Another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and the debt we owe to those who gave their lives and continue to put their lives on the line for this country grows. Even though Wildwood, New Jersey isn’t among the places where Memorial Day is said to have been born, we still celebrate and honor our Veterans as well as anyone. Thousands came from Pennsylvania and New York to spend the weekend on our beautiful beaches, enjoy our entertaining boardwalk atmosphere, and some even had the joy of surfing some waves (Yes, there were some waves this weekend).
Last week, the state of Hawaii gave us the great news that surfing would now be recognized as an official high school sport. The Governor of Hawaii quoted: “From Duke Kahanamoku to the thousands of residents and visitors who surf both recreationally and competitively, the sport is rooted in our culture and way of life.” It makes me smile to think that in this generation, a student can be handed a Billabong rash guard and a Rusty Surfboard, with the full intention of surfing his or her heart out, fueled by school pride. This may seem like a small achievement, but to the people who keep surfing close to their hearts, this is a huge step forward. Hopefully states like California and Florida take similar steps, making the sport of surfing more accessible to those who might look at it with disregard. Maybe, in the next ten years, we will have a more socially open outlook on the sport surfing. A sport in which we can all shine.
Some states seem to have forgotten the meaning of Memorial Day—where there used to be parades and events honoring our fallen soldiers, there is now simply a three-day weekend and plenty of barbecue. Here in Wildwood, there are a few opportunities to honor our true patriots. For example, on Monday, May 28th Wildwood held a Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony at the American Legion Post 184. The Police Explorer Troop then laid a wreath in the ocean behind the Wildwoods Convention Center, honoring those who died at sea. On Wednesday morning, May 30th, North Wildwood will hold a ceremony at the Veterans Monument on 1st and New York Avenues—just another chance to take a moment out of our lives for those who gave all of theirs.
One company whose patriotism runs deep is O’Neill, as they have provided the US surf industry with an explosion of innovation for over the 60 years they’ve been in business. From wetsuits the surfboards, O’Neill has continued to expand surf culture through their engineering and commitment to the industry. Without such dedication surfers wouldn’t have products such as the O’Neill Gooru wetsuit or the O’Neill Heat 5mm Round Toe Wetsuit Booties.