Simon Murdoch Chris Keet S STORY AND PHOTO
imon Murdoch is one of those kids who was destined to become a surfer. Born in a jacuzzi he’s loved the water ever since. Coming from a surfi ng family, Simon took to the sport at the age of 4. At age nine, he quickly made a name for himself win-
ning the fi rst contest he entered, the Rincon Classic.
Local victories came easily, but interest in traveling and surfi ng became more of a priority. Traveling to his second home of Costa Rica, he’s built a beach break repertoire into his point break style. Now a sophomore at San Marcos High School, Simon is the captain of the surf team.
Prior to attending San Marcos he’d been in a home schooling program for one year that provided more time traveling and
surfi ng. One
of the components it seems of virtually every up and coming surfer I know is taking the home schooling route versus the standard public or private school education. Are fu- ture surfi ng champions destined to be illiterate water slugs, or is home schooling simply the next phase in alternative education where surfi ng is a primary subject of study?
I’m neither a proponent nor naysayer for either system and attended Santa Barbara pub- lic schools. Working with many surfers along the central coast, I’ve noticed the pattern of more and more youths in the line up. I wanted to get an insiders perspective on the home school front.
I caught up with Simon to discuss his view of public and private school versus home school education and here’s what he had to say.
DEEP: How long were you home schooled and what prompted you to attend? Murdoch: I was only in a home schooling program for one year, my freshman year of high school, but I plan on returning to it at the end of this semester to fi nish up my sophomore year. For me, home school offers an alternative education where I receive one on one attention and am able to focus on standard academics and special interests. The free time I have enables me to travel and develop my surfi ng.
DEEP: Do you think home schooling is a viable educational outlet, or just a way to receive a diploma? Murdoch: I think home schooling is a great educational system, but defi nitely is not for everyone. You have to apply yourself and develop discipline. The education you receive is really decided by the effort that you put in, but that’s the same at public and private schools.
DEEP: I know the allure of being able to surf more, and study less is huge, but how do you feel about the loss of socializing, youthful memories and trying to fi nd discipline on your own? Murdoch: I would say the social part of home schooling is not easy. I guess it depends when you start the program, and if you have other social outlets or passions where you have friends. I had no problem with the transition because I made new friends that were also home schooled, but never felt left out with my old friends. We’d still hang out after school and on weekends, go to parties and school functions together, so I’ve stayed close with my friends from the school system and home schooling.
DEEP: What are some of the pitfalls of home schooling? Murdoch: For me if the surf wasn’t good and I was caught up with my homework and not in school, the idle time gets to be frustrating. I’d fi nd myself sitting around doing nothing at home and that would be frustrating. It’s about motivation and learning and using that time. I learned how to get extra work done on those days, so when the waves were pumping I’d be free and caught up on my responsibilities. I can see if you don’t use that free time wisely, you could get into trouble.
DEEP: What was your standard day like as a home school student? Murdoch: Waking up at 6 a.m. then going to bible study for an hour. Then I’d come home and do homework, or if the surf was good get wet fi rst and then get to work. When the waves were good I’d spend the morning surfi ng, come home and eat lunch and then do my work afterwards.
DEEP: And now at San Marcos? Murdoch: I feel the curriculum is easier and you don’t learn as much. It seems that you
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sit in a crowded classroom and all you’re doing is turning in assignments to get a grade. In home schooling you have home work but you don’t turn it in. Students are graded on accumulated test scores. You really have to study and prepare for the tests so I think you learn more in the process. That system seems more like how colleges operate.
DEEP: Now you’re the team captain, what are some of your responsibilities? Murdoch: The leadership skills you learn are great and I try to get everyone amped at the contests. I also help Mr. Vaa to run the team. He’s been a great coach, everyone loves him and he’s done a great job.
DEEP: Did you develop any special skills through the home school program? Murdoch: Certainly your surfi ng improves because you get to surf in the mornings when the surf is usually best. The waves are usually glassy and the lineups are uncrowd- ed. Also, I think being home schooled prepares you more for college because your main focus is on proper studying techniques. You have to stay on top of everything because it’s really easy to get distracted and start doing something else.
Name: Simon George Murdoch
Nick Name: Sly or Slyman Age: 15 Born: Santa Barbara, CA
Resides: Santa Barbara, CA and Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica
Sponsors: Esteem Surf Shop, Progressive Surfboards, Surf Happens
Favorite Surfers: Bobby Martinez, Tom Curren, Luke Stedman, and Kai Otton
Goals: Travel, enjoy surfi ng, build amateur titles, become a professional surfer
Music: Groovy tunes Food: Everything exotic
School and grade: San Marcos High School, sophomore Favorite Waves: Rincon, Sandspit, El Cap, Playa Hermosa and a secret spot in Costa Rica
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