BY EMMA BROWN
As quarantine boredom has set in, the surfers and skaters of CHS have noticed an influx of new participants longing for safe social interaction.
Student-athletes whose sports have been canceled make up many of the teenagers in the new wave of surfers and skaters.
“I started surfing at the beginning of quarantine,” says sophomore Heather Albiol, a two-sport athlete. “I’ve had a lot of people help me and teach me. Surfing is one of the only ways to get in fun exercise daily since we no longer have sports.”
Athletes who typically played team sports have turned to surfing and skateboarding as a way to get exercise while social distancing.
“Surfing hasn’t replaced soccer or anything, but it’s definitely good for exercise,” freshman soccer player Tarek Ibessaine says.
As student-athletes have more free time, many have been anxious to find an active replacement for their summer or fall sport. Time once spent practicing traditional athletics is now open to explore and improve upon their newfound passions.
“I was skating nearly every day during quarantine and summer break, and before that, whenever my school schedule would allow,” says senior Carver Tunnel, a veteran skater and varsity water polo player.
Skate parks have become increasingly popular in the past few months, posing a new issue for the skateboarding community: masks. While surfers are unable to wear masks while practicing their sport, many skaters choose not to, causing some controversy within the skateboarding community.
“I’ve only seen a small amount of people wear masks,” sophomore Noah Mayer says. “I only wear a mask when it is crowded, or I won’t skate at all.”
The State of California requires that masks be worn in shared public spaces, such as a skatepark, but skateboarders report that no one seems to be enforcing the rule. While some skaters feel strongly about following the state’s rules, the overwhelming majority have chosen to ignore them.
Some skateboarders have reported frustration with increasingly crowded skateparks, yet the majority are excited to see more people becoming interested in their sport.
“I think it’s dope,” junior Dalton Donaldson says. “I always like seeing more skaters.”
Veteran surfers have maintained an optimistic outlook when it comes to the increased attraction of their sport as well, only asking less experienced surfers to be respectful of spacing and aware of their surroundings while surfing around others.
“There are so many new surfers out in the water because of quarantine,” sophomore surfer Lili Menkal says. “I think it’s great that people are finding new passions and enjoying the ocean. However, the lineup does get crowded at times.”
The two communities hope to see the same enthusiasm for their sports that they have seen in recent months after the quarantine has been lifted. More experienced surfers and skaters contribute to the increase in numbers, as it is a way to spend time with their friends while practicing social distancing simply due to the nature of the sports.
CHS freshman Jacob Burton has taught five peers how to surf this summer, as it is a way to spend time with friends while safely social distancing. Many other experienced surfers have done the same.
“Quarantine created a perfect storm with an increased popularity of skating,” Tunnel notes. “You do not need to get close to people, but can still be with people, it is outside, and it is something that requires a lot of time to get good at.”
It remains to be seen if skateboarding and surfing will maintain their popularity post-quarantine, but for now, skaters and surfers alike are excited to be able to share their sport with more people.