My name is Chase Weikal and I am a junior in public relations at the University of Florida. I was born in the great little town of DeLand, Florida. I spent my entire life in DeLand until I went away to college at UF. I went to a Presbyterian elementary school, but never continued in private schools after that. I finished the rest of my schooling in DeLand and then went on to Daytona Beach Community College. Going to DBCC was a great idea for a while until I felt the need to get out of DeLand. I transferred to UF in the fall of 2000, so I am new here!
During my younger years in DeLand, I grew to love the beach. DeLand is only 25 minutes away from New Smyrna Beach. This journey to the beach became a ritual with my family every weekend. After hanging around the beach, I met a lot of new people. This eventually led to me taking up the sport of surfing at age 9. Even though I barely knew how to do anything on a surfboard, my parents helped me buy a used nine-foot long board.
After learning the basics of surfing for a year, I quit and got involved with skateboarding. I'm not sure if you remember the hype, but skateboarding used to be pretty big in the late 1980's. All of my friends and I used to go to the Stone Edge skate park in Daytona. We would spend long hot weekends there whenever we could get a ride from our parents. This sport stuck with me for a while until my knees became all scraped up and scarred.
My first years in high school led me to meet a lot of new people that were just like me. I met a few surfers that all felt singled out from the rest of their peers. The percentage of real surfers at DeLand High School was very low. We all joined together and became really good friends. We eventually formed a club called the Inlan Crew. The name came from our group living inland from the beach and still surfing as much as the kids on the coast. We dropped the "d" just to make it sound a little more unique. We would hold small contests at the beach and have our parents for support. The group still lives on at DeLand High School to this day.
I have been surfing ever since and will surf for the rest of my life. After finishing my public relations degree at UF, I hope to work for a major surf company such as Quiksilver or Rip Curl.