It’s cool in the water.
My chapped lips taste the saltwater and the bitter morning. I move my hands slowly in the quiet sea, making ripples. It’s serene out here in Oahu’s ocean – however, only for a little while. Little waves still patter underneath my surfboard. I gaze towards the distance and wonder when the next set of waves shall approach me.
The waves in Hawaii are truly different from Guam’s. And when I say this, I mean better, from my perspective.
The waves in Guam are all over reefs; they break easily and don’t stand as well, unlike Hawaii’s smooth tides. Hawaii’s waves are long and graceful; a surfer has so much more time to paddle and stand on their board. One single wave can smoothly take a surfer across the whole beach.
Now I understand – and respect – why this glorious island is known for its rich tides.
Of course, with good waves comes good surfers. All around me are young surfer girls whose tans reflect the sun’s golden rays. They possess long, bleach-blonde hair, and spots of sun damage freckle their shoulders. These local girls control the Hawaiian sea with their boards.
With a stroke, they climb onto those blue rolling hills. When they see their wave, their arms run across the crest of the sea, swimming and kicking off like fish until they catch their ride and finally surf across the ocean.
Their movements and attitudes mirror the waves – calm, collective… and yet forever wild.
There may be better tides in other areas,
but a wave can define what a person can become.
I question if I’ll ever be like those girls. I envy how they have better waves than I, the one who lives and poorly represents Guam and our “reef waves.” Nonetheless, our lives are beyond different to compare. Yes, we are surfers, and yes, we share the same ocean. Yet the essence of each wave we ride defines a completely separate culture, instead creating a different attitude and technique in how we respond and live with our tides. A wave can affect our fish, our fishermen, our families, and our lives.
I can feel the difference between waves once I stand on my board and begin to surf. There may be better tides in other areas, but a wave can define what a person can become. I know my waves in Guam. They can be more challenging to surf than the Hawaiian’s tides; because of it, it’ll take longer for me to be as good as those girls.
But in quiet, tranquil moments in Guam’s ocean… when I am awaiting for yet another set of waves to approach me, I can discover my passion, my lifestyle, and my identity through the silent ripples of the sea.
And I know… I am supposed to be there – my childhood waves.
DeAnna English: Hawaii, 2013
About the Author
Born in Washington, raised in Guam, and now living in Vegas, DeAnna grew up living the “standby life” – in short, catching any open plane seat she could get her hands on. Now, Dee values interviewing the ones who represent change – from entrepreneurs in Peru to descendants of the Fa’amatai in the Pacific.