16 Aug 2011

Surfing On Nantucket

Surfing on Nantucket

The Beach Boys convinced us that “if everybody had an ocean, across the U.S.A., then everybody’d be surfin’ like Californi-a.” I think that might be true. If you hang out on any beach long enough, watching nimble surfers gracefully riding the waves, it makes you wish you were skilled enough to “Hang Ten” with the best of them. At the very least, you feel compelled to dive in and catch a wave.

Surfer dudes are cool. I envy the way they’re tan and relaxed. They always have lots of friends…other cool surfer types who share their passion and speak their language – and what a language it is. I did some research on “surfer speak” and determined I’m too old and nowhere near hip enough to carry on a conversation with the “cowabunga” crowd.

Dangerous surf translated is “gnarly,” exhausted is “noodled.” You’re a “paddlepuss” if you stay close to shore; if you and your friends all catch the same wave at once it’s a “party wave.” If you own some fashionable surf gear or clothes but have never surfed you’re a “shubie.” Fall off your board and you’ll surface to hear shouts of “wipe-out!” A “fakie” is someone who rides backwards on the surfboard OR someone who researches surfer talk so they can pretend they know about surfing. I fear I may be a fakie.

The Ozone Surf Classic was this past weekend at Cisco Beach. Hundreds of surfing enthusiasts gathered on the sand to participate in this special event started a few years ago to celebrate the life and memory of local islander and surfer David Ozias. They raise money for island charities that support kids. The party atmosphere wasn’t dampened by the unusual absence of impressive waves as the surfers, along with their friends and family, spent the day awaiting the perfect wave, catching rays and munching barbeque.

Dave Ozias was the ultimate cool surfer. His parents are dear friends of ours and we were saddened when his life was cut tragically short at the young age of 30. Dave had a warm smile, some “fierce” long dreadlocks and a huge heart that reached far into the Nantucket community. Stories continue to surface about the kindness he shared with most everyone he met. One of my favorites was told by a Jamaican worker at Dave’s funeral. He said the first time he met Dave it was a frigid March Nantucket day complete with sideways rain and biting wind. The worker was finding it tough to acclimate. Dave inquired how he was doing. The guy replied, “I’m cold and I’m hungry.” Without hesitation Dave took off his sweatshirt and gave it to him and walked over to the pharmacy and bought him a sandwich. Now that’s a wicked cool guy at his finest.

It’s fitting that this annual event celebrates such a good guy and his love of the surf. Consistently dubbed one of the top surfing destinations in the country, surfing on Nantucket promise to thrill the skilled surfer or the casual observer. If you haven’t already done so, make your way to Cisco, Nobadeer or Surfside. Bring along a surfboard or rent one. Don’t be a “shubie” or a “paddlepuss,” dive right in and join the “party wave.”

Hang ten.

Shellie Dunlap

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