Surf’s up at College of Charleston

A competitor carries her surfboard from shore during the Wahine Classic at Folly Beach last year. This fall, the College of Charleston has added surfing to its for-credit classes. Instruction will be from 1-4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting Sept. 1.

Gnarly, dude.

The College of Charleston has added a surfing course to its fall line-up of classes.

“I couldn’t believe that we didn’t offer it,” said Tom Carroll, a senior instructor in the Department of Health and Human Performance.

The course requires dedication. “It’s not recess. There are standards,” said Carroll, who directs the college’s physical education activity program.

The surfing class filled up quickly during spring registration. It blends instruction, exercise, camaraderie and service. Students will volunteer for a community activity such as a beach clean-up as they learn lessons in conservation.

“The surfing part is the hook. It’s an avenue to meet and support the goals of the college,” Carroll said.

The class of 18 students will meet twice weekly at Folly Beach. Those who complete the course earn two credit hours.

Folly City Council recently approved a request from College of Charleston grad Kai Dilling to teach the surfing course. Dilling is among the most experienced and respected local surf instructors, officials said.

Surfing lessons are increasingly popular at Folly. Council gets many requests from people who want to use the beach for that purpose. The island is considered the top surfing spot in the area.

Surfing has long been a favorite at the college.

“For generations, surfing-minded students have arrived at the College of Charleston with one eye on their grades and the other on The Washout, the legendary surf break about 20 minutes from campus on Folly Beach,” the college says at its website.

The college has a surf club that has won competitions in Florida and California.

Florida Institute of Technology made news this month when The Associated Press reported that it was offering a surfing-focused science class.

University of California campuses at Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and San Diego have surfing classes, according to the website Surfline, which lists no East Coast schools that offer the same.

Surfing is among dozens of physical education courses students can take at College of Charleston for credit toward their degree. The offerings include kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, golf, sailing and basketball.