Surfside provides tennis for all

Tennis is one of those lifetime sports taught in high school. The ultimate goal is to keep the body moving at all ages. With a tennis racket, an opponent and courts typically available at city parks, one is in business.

Good news — there are also affordable recreational clubs.

In 1978, Jean Leage Conley attended the first meeting of the Surfside Tennis Club. She has also played in the region’s competitive women’s league since it was created in 1977. Both groups are active and always looking for new members.

“Our mission has always been to get together and play tennis. We welcome social players and need competitive players for league play,” Conley said. “Our membership dues ($25 annually) support donations to build more tennis courts and offer scholarships for high school players and lessons for middle school players.”

The group meets every Saturday at 9 a.m. at Los Osos Middle School, where two courts were financed by Surfside.

“Just show up and rotate in,” said Ted Olsen, the tournament’s chairman. “We always play with different players and try to balance players to keep it fun and even for everyone.”

Carl Pherson, president and a member since 2006, said, “What I appreciate about this group is they are open and noncritical. The more advanced players will coach newcomers. No one should feel intimidated to play. Members (range) from 21 to 85 and up.”

Ann Riswold said many members play only during the summer.

Al Romero picked up tennis after retiring in Southern California, but he wasn’t comfortable until he relocated and joined Surfside, which encourages him to pace his skill development.

The group would love to play more days, and members will play with another Morro Bay-based club, but everyone agreed more local courts are needed. They are working with Recreation Director Joe Woods on the proposed Del Mar Park courts in Morro Bay.

Social Chairman Peter King was recruited in 1988. He’s enjoyed the tennis, but he says the interesting people he has met from all over the world — each with his or her own story — has been the best part of his membership.

Then there are the competitive players of the Central Coast Women’s Tennis League.

“We just won league last season,” Kathy Geyer said. “We’re very competitive. We’ll be moving up to the higher level.”

League play is from September to May. Surfside competes with clubs from Santa Maria to the south to Cambria and Paso Robles to the north. Surfside would like to field four teams in 2010-11. Geyer can be reached at 528-8750 or kathygeyer@fix.net.

Reach Judy Salamacha at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.