Out on the Rockaway Peninsula, the Rockaways for short, a community of Black surfers are expanding the sport to help create a safe, healthy, and more diverse space in the waves. And they’re having fun, too.
“What it feels like to be in the ocean,” shares Lou Harris, CEO of the NYC chapter of the Black Surfing Association, “is you are extremely free. It’s therapeutic. It makes you forget for a little bit.”
In this first episode of The Freedom to Be: Black Surfers in the Rockaways, Harris and Diane Cardwell, author and former journalist, talk about how they came to surfing in the Rockaways and how the sport is creating positive change. Cardwell explains:
Everybody comes here in the pursuit of having a good time. Young Black kids who may have not felt like they had a place in the ocean or a place in the surf community now see that they do. And what that ends up doing is not just diversifying surfing, but it also gives them a sense of the importance of stewardship of the ocean and that is better for everybody.
The Freedom To Be is an NYCgo videos series about “the range of subcultures and affinity groups within NYC’s Black community that defy boundaries and stigmas… The Freedom To Be also underscores the contributions of these communities and groups to NYC’s dynamism.” Find more NYCgo videos on YouTube.
Related reading at The Black Surfing Association is Empowering Black Youth in Rockaway and Surfing Remade in the Rockaways.
Watch these videos next:
• The complicated history of surfing
• The Physics of Surfing
• Surfing the ‘World’s Heaviest Waves’ – Teahupo’o, Tahiti by drone
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