SAN DIEGO -- Gulls forward Sam Carrick has set the franchise record for most goals in a single season and ranks third in the American Hockey League with 27 goals. In his third season with the Gulls, the Canada native has fully embraced the San Diego lifestyle -- even surfing.
"I've always loved being in the water so it was something that was in my mind and obviously the first couple times I wasn't very good," said Carrick. "I was maybe expecting a bit more out of myself but I think the more you go, the more comfortable you get out there."
While he has no problem skating on the frozen water, Carrick admits standing to surf takes more athleticism than he thought.
"It's all balance out there," he said. "It's a lot of timing too which you think as an athlete that that would come natural, but none of this comes naturally to me so I have to put some work in to kind of get better and that's been a fun challenge."
Carrick joined the Gulls in 2016 and says the surfing culture in Southern California offers some perspective.
"Even if you're not really catching waves, just being in the water we've seen dolphins jumping around us before which was cool and just kind of looking around and taking it all in like where we are right now in the world, it's just a really cool feeling," said Carrick.
That feeling led to other Gulls players also giving surfing a try. Keaton Thompson, Trevor Murphy and Ben Thomson have jumped in with both feet.
"We see each other every day at the rink but this is something that we can come do and it ends up being a competition at the end anyways because we all want to be the best," said Carrick.
And that challenge extends to head coach Dallas Eakins.
"Hopefully he sees this and hopefully he'll join us out one day," said Carrick. "I'd love to see him out on a board."
Though he's still learning, the 27-year-old says it's a process and like anything in life, it's about learning to deal with the uncomfortable.
"We have to stay on our feet as much as we can on the ice and it's the same thing out here," said Carrick. "You're getting pushed around by the waves and just trying to stay on your feet and hopefully ride a wave."
And there looks to be plenty of waves in his future.
The Gulls play their next home game March 6 when they host Stockton.