At the recent Huntington High School Surf Team banquet, the running theme wasn't surfing it was education. Coach Andy Verdone, who took this year's team to the Sunset League title for the 22nd time in his storied career, continues to remind the kids that not everyone will be the next Kelly Slater, but if you get an education, you can do one better – be the CEO of Quiksliver and Kelly's boss.
On hand to back up Verdone was Bob McKnight, co-founder and Executive Chairman of Quiksilver who gave an inspiring talk about surfing and business.
McKnight praised the value of education and noted that among Quiksilver's top executives are former team riders who also hold MBAs. McKnight also commended the surf team experience, adding that the friendships made in surfing will be with throughout your life.
The Huntington Beach High School surf team banquet was held at Quiksilver's headquarters in Huntington Beach, with dinner provided by Duke's. Quiksilver has been a valued sponsor of the team for many years, noted Verdone.
"Our team would not be what it is without Quiksilver's support," said Coach Verdone.
Comprised of the biggest squad in years, the HB High Surf team won the Sunset League and currently preparing for nationals, which start next week.
During the banquet, various scholarships were awarded, including:
The Quiksilver scholarship for outstanding senior boy and girl went to Matt Passaquindici and Paige Ortiz who was also named Sunset League Most Valuable Female Surfer.
The HSS T-Shirt sales scholarship winners were Johnny Elles and Haley Handy.
Two students earned a free weekly breakfast at The Sugar Shack. These were Niley Smith and Alyssa Smith.
At the banquet each year, Coach Verdone interviews seniors and gives them a chance to share their thoughts on surfing or life. Knowing the microphone was coming his way, senior Johnny Elles represented his team well with an excellent speech about his surf team experiences. He also thanked his coaches and most importantly his mom for their support and encouragement during his four years of surfing at Huntington Beach High. Elles' touching speech summed up Coach Verdone's second goal for the surf team – to build character, learn respect and commitment.
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