by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Dawn at Nicoli Productions

Riding the Wave

student_saulino1Maya Saulino has lived in San Marcos for the past nine years, which she loves because her proximity to the beach makes it possible for her to surf nearly every day before school. A competitive surfer since the age of 12, this is welcome practice time for Maya. “My dad introduced me to the sport,” she said. “He got me hooked on surfing by sharing his love of the ocean with me and pushing me into the waves as a little girl.”

Maya is a senior at High Tech High North County. “I love my school because our learning is organized around real-world projects and our teachers are creative, passionate, and really connected to the students,” she shared. Her passion for surfing shows itself through her favorite school subject of biology – specifically human anatomy and physiology. She even works as an intern researcher at CSUSM, conducting research on the biomechanics of surfing.

Name: Maya Lynn Saulino (16)
School: High Tech High North County
Grade: 12
Parents: Catherine and Ted
Sibling: Shea (16)
Favorite Local Spot: The beach
Maya’s Surf Videos:

student_saulino2Since High Tech High is too small to field a surf team, she was invited by Coach Randy Walton to join his team at San Marcos High. Maya feels the SMHS Surf Team is filled with talented, supportive, and kind-hearted athletes and coaches. “I am grateful to be a part of this special group of people.” She continued, “Randy and his assistant coach, Jordan Dietze, have offered me tremendous support, guidance, and encouragement.”

Her inspiration also comes from her family. She considers twin brother Shea her best friend in the world. Maya’s father takes on many roles in her life as a surf buddy, coach, friend, and role model, and she is forever grateful for his education on surfing and cherishing the ocean. “My mom is one of the most intelligent people I know,” Maya confided. “I constantly look up to her. She has always been a positive influence in my life and shows through example that hard work and dedication lead to success.”

“The most rewarding part for Maya, though, is “being surrounded by people who share the same passion and love for the ocean.”

student_saulino3Inspiration and encouragement show themselves in Maya’s success. This past season she was the West Coast Champion in both the Under 18 and Open Women’s Shortboard Division, and she won the D3 Scholastic Surf Series season title surfing for SMHS. Last year she won four of five Scholastic Surf Series contests and earned the Girls’ Shortboard division title for the season. The most rewarding part for Maya, though, is “being surrounded by people who share the same passion and love for the ocean.”