Photos: Steve Bissell Above: Coach JP Garcia
A Special Day in the Surf
Last Saturday, May 19, 2012 , our country’s finest rendeveuxed at Shoreline park to share a few sliders at Ledbetter beach. As luck would have it, the windswell produced just enough energy to make for a great surfing experience. Debbie Trauntvein, president of the Santa Barbara Surf Club, helped coordinate the event with soldiers from the 425th Civil Affairs Battalion (CAB) and local surf school Santa Barbara Seals. Most of these soldiers were going back for their 2nd or 3rd deployment to Afghanistan, and for some, they will be leaving their loved ones behind for the first time. The support team consisted of members from the SB Surf Club, veterans, and the Seals Surf School.
The day produced calm seas, beautiful skies and 1-2 ft peelers. After a brief introduction and safety talk, the soldiers to the beach and began their decent into the line up. One after the other, each soldier began their metamorphosis into surfers. Each one gliding into each wave, each one participating in the hazing experience of wiping out. At the same time, each soldier getting back up and giving it another hoorah. The soldiers took the seas with ease, sharing smiles, laughs, and a deeper connection with the ocean that will last them a lifetime. For us, to be able to share the moment and give back to those who put it out there everyday on our behalf was an honor. On my end, it will be cherished because we gained a few more tribesmen that day. One of the last people I had the opportunity to work with was Michelle. I wasn’t sure what she did within her unit, but she was very humble and sweet. At the end of the day I was told that she was the pilot of a Blackhawk helicopter. I was simply blown away. Today however, she was a surfer. A person that traded a loud, metal, human regulating uniform for a neoprene one. A foam board, a gentle push and off they were gliding across a fluid, clean medium, pushing energy as it goes down its final trail before it meets the continental crust. As for the surfer, I would say that you are not the same person at the beginning of the ride as you are at the end of the ride. A transformation occurs somewhere between point A and point B. Surfers would call that “stoke”.
The Santa Barbara Surf Club and SB Seals Surf School were honored to take part in this event again. SBCSC Member, Command Sargent Major (RET) , Jonathan Church, we thank you for making it all happen!God bless our Troops and our Surfing Soldiers.
JP Garcia & Debbie Trauntvein
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Music: Yes “Owner of a Lonely Heart”
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»wrote on 06.26.12 @ 11:50 AM
My sister and I thank you so much for the surfing lesson. I had so much fun, since it was my first time. I am the one in all those funny poses. My dad, in Afghanistan now, had fun time watching the photos too. Thanks again.
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