Last summer we had the pleasure of taking a small group of young people from the Salem Boys and Girls Club out for their first surfing experience. It had a strong impact on them as you can see from the video above. It equally had as strong an effect on us when you hear their words of what the couple of hours at the beach and in the ocean did for them and their outlooks on life.
We first covered ocean safety, rip currents and being aware of all the different ocean users in Pacific City. This was followed by learning proper surfing technique before we paddled out. Conditions were excellent with light winds and small waves. This allowed everyone a chance to catch multiple waves, with a good number making it to their feet and riding all the way to the beach. For all the successful rides, the real reward was experiencing something that most days would be out of reach for them. We followed the surf session with a beach bonfire and freshly cooked crab kindly donated by Marty Wisehart. The group enjoyed the fresh seafood and the unique experience of sitting next to the fire and tossing the shells onto the sand after eating the meat.
As surfers, we can easily forget the power that being in the ocean has on our lives and the contributions the act of surfing gives us mentally. It is often only when seeing the stoke on new surfers face’s that we are reminded that we are surfing for happiness. You might be trying to get better with each session, but your measurement at the end of the day is in joy, a difficult thing to quantify, but you know it when you experience it...
These kids got it, and as you can see from the video, a couple of future surfers were born that day! I can’t wait to see them in the water and share a few waves.
Words by Gary Gregg. Video & Photos by Nathan Holstedt