Fighting, fencing, and fun in the sun: a look at student clubs

Get to know some off the radar clubs on campus such as: the Surf Club, Foam Fighting Club, and Fencing Club.


Graphic by Marcy Wilder with illustrations by Michelle Rodriguez-Gonzalez.

Elliot Rodriguez, Entertainment Editor

College isn’t only about homework and exams, it’s also about making friends and finding who you truly are. FAU offers a variety of clubs for students who want to get involved. Here is a look at three of those clubs. Students can visit Owl Central to see a variety of other on-campus clubs!

Foam Fighting Club

The Foam Fighting club welcomes all walks of life, whether you’re someone who’s serious about the sport or just looking to hit some people with foam weapons.

The on-campus organization is located primarily on the housing lawn or the Henderson field, according to club President Hadley Biederman. The Foam Fighting club serves as a way for students to destress as well as experience a new sport.

“The best part of the club is how easy-going it is,” Jailene Rivas, a senior majoring in civil engineering, said. “Everyone there enjoys fighting with different weapons, socializing, and sometimes showing off their craftsman skills in costumes.”

The club mainly plays a mix between Belegarth and Amtgard. Belegarth is an all-out war that focuses strictly on combat between opposing sides, whereas Amtgard is a live-action fantasy roleplaying combat game that is more geared towards LARPing (Live Action Role Playing).

Biederman said that the club was founded by Nick “Raven” Valencia and David “Ferret” Wichinsky back in 2016. They go by code names instead of their real names due to the culture of the game as a way to bring out a player’s alter ego when they are fighting.

Colleges such as University of South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast University have also started to incorporate foam fighting at their campuses. The universities even hold duels against one another, to see which university has the strongest warriors.

Due to the pandemic, the university Foam Fighting club has not been able to hold any fights during this past year. However, some members have held their own practices while following COVID-19 guidelines.

Biederman said that he and his team will be planning on taking full advantage of the upcoming year since FAU will be resuming on-campus learning as stated in an email by President John Kelly. Students can look forward to regular practices and battles as the fall semester begins.

Surf Club

The beach is definitely a local hotspot here in Florida and the Surf Club is looking for some people to catch some waves with them.

“People should join the club to have some great fun on the beautiful beaches of Boca and meet super cool people. Surfing definitely is one of the most difficult and fun sports in the world, and there’s gonna be lots of opportunities over this semester to learn in the club with others and have a great time overall,” Ethan Garcia, a member of the Surf Club, said.

The Surf Club will be fully active for the fall semester along with its separate Surf Team.

“The Surf Club is for all backgrounds, experienced and not so experienced,” the president and founder of the Surf Club, Tucker Shogren, said.

However, the Surf Team and the Surf Club are two separate entities. While the club is for anyone to join, the Surf Team is more for the experienced surfer. Tryouts for the Surf Team are scheduled to be held sometime in September, although it could be subject to change depending on the team’s sponsors and whether or not swells are good.

Although the Surf Team requires a lot of effort, Shogren is passionate about both the club and the team. He is making sure that everyone gets an equal opportunity to ride a wave.

“You could be from Kansas or Hawaii, we don’t care where you’re from… I think everyone should catch a wave,” Shogren said.

The club will provide a long foam board for everyone who wants to surf; team members, however, usually provide their own board.

Being so close to the beach offers universities like FAU the opportunity to take advantage of the location and make the most out of it.

While the Surf Club offers excitement and adventure, Shogren also noted the club’s familial atmosphere.

“I came to FAU and knew no one in fall, and in the spring semester I made hundreds of friends at the club. The interesting part is, you don’t have to have any background in the club, just be yourself and you’ll fit right in,” Shogren said.

Since surfing is an off-campus sport, they do not have a facility on campus. The best way to contact the FAU Surf Club is through Instagram.

Fencing Club

Fencing is the duel between swords, a one-on-one match up to see who will be victorious and claim all the glory. Now if that seems like it’s a little too much, don’t worry, FAU’s Fencing Club will have new members ready for battle before no time.

Benjamin Venegas, president of the Fencing Club, wants people to know that, “It’s not as scary as it looks… We take lots of precautions to make sure that everyone is safe and comfortable.”

Venegas was drawn to the art of fencing during his freshman year when he took a tour around campus and happened to see the Fencing Club practice in the stadium. He was hooked by how different the sport was compared to others.

“The FAU Fencing Club not only taught me everything I needed to know about fencing, it also taught me leadership skills and provided me with lifelong friendships,” member Mariangel Hernandez said.

When Venegas joined the Fencing Club, it was more casual. Before COVID-19 hit, he had been working on getting the club a little more competitive, but complications with the pandemic had set his plans back.

The club is going to try and be as active as they can. Venegas said that they will follow CDC guidelines and as long as you are vaccinated, you are fine. Although FAU plans to return to normal functions in the fall, Venegas wants to be safe rather than sorry.

“I don’t want to be too restricting, but I will ask other clubs to see what they will do as well,” Venegas said.

No prior experience is needed for club members to join. The club is located in the rec-center either at the regular gym or the Mac gym, Venegas said.

The club offers members equipment that is readily available, such as jackets that cover your upper torso, undergarments that go underneath the jacket, and gloves. The blades and helmets differ from the types of fencing styles there are.

“I have always wanted to learn fencing, and joining the Fencing Club has been a great experience. I have so much fun and enjoy making friends here,” club member Kayla Cole said.

Elliot Rodriguez is the Entertainment Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email him at [email protected] or DM his Instagram, @elliotyaknow.

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