East Central Florida: it’s the home of Kelly Slater, Ron Jons Surf Shop, and Cocoa Beach. It’s also the home of the Florida Prep Surfers, a unique physical education credit elective offered to high school students at Florida Prep.
Physical education instructor Mike Lynch, oversees the surfing program at Florida Prep. “It’s a formal class,” says Lynch, “not an opportunity to cut classes and head to the beach. We have high expectations and students are graded accordingly.”
Those expectations include written papers, CPR and First Aid, and active participation.
“Prior to any student’s acceptance to the class,” continued Lynch, “we require they pass an ocean ‘swim test,’ and also a paddle test; to demonstrate their control of a surf-board and their physical fitness on the water.”
“The tests are pretty tough for a reason,” explains Lynch, ”as surfers are required to be confident in the water and physically capable of remaining in the ocean for extended periods of time.”
“Student safety at all times is my prime focus,” says Lynch. “Surfing and the ocean can be dangerous. Florida Prep students are supervised at all times and are not permitted to surf away from the main group during class. Safety is also predominant in any decision we take to surf. If I decide the conditions are too rough we will remain at school and undertake a physical exercise program designed for surfers and work on written papers.”
Lynch also invites local surfing professionals to join the Florida Prep students, both on the water and during class time at school, to discuss and demonstrate technique and to provide counseling.
The surfing elective also sets a different kind of challenge, the ability to rise early. “We leave school at 7:30am on the days we are able to surf and return for the daily second period at 9:45am. It’s incumbent on students to be ready with their equipment and to have eaten breakfast prior to our departure. For many teens that is a major challenge,” laughed Lynch.
Parents and students interested in learning more about the surfing elective at Florida Prep may contact Mike Lynch firstname.lastname@example.org or call (321) 723-3211 # 222 for further information.
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