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The Freedom to Be: Black Surfers in the Rockaways

posted by Jason Kottke   Jun 23, 2021

This short documentary takes a look at the Black surfing community in the Rockaways. These surfers are members of the Black Surfing Association (East Coast branch), which Surfer magazine profiled last summer:

“When you talk to kids here at Rockaway, they think of a surfer as John John Florence — blonde,” says Harris. “When I say, ‘Hey, I’m a surfer,’ they’re shocked. We’re trying to reach every kid, but we’re really trying to reach the kids that wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity.

We just want to keep kids busy and active, and spread the message and spread the stoke of surfing, and go into schools and talk to kids about water safety.”

“There’s no racism out there”, says Harris of the ocean. “When you come out of that water, of course you go back to your life. But you lose yourself when you get into the waves.”