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Engulfed in Wakkiki


By Preston Price

    I spent most of the day on Wakkiki beach in Hawaii, and it was an enormous amount of fun.  The beach area was beautiful with clear shallow waters, although it was cramped with the masses of people.  Being an amature surfer I was pleased with the circumstances of having small steady waves, believing it was ideal conditions for beginner surfers.  My up close observation took place in the water where I experienced the anthropological technique of participant observation in becoming one with in the surfing community.  I rented out a surfing board for about an hour and attempted to enter the surfing world.  The competition was very chaotic, with so many people trying to catch the same small wave.  It was a constant struggle trying to keep from getting hit by other surfers as well as dodging others when I attempted to catch a wave.  Being in the mix of things gave me a true feeling for what it is like to be in the inside world of surfing.  Stereotypically, one usually thinks surfers are a laid back and chilled out kind of people.  However, the unexpected chaos gave me a better idea of what it really means to fight for a wave.

    When I decided to call it quits, I returned to sitting on the beach and observing from an outsider’s point of view.  This became my zoom out version of the event scene.  I saw things in a new light, which was more peaceful and easier for me to take observations of the whole scenario.  I soon noticed that the surfers were grouped in clusters that covered very small areas of the ocean.  This led me to conclude a bizarre comparison.  To me, the masses of surfers appeared from a distance to be like a flock of birds resting on the surface of the water forming unusually tight groupings.  I thought this symbolical comparison was simply hilarious because it made brought to my attention that regardless of being more intelligent or having a more intricate culture, we humans are ultimately just another animal
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