In signature Red Bull fashion, the energy drink giant provided an action packed weekend for SoCal college students. Select colleges were given the chance to live the ultimate adrenaline seeker’s dream in April with the Red Bull Switchboard. The event gave students a chance to participate in an epic surf session in Huntington Beach before caravanning up to Big Bear Mountain to snowboard—all in the same day. Joining the college students was Hawaiian big-wave charger, Ian Walsh.
Prior to the Red Bull Switchboard, Walsh coached 14 lucky college students in a one-on-one shred sesh at the Advanced Collegiate Surf Camp located in El Porto Beach. In Red Bull’s Tune-Up event, Walsh surfed alongside students from Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University offering tips for high performance competitive surfing. The pro surfer hosted a forum in which students were able to ask questions about his experience in competitions and what it felt like to paddle into a set at Jaws. Amidst the damp morning and cold weather, students were amped to score a few sets with the pro surfer.
“Today’s event went amazing; we had a really fun surf,” said Walsh. “All the kids were awesome to hang out with and they had very intuitive question. They wanted to figure out their surfing.”
Walsh expanded on his upbringing in Maui and the choices he faced as a young adult to pursue a college education or his dreams of becoming a pro surfer. He joked about living vicariously through the students as he gave up the typical college experience to pursue a career as a pro surfer.
Students utilized every moment in the water to improve their skills for performance surfing. Photo: Surf Channel/ Emily Cheng
“It really brings me back a few years and it rejuvenates me,” Walsh said. “You see the expression on their faces and how excited they are. Really reconfirms how much I love surfing and how much it means to me.”
Both universities participate in the Southwest College division of the NSSA.
College students braved cold waters to surf alongside pro surfer Ian Walsh. Photo: Surf Channel/ Emily Cheng
Pepperdine student, Erik Heimstaedt, scored the wave of the morning. Photo: Surf Channel/ Emily Cheng
Pepperdine student, Andrew Frierson, taking advantage of the swell. Photo: Surf Channel/ Emily Cheng