It’s summer in the United States. Millions of people from all over the country flock to the beach: Jersey Shore, Outer Banks, Cocoa Beach, Oceanside, Huntington Beach, etc. Coastal communities filled with inlanders and local businesses happy for tourist dollars. People wait all year for their week at the beach. They cherish the sand and sunburn.
What do they spend more time doing than anything else? Bodysurfing. Finless, jumping off the sand and riding whitewater waves as far as they can, swimming back out and doing it again and again.
Do they pull into slabbing barrels and do clean spinners on the open face? Probably not. But do they have fun? Very very much. Hooting and laughing the whole time at the exhilaration of an extra-long ride or an unexpected, underwater thrashing. The most supreme pleasure being driven so fast and smoothly by the sea. Sure, some buy cheap boogieboards or rent surfboards or take surf lessons. But many are perfectly content with the freest form of waveriding.
When there is an increase in swell, the vacation bodysurfer will encounter forces unlike those in their landlocked lives. They might mistime the takeoff and go over the falls or put themselves in a bad spot and catch a heaving lip on the head. Rip currents keep the lifeguards busy. The vacation bodysurfer will return home and regale their buddies with tales of 10ft. monster surf and near drownings.
There are usually one or two members of each vacation family that spend as much time in the Ocean as possible. Sun up to sun down. It could be a six year old, mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, perhaps the whole family together. I was that person in my family. Every morning at dawn of our summer vacation, jumping on the motel bed, “C’mon! Let’s go to the beach! Hurry up! Let’s go to the beach!” Once we hit the sand, I’d sprint into the Ocean and ride waves for hours. I was instantaneously drawn to the feeling and it shaped who I am today.