The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Board Sports: Previewing Webb’s newest afternoon activity

Summer Chen
Dr. Riel performs an ollie.

Off of the Pacific Ocean, nestled between mountain ranges, and surrounded by palm trees, Webb should be the most authentic Southern California experience that a boarding school can offer. However, as Webb students throw themselves into an intense study environment, they often miss out.

With the inclusion of a new Unbounded course this year, SoCal Skateboarding Culture, that is starting to change. And moreover, Dr. Kevin Riel, humanities department faculty, brings a new and unconventional winter activity onto Webb campus — Board Sports. Growing up in a surfer family, Dr. Riel lived ten minutes away from the ocean, which was a major inspiration for him to start this activity. 

“Part of me wanting to do this activity is to share how much fun I had [when I was a teenager], having access to the ocean,” said Dr. Riel. “And I know that’s just not the reality for many Webb students.”

Dr. Riel plans to take the students to a variety of beaches, depending on ocean conditions, and teach them how to surf. Before the Webbies are ready to catch waves out in the ocean, they will undergo training on the Webb campus. Not only will he teach the students the basics of paddling and surfing in the pool, but he will also talk about topics such as water safety and taking proper care of equipment. 

Half of the activity will be dedicated to skateboarding. The students will watch instruction videos and learn skateboarding skills on the Webb campus in locations such as the tennis courts and the area by the Jones dorm, as well as outside of campus such as the Claremont Skate Park

Dr. Riel is excited to witness the joy and enthusiasm of Webb students when participating in this activity, especially those proud little moments when a student outdoes oneself and achieves something new. 

“Like when somebody catches their first wave, does something that they thought was impossible a couple weeks ago,” said Dr. Riel. “I am really looking forward to seeing that look on students’ faces of what is outrageously-clichely-known in the surfer community as stoked.” 

As Webb students begin to select their afternoon activities for next year, many have shown interest in this new addition of winter activity. 

“I have always wanted to try out skateboarding and surfing but never had the time or resources; this activity is just the perfect opportunity,” said Fiona Jiang (‘22). 

“We will see how things develop,” said Dr. Riel. “My hope is that the first year it’s just going to be very embryonic. We are going to be figuring out how this is going to work, what things we need to change.”

In the future, as he accumulates more experience and expands this activity, Dr. Riel hopes to truly imbue the Webb experience with the unique southern California experience and open the students up to new adventures. 

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About the Contributors
Cathy Wang
Cathy Wang, Editor-in-Chief
Cathy Wang (‘22), an international boarding student from Shanghai, returns to Webb this year not only as the Editor-in-Chief for the WCC- but also as a dorm prefect and admissions fellow. She is excited to be back on campus, taking new classes and reconnecting with the Webb community. So far, Cathy’s favorite course that she has taken at Webb has been Advanced Studies Fascism with Ms. Fisher, which she enjoyed because of how the course related to current issues that she cares about, such as education and gender inequality. These are just a few of the topics that Cathy hopes to shed some more light on, both via the WCC and in person. Outside of classes, Cathy enjoys playing badminton and tennis, reading Latin literature or magical realism, and taking occasional trips to the Claremont Village. Additionally, you might also find her sipping her daily coffee or eating any kind of Japanese food. As the world slowly comes back from the pandemic and Webb shifts to in-person learning, Cathy hopes for the WCC to serve as a facilitator for the Webb community in fostering much-needed connections between people. Favorite song: "I Lost A Friend" by Finneas
Summer Chen
Summer Chen, Editor-in-Chief
A bonafide Libra, Summer Chen (‘20), the Editor-in-Chief of Webb Canyon Chronicle, believes herself to be emotional, caring, and guided by her intuitions. Her passions include playing varsity basketball, eating chocolate, and watching movies and TV shows, and she finds the shows to be life changing. Like most Libras, Summer is curious and well-rounded, enjoying all subjects, especially psychology and philosophy. Summer aims to leave a legacy by informing and uniting the Webb community through journalism and yearbook. Summer enjoys being a leader in both of those activities as well as in the French Club, and she thinks these are experiences that she will look back at in the future. This year, Summer will be working on publishing her work in an online journal; as a personal goal, she hopes to be more organized.

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