When the waves are rolling in and the day is begging to be enjoyed, you’ll find a solid lineup of surfers waiting to catch the perfect set of waves. But it’s not just the adults who are setting their sights on the shoreline. Instead, kids of all ages are paddling past the break and into the action as they help usher in the surf culture for Charleston’s youth.
Excited to know more, I caught up with five young shredders as they headed to the beach to catch the afternoon break and fill me in on what excites them most about surfing the mellow waves along the Lowcountry coast.
With their school, Sullivan’s Island Elementary, a short walk from the sand’s edge and weekends spent enjoying the beach, surfing has become second nature for these kids growing up in the Carolinas. While there is an obvious love and respect for the ocean, their favorite part of surfing comes down to catching waves with friends – getting together as often as possible to hone their craft and have the time of their young lives.
The youthful energy is undeniable as you listen to them talk about their many adventures. The two older boys, Liam Glowacki and Wyatt Deaton, both 11, excitedly tell of the time they tandem surfed on a long board one summer, with Liam adding with a laugh: “I had a broken leg in a cast the whole time.”
Two of the 10-year-olds, twins Cameron and Dubose Foley, though only learning to surf two years ago, have both already claimed first place in their individual competitions. And, finally, fellow 10-year-old Peyton Shaw has not only enjoyed surfing both coasts of the United States but has taken to the waves in Costa Rica, where he lived with his family for over a year.
“I’m lucky to be able to surf here and in Costa Rica, because I love the ocean,” Peyton pointed out.
As for the only girl of the group, Cameron said getting other girls out there is more difficult than it should be.
“The hardest part is getting out there in the first place,” she said. “After that, the fun doesn’t stop.”
It isn’t all sand and surf for this group of high-energy school kids, either. From soccer to BMX to skating, if it involves an adrenaline rush or a fast-paced atmosphere, they plan to be front and center.
At the end of the day, it’s exciting to see that the surf culture in Charleston is rising among the ranks of the younger kids, bringing a passion and dedication to a sport that has been enjoyed around here for decades. With the increased interest, everyone involved hopes that more programs will soon abound to support the continued growth of the sport.
Now is the time for these kids to make their mark on the Charleston surf community. Whether it’s surfing their favorite beach break in Folly or staying closer to home in Isle of Palms and Sullivan’s Island, they’re more excited than ever to chase the sun beyond the horizon. But more than anything, they’re looking forward to a surge in wave-riding friends their age.
“We get to be out there with our friends, making turns and cutbacks,” said DuBose, who wants to see more surfers his age showing up each day. “It’s fun.”
The genuine desire to share the thrill of catching waves or the satisfaction of perfecting a new trick is a welcomed sentiment to see from the youngest generation. While I knew their talents and skills would blow me away, it was their attitude, excitement and energy out of the water that impressed and inspired me most of all.
By Krysta Chapman