Why I love the ocean

Posted by: Eli Zinman

A morning commute might seem like an unlikely time to reflect on your connection to the ocean. But, if your morning commute took you past Cowell’s Beach, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk, the Harbor, Twin Lakes Beach and culminated with a beautiful downhill ride into Capitola Village, you might think differently. As I put my helmet on in the morning and leave my house, the smell of the ocean washes over me. Rolling down the beachside bike lanes, I reflect on my upbringing in the seaside paradise we call Santa Cruz, CA.

When people ask me where I grew up, I usually tell them something to the effect of, “Between the redwoods and the ocean.”  Growing up in this unique coastal community has given me an exceptional appreciation for the ocean. A singular Santa Cruzan privilege is being able to ask anyone “Where are you from?” and in almost every case think, “Glad I grew up where I did!”

My connection to the ocean, in contrast to Mike and Chris, two surfers here at Ocean Champions, is a bit less direct. Instead, I use the ocean to brighten my spirits whenever necessary. If I ever have a big decision to make or am having a rough day, a trip down to the beach always helps. I can’t really put my finger on what it is about listening to the crash of the waves in front of me and looking out on the blue horizon that’s so calming. It’s that indescribable feeling of the ocean washing over you and feeling closer with the natural world. After a while sitting on the beach or riding down the coast, I can’t help but smile.

I don’t think I fully appreciated the ocean and its therapeutic ability until I moved away to Washington, DC. Now a city boy, nature was no longer right on my doorstep and the Atlantic was hours away. Not until then did I realize how much I had missed the ocean. Slowly all the times I spent at the beach during my childhood really came together as something I missed. From playing in the sand as a child to catching waves with a raft as a teenager to going for a swim during lunch in high school, the ocean had been a huge part of my life I took for granted in Santa Cruz.

Returning home for my second summer in Santa Cruz, Ocean Champions was a natural fit. A public policy major at George Washington University, Ocean Champions has allowed me to mix my passion for the ocean with my area of study at school. Here at Ocean Champions, I feel like I’m able to make a difference for the ocean on a personal, local, national and global level.

Date Posted: July 19, 2011 @ 12:15 pm Comments Off