School Checklist: Books, Board, Beach …

UCSC named No. 2 in country for surfing

Deciding where to go to college is probably one of the biggest life decisions of a high schooler's life.

Is it the best school for my area of interest? Is it affordable? Is it close to family?

Now high school seniors can add one more question to their list: Is it the best place to catch the best waves?

Surfline is helping beach bunnies answer that question with their list of the 10 Best Surf Colleges in America.

Coming in at No. 2 on the list is UC Santa Cruz.

"It's probably the single most diverse surf area in the state," the Web site explains.

If you're not already a surfer, you can take beginner classes and make your way to the intermediate course. Transportation, wetsuit and board are included in the cost of the classes. But get there early to fill the coveted spots.

"People show up as early as 4 a.m. for open registration," Rec Department's Kathy Ferrero told the site. "We open at 9 and all the spots are usually gone by 10."

Students who want to take surfing classes have to pass a test before being accepted -- an ocean swimming test, that is. There's even a class field trip to Baja for spring break.

Students spend their first day at the university "shopping" for classes. They can go to 25 different classes and choose which ones they want. And, for now at least, you won't get As, Bs or Fs because they use an evaluation system.

It might be known for it's laid back teaching style but if you do decide to graduate with a traditional degree, the school's Marine Biology Department will impress, with labs along the diverse Pacific Coastline.

The region is beautiful and if you don't mind being called a slug, UCSC is a good choice for higher learning.

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