I don't like saltwater. I grew up swimming in a half-mile wide spring-fed pond. Its water is so clean that I drink it while swimming (everyone thinks I'm insane to do that but I promise you, I've been doing it for years and I've never gotten sick!). Compared to my pond, ocean water just feels yucky. I get out all sticky and sandy and my lips feel like they've been pickled by the salt and my hair feels like it's been turned into straw. I love beach soccer and beach volleyball, building sandcastles, and walking on the beach, but I do not really enjoy anything in the water.
Until I went surfing for the first time.
Chop Point is a 40 minute drive from the Atlantic Ocean so every few days, we send a small group of campers surfing. Our instructor? Sixteen year old Sierra, a girl who has been a camper of mine for the past 5 summers and who is a camper-worker this year. She participates in all activities like a camper, but she also has the job of maintaining the boats, doing odd jobs on the dock, and leading surfing trips. And since she's too young to lead alone, I get to be the surfing chauffeur and lifeguard.
The water is frigid and I spend most of the 2 hour trips treading water alongside 4 inexperienced surfers, helping them time their rides correctly and stay safe when the waves are really high. But every now and then, a few kids will get too cold or too tired, and then Sierra and I get the chance to ride the waves too. She's fantastic; I'm very bad. But we both love it! If the water wasn't so cold and the sun so burn-able, I could do it all day.