave.
Cory takes surfing seriously, but he doesn’t let the competition—or his incredible winning streak—go to his head. “When you get out in the water, it’s competitive for sure, but we’re all friends.” On top of the record he broke, Cory won the NSSA’s Sportsman of the Year award in 2002 because he keeps a good attitude, tries his best, and supports other surfers. He says that during meets, “I’m nervous and excited because I want to do well and it’s hard…but I just try to focus and do my best.” Yes, Cory’s a chill guy, and here’s the ultimate proof: Once during practice, his team ran out of guy’s jerseys and Cory had to wear one that said “Surfer Girl” on the back…and he didn’t even complain much!
Even when he isn’t surfing, Cory loves to be outdoors. When the weather is too bad to surf, or when Cory wants to take a break, he skateboards, rides his dirt bike in the mountains, or hangs out with his friends. “I don’t like sitting in the house and playing video games too much…I just like to be doing stuff outside.”
What’s next for Cory? He just graduated to a surf division that includes guys as old as 16! He has some hard work ahead, but he’s up for the challenge. And he’ll have to keep his grades up, because the NSSA requires their surfers to do well in school too. When it comes time to work, Cory hopes to make a living out of surfing. He’d like to make it to the World Championship Tour, where the top 44 professional male surfers (and top 15 female) in the world compete. After that, he’d like to work for a surf gear brand.
If you’d like to surf, Cory recommends starting with “a bigger surfboard that’s longer and has more width to it, so it’s easier to stand up and catch waves.” Most importantly, “Keep on trying. Don’t give up.” Cory says that most of his friends who surf are guys, but they love it when girls come out to surf too. Surfing is for everyone! So, if you’re heading for the beach, try catching a wave!
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