By Lauren McDonald 

The college at the beach is now offering a new way for students to take advantage of its locale.

College of Coastal Georgia students and community partners recently launched the college’s first Surf Club, also called COAST (Coastal Outdoor Adventure & Surf Tribe), with hopes to create more opportunities for students to spend time outdoors.

The club will orchestrate activities like surfing, hiking and camping, kayaking and more. They also plan to organize trash cleanups and outreach efforts to help underprivileged youth in the community experience parts of the coast they may rarely see.

Sam Ghioto, a senior at CCGA and one of the club’s founders, said the pandemic’s influence over the past year and a half led to stir-crazy feelings for himself and his friends.

Those feelings fueled the creation of this new club.

“I enjoy getting outside,” Ghioto said. “Some of my friends that I’m really close with also enjoy getting outside. We like to do a lot of activities, whether it’s hiking, kayaking, surfing, camping. We like to always be out in nature somehow, someway. And over the course of the pandemic, when you’re inside more, you know it takes a great toll on your mental health.”

The club hosted its first surf lesson for a group of new members on the Friday afternoon that kicked off the Labor Day weekend. Surf instructor Jason Latham brought out several boards and offered a quick introduction on how to surf the waves at Gould’s Inlet before venturing out into the water.

“The thing about our area is that it’s not massive surf conditions, but there are waves,” Ghioto said. “So you can surf, and it’s a great place to learn how to surf.”

And there are plenty of places in the Golden Isles and within driving distance for kayak trips or long walks through nature.

“We have some trails around, and there’s Cannon’s Point (Preserve) at the north end of St. Simons,” said Ghioto, who also works as a kayak guide for Southeast Adventures. “That’s like 7 1/2 miles, and you’re around 300-year-old-plus oaks so it’s really beautiful.”

The club, as a student organization, will be able to request funding from the college to support its plans.

The goal is to normalize getting outside, Ghioto said, and to take full advantage of attending a college on the coast of Georgia.

“When I’m inside all the time or doing a bunch of school work I get caught up and I feel miserable,” he told a group of interested students at the club’s first meeting last week. “… It’s almost like I need to get outside because I feel like nothing else matters when I’m present in nature.”

Anyone interested in supporting the new club can reach out via its Instagram, @coasting_georgia.


Surf instructor Jason Latham, left, and Omar Guzman are hit by a wave as Guzman paddles out on a board. (Photo by Terry Dickson/The Brunswick News)


Logan Hildreth practices a stance on a board as club members Sage Christman, from left, Lauren Ray, Jason Latham, Nolan Bachman and Omar Guzman watch. (Photo by Terry Dickson/The Brunswick News)



Republished with the permission of The Brunswick News. Originally published in The Brunswick News.