I’m pretty proud of myself right now. Three months ago I left the safety and comfort of home to move to Virginia and become a lifeguard on Assateague Island National Seashore. I was super nervous, but why wouldn’t I be? I’ve never even though about lifeguarding before, got cut from the swim team, and was never known for doing anything physical, what business did I have guarding the ocean?
I worked my ass off when I was in school, went to the gym and swam almost everyday. Eventually I got pretty good at swimming and got my 500 time a little over 8 minutes. Then May 19th happened, the first day of Surf Rescue School, a month jam-packed of learning how to become a first responder and how to rescue someone in the ocean. It was the longest month of 2014. Every night consisted of homework and every day consisted of getting yelled at for doing something wrong. I thought about quitting a few times, but I couldn’t let everybody down like that, these people that I began to work with needed me as much as I needed them.
Surf school eventually ended and there were only two rookies that passed the first time, me and another girl working in my district. I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of myself. All the hard work eventually paid off, I was now an official ocean lifeguard.
What started next was probably the greatest two months of my life. Every day I would go to work with the people who would eventually become some of the best friends I’ll probably ever have. We would get stronger, smarter and more efficient both as individuals and as a team. We would then leave work and continue to hang out until we had to go and get ready for the next day, trying to have as much fun as we could. Fun is an understatement, every day consisted of after work surfing, national park service gatherings, boat rides, or trips to the creamery.
By the end of the summer we became a family and a hell of a team. Saving people became sort of like a sport to us, we enjoyed every second of it. I turned out to be a pretty good lifeguard when it was all said and done. Having 4 rescues, 2 major trauma calls, 8 minor trauma calls, 9 lost persons (all found), 3 assists, and scoring very well on all of my performance reviews I would say that I had a pretty good rookie year.
Hopefully I can go back for another season and have just as much fun as I had over the last three months. So thanks Brendt, Mark, Kristin, Eliza, and Jeff for becoming my second family in Chincoteague. I wouldn’t have wanted this summer to go any other way and always remember “Never above, never below, always right beside.”
The Pursuit of Happiness
-rise with the sun
-act like it’s the weekend: be spontaneous and make every day Saturday
-find a place to disconnect
-crank the tunes
-drink up: hydrate!
-hit the beach: drop in on some gnarly waves
-keep animal friends close
-go screenless for a while
-give your time
-train with a team
-break a sweat
-break the rules: get high on chocolate
-tell better jokes
-eat feel-good foods: elk, greens, gamma-aminobutyric acid, Indian food, healthy fats (fish!)
-go blue: swim
-imagine a getaway
BE HAPPY :)
Outside magazine reports:
They’re everywhere. Over the past five years, stand-up paddleboarding has mushroomed from a handful of surfers SUPing waves in Hawaii to 1.2 million participants. More than 300 manufacturers have emerged, Costco now sells its own 10-foot inflatable boards, and there are four SUP-specific magazines covering a sport that now includes everyone from whitewater paddlers to people who like to practice yoga on their SUPs.
“It’s definitely exploding in popularity,” says Avery Stonich, communication manager of the Outdoor Industry Association. One of the primary factors behind the phenomenal growth: SUP is really easy—and fun. Anyone from a grom to a grandma can quickly learn to pilot a board on flatwater, and beginning surfers love the ease of catching waves with a paddle. The only group that’s unhappy with the ubiquity of SUPs: surfers.