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Monday, October 16, 2017

Falcon Rides High, Represents Flatbush in Regional Surfing Championships

Sophomore, Joe Tawil, on left
When you think of athletic teams for city schools, surfing is not among the first sports that comes to mind. But for one Yeshivah of Flatbush Joel Braverman High School student-athlete, that is right where he feels most at home. So, when the Northeast Regional Surfing Championships were announced and slated for the nearby New Jersey shore, he reached out for the opportunity, took to the waves on Sunday, 10/15, just off the beach at the North End Pavilion of Spring Lake, NJ – and did not disappoint.

Sophomore Joe Tawil has been surfing for much of his life, spending many hours riding the waves on the shores close to Deal, NJ as well as at nearby Rockaway Beach, not far from his home in Brooklyn. When he learned that there are competitions for high school students, he was eager to test himself against some of the area’s best.
The National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) is the highest profile amateur competitive surfing association in the United States. The NSSA promotes the qualities of discipline and competitive excellence while supporting the merits of academic achievement to young surfers. The Northeast Region pooled student-athletes from a variety of schools in the New York/New Jersey area, ranging from public to prep to parochial schools (Flatbush would be considered part of the latter group).

Tawil opened the day surfing in men’s heat number 23 (out of 28). Each heat consisted of 6 surfers from different schools, with each one providing its group of surfers 15 minutes to catch as many waves as possible in an effort to show their skills to the judges. After waiting what seemed like an eternity, Tawil, in his orange competition jersey over his wetsuit, paddled out with his competitors from schools such as Shore Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven, Holy Spirit, Morristown-Beard and Wall Township to catch his first wave. By the end of the heat, Tawil had impressed the judges, advancing to the next round!
Tawil continued to shine, moving out of the second round and qualifying for the third. At that point, he ended his day, having left his mark on the competition. “It was an amazing experience,” reflected Tawil after the competition was over. It could have been an intimidating atmosphere, what with the majority of the other schools being represented by a large number of surfers, with lots of supporters and team tents on hand. But Tawil was able to block out the distractions and just compete. “For me, surfing has always been about finding a zone of peace and serenity, finding solace on the water. This was different in that there was pressure to perform for others’ view. But, I liked it; I am happy with how I surfed and am looking forward to my next chance to compete.”

It was also great to hear the name of the school – “Yeshivah of Flatbush” – ring out across the beachhead as Tawil advanced in the competition. How about that?!