The Inertia

Which College Has the Best Surfers in the United States?

The nation’s greatest college surf teams go head to head in the Red Bull Bracket Reel competition.


The Inertia

You’ve seen the collegiate listicles before… Top 10 party schools. These are the 50 smartest schools in America. College campuses with the hottest student bodies, etc., etc. While these are entertaining and eye-grabbing, many of them boil down to the subjective opinion of some pseudo-journailist. (I, myself, am guilty of this). But when it comes to surfing college students, the fine folks over at Red Bull have found a way to come pretty damn close to finding the best in the nation.

The Red Bull Bracket Reel surf contest features a hand-picked selection of America’s top eight surfing schools in a head-to-head dual. Each school creates a short video clip of their members surfing and then the fans vote on which one advances. Schools competing include: LMU, USC, University of Hawaii, UCSD, Monmouth University, UCSB and UNCW.

As an added twist, Red Bull surf team members will judge the videos, granting an extra 15 percent vote to the videos they like best. In Round 1, Ian Walsh will be critiquing “Best Days and Glory Waves” – a showcase of the most perfect conditions. Round 2 will feature Jamie O’Brien judging on “Kooks and Flukes,” i.e. a wipeout section or generalized comedy. And in Round 3, surf filmmaker Aaron Lieber will weigh in on the cinematic qualities of each edit.

If you ever thought that college students couldn’t surf – too busy partying, studying, or sleeping – think again. Each school has uploaded their edits and there is some serious talent to be witnessed. Guys are pulling into huge barrels, boosting hefty airs, and putting down some man hacks well beyond their years. Well, there you have it – surfers who’re smart AND shred. Stereotypes, debunked.

Learn more about the Red Bull Bracket Reel competition and cast your vote here.

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