Pleasures and lessons learned through Surfing, by a High School Student
Photos taken on 9-16-2017 by David Pritzker in Satellite Beach, Hurricane Jose Swell
The pleasures of being a high school student are scarce, but well worth any experiences gained from being in high school vs. being the typical traveling, home-schooled surfer who does not get to enjoy these experiences. This includes forming friendships in the water and out, that last a lifetime. Surfing and going to school will give you a connection that very few people could generate otherwise. For example, compare one of our friendships to a typical high school friendship; My friend and I would get home from a 7-hour school day. Rush to eat, check the waves, and no matter if its firing or barely knee high, we would get super stoked, grab boards, and have as much fun as we possibly could until dark. Our paths would then split, both go home to finish homework, and then repeat the next day (while still Acing our tests).
Then the normal child in my math class would rush home with their friend to feast their faces with junk food, watch netflix, and play video games until 3 in the morning. To then wake back up at 730am, just to go to school, and fail their tests. And their weekends feature smoking pot, and drinking their guilt away, from wasting all that time that could have otherwise been spent wisely, or surfing. Malcolm Gladwell said, “it takes 10,000 hours to master something.” So, while they are doing their thing that makes them happy, I’m ticking away those hours at mastering surfing, while they are mastering the art of living in a world of artificial, virtual reality, and junk food. Therefore, surfing in high school helps create deep friendships that could never be formed doing the typical high school students curriculum. Surfing has also taught me a lot about respect, how to get along with adults at such a young age. And not to discriminate, by talking to all different walks of life.
I got my first job from surfing with “George”. Now, George wasn’t always the best example for me, probably a person that I would never want to be like. But, I met George one more before surfing a 9-hour stint at Paradise beach. I spent that whole time talking to him and we exchanged all sorts of ideas. He saw work ethic in me, and asked if I wanted to work illegally under the table. I said sure. Next thing I know, I was working. And within a couple of months, I was earning $250 dollars a weekend! And this was in the 9th grade, which is big money for someone in high school. But I learned more from working with this man than from anything else I have done before. He was a climbing enthusiast. My work days of 10 hours, encompassed me dragging thousands of pounds of wood into a trailer. I met people with names such as ‘’Minnesota’’, ‘’Rick the Big’’, people who were gang-bangers, and have been to jail for half of their life. People who are hooked on drugs, and struggling.
As a society we look down on people who act like this, but in talking to these people they could always narrow all their issues down to a single life choice, or decision. Furthermore, these people were some of the nicest, most selfless people I’ve ever met. I guarantee you they would take a bullet for me on the spot, an hour after meeting them. Surfing brought us all together, even though I am a white kid who goes to the “whitest” school in Brevard county. These people didn’t judge me because I looked at them as humans. And even though they may have been to jail, shot, stabbed, or hooked on drugs. I learned so much from my experiences, and how to keep my life on a good clean path. Surfing taught me never to judge someone based on what the media and society tells you to judge by.
Written by: Nathaniel Mauldin
Edited by: David Pritzker