Take Pride in the Ocean Wide

May 7, 2010
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Ocean Shores, WA- a town that stretches 6 miles long and 2 ½ miles wide. For tourists, the town is a fun beach get-a-way. For residents of the beach front town, it is boring and has little to do. The town features miles of ocean front beaches, a hotel dotted road, and simple tourists attractions like go-karts and mini golf. A favorite of the people in Ocean Shores is the moped shop where you rent mopeds for a day and drive around to visit the board shops, or take a cruise down the beach…even just explore Ocean Shores. However, for a 15 year old boy that lives in Ocean Shores, none of that is interesting. Connor, a resident of the town, finds happiness somewhere outside of the bustle and tourism, and away from the town’s center. “It’s not something anyone can do and be passionate about. It has just really grown on me.” Connor says this with a stare in his eye and a smile on his face. He’s talking about surfing…particularly body boarding. “It’s funny that we live on the ocean and hardly anyone takes advantage of that.” He laughs and explains his feelings about being one of few surfers in the town. Body boarding is when you ride the waves on your stomach instead of your feet. The board is different and you go after different waves. The biggest similarity between actual surfing and body boarding is that the people who do it have one thing in common- the love for water, waves, and thrill. The local surf shop in Ocean Shores seems to be a home away from home for the local crowd of long boarders, surfers, and thrill seekers. I asked Connor what was so special about surfing. He replied, “Surfing is something you do only if you love it. You can’t like it. You can’t sort of like it. Either you hate it, or you love it. Period. And when you get out there, you experience a kind of vulnerablitily. It’s just you, the water, and your board. You have to trust yourself completely to be a good surfer. You have to give in to something bigger and a whole hell of a lot more powerfull. If you can do that, you can enjoy the ride. If you can’t, you don’t belong in the ocean.” Powerful words for a 15-year old. There is more than just water and waves though. Surfing holds its share of dangers like any other thrill-seekers sport. One of the biggest dangers is riptides. “Everyone gets one now and then. You have to know how to be calm and ride it out. If you panic, kiss the beach and ocean good bye.” Connor explains that rip tides are a normal occurance, but can be less of a danger if you take the proper safety precautions to prevent getting caught in one that you can’t get out. A rip tide is a fast moving tide under the surface of the ocean, and is a huge cause of death for swimmers and tourists in Ocean Shores every summer. Other dangers incude hypothermia, when the body drops drastic tempatures. “Every now and then you’ll see some moron without a wetsuit on trying to surf on a body board and without a wetsuit. Amatures that see stuff on TV don’t realize you have got to be careful out there.” He laughed. “Let them freeze if they want, but a wetsuit is a lot cheaper than a hospital stay.” Surfers in Ocean Shores know all too well that the cold is unfriendly. The weather is almost always overcast and windy, and if the sun in shining chances are it is still windy. “Makes for nice waves, as long as they aren’t too choppy.” Connor doesn’t seem to mind the weather. “Who cares if its sunny, you’re there for the water not the sun.” Before the interview was over, I asked Connor what some surfers do that can be considered a huge mistake. He said, “Never surf alone. When you hit a riptide, you want to panic. You will panic if you’re alone. Your nerves go wild. You fear death and freezing. When you have someone with you, they can calm you down and you can calm them down. Staying chill and calm is the only thing that keep you alive. If you have someone with you, you can work through the scary parts.” I asked other surfers, and many of them said to NEVER surf alone. Then I asked Connor what the best part about surfing is. “It’s incredible to give into something to big and powerful. When you’re out there, you hear the waves, and that’s it. It’s just a feeling of inner peace that lets you leave happier than when you came.”

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Aunt NO NO said...
May 17, 2010 at 8:58 am
Very good!!!! I'm proud of you for doing such great work, keep it up.  Love you
dirob2 said...
May 16, 2010 at 10:06 pm
Nice writing, Haley. This is definitely a skill you will want to keep working on as you have a way with words. Hope to see more of your articles. Congrats on little Emma too!!! We love getting photos.  Di and Robbert
Aunt Deb said...
May 16, 2010 at 6:51 pm
Haley Ann, you have the gift to write and are so good at it, this essay was superior. Continue on with your creativity...love Debbie And  D xxxoooxxoo
uncle mike/ROCKET said...
May 16, 2010 at 5:31 pm
Good job on your essay.sounds like conner is quite the doer.And by the way congratulations on your most recent accomlishment (EMMA).we love you so much and hope to see you sometime soon..love your Mike and Sherry Lynn. From Kalispell Montana 
AnnaRose'sMom said...
May 16, 2010 at 3:53 pm
Good job Haley.  I'm impressed.
Mother said...
May 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm
Great article, I say a prayer every time he goes out!
Jeff replied...
May 16, 2010 at 9:17 pm
And make sure he never goes out alone or when it's not safe!
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