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Let's Go Surfing Now This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   Were you astonished? I was.Americans swept the snowboarding half pipe in the 2002 Winter Olympics! I am abit of a snowboarder and can appreciate how much skill is required to do a 900 oreven a 720 trick, which were pulled in the final round and made to look as easyas pie. I am also a surfer, and wonder why surfing is not in the Olympics. Weshould recognize surfers in a world event - the Olympics.

For me, justpaddling through the waves is enough exercise for a day, but after you get intoposition to catch a wave, you must pop up using your already-strained arms andthen balance yourself on a board which is whizzing down the face of the wave.This is the physical fitness required by the sport of surfing.

Peoplemight argue that surfing is not a true sport and is not physically demanding, anddoes not have what it takes to be an Olympic sport. I know from experience thatsurfing is no less demanding than snowboarding; as I see it, it's even moredemanding.

Many maneuvers require enormous strength to execute. Forexample, a 360 requires surfers to not only get enough air (which requiresphysical strength) to make a full rotation on their board and then land it, butalso to try to stay with the wave so they can continue riding after theyland.

The recent increased popularity of extreme sports means surfingwould attract just as large a following if not larger, as any other sport. Withinthe last 15 years surfing has evolved from being associated with drugs andhippies into a cool thing to do. It attracts people of all ages and abilities anda true "family" of surfers has developed. Surfers care for one anotherand respect each other.

The surfing community has greatly expanded andwould bring more revenue to the Summer Olympics. Also, many companies incorporatesurfing into their advertisements. Since there are already companies willing tosponsor regular competitions, they would be more than willing to sponsor theOlympics.

Some may try to keep surfing out with the argument that notall countries have access to the ocean, and therefore could not compete. Have weforgotten about Jamaica's bobsled team? And just this winter, Brazil wasrepresented in Salt Lake City by their first cross-country skier. Even though hefinished far from medal contention, he still proved to the world that any countrycan compete in winter sports, no matter how tropical home may be. Over 70countries competed in the Winter Olympics, not all with ice or snow. This provesthat a country without the ocean could still compete in surfing.

Anargument could be made that surfing would be a bad influence on the Olympics.Wrong again! Surfers are in the public's eye all the time, and know that they arerole models for children, just like other athletes. Snowboarders may not have aperfect reputation either, and they didn't harm the Olympic spirit.

Weneed to appreciate and acknowledge the athletes who have worked hard to promotetheir sport and perfected their skills to an unbelievable level. Why can't weacknowledge the athletes who commit to surfing? They spend countless hoursperfecting their skills. We recognize many other sports and athletes in theOlympics. It's time to include surfing in the mix. Why not? Only positivebenefits would result from including surfing in the Summer Olympics.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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