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By Jake Howard
Growing up the son of a surfboard builder has its perks. Just ask Owen Simler.
“I got my first board when I was two years old. It was 2’11”, but I just used to carry that one around on the beach,” said Owen, whose father, Cole, is a local foam whittler. “My first real surfboard was a 5’6″ I got for Christmas when I was six.”
The lanky 14-year-old is currently an eighth grader at Shorecliffs Middle School and part of the national champion surf team.
“The best part about being on the surf team is how stoked everyone is,” said Owen, who made the final of the longboard division at last weekend’s Scholastic Surf Series event in Oceanside, helping Shorecliff’s win their season opener. “Even if you have a pretty horrible day, somebody on the team could stoke you out.”
As much as Owen enjoys throwing on a jersey and representing his squad, he has been afforded a fresh perspective on wave riding thanks to growing up in the fray of his old man’s shaping business.
“The best thing about surfing is how much it can do for people,” said Owen. “If you are in the worst mood, a good session will turn your day around and make it amazing. Surfing has done so much for everyone, and I am stoked for that.”