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Earlier today, the group left the dorms, climbed into the van, and we drove to Huntington Beach near noon. Strangely, it was humid today and the weather kept fluctuating from very hot to very cold. But Huntington Beach was packed because of the Vans Surf and Skate Open that was taking place. We started the day by watching the skate competition. At the time that we had arrived, there were some young girls practicing skating in the bowl. It was such a cool thing to experience. These girls were so confident and strong while participating in a sport that is largely male dominated. And they were so young! They looked to be about 11-15 years old. Not only was it incredible to watch how talented these young girls are, but it was also interesting to see how skateboarding is a huge part of Californian culture. A skateboarding competition would never be an event in New Jersey!

Later, we watched the surf competition from the pier. This was also really fun and awesome to watch. These surfers were also young—perhaps 15-17 years old—and they were also just as talented as the skaters. Surfing is an incredible sport to watch and I couldn’t believe that I was. I have only ever seen surf competitions through videos posted online, so to see one in person was phenomenal. I also passed by two 2 year old boys in their wetsuits, getting ready to paddle out to surf. I was shocked and amazed. For some, learning to surf is as normal as learning to ride a bike. It’s incredible to see the differences in East Coast and West Coast culture and how the populations, weather, geography, etc. have molded each region into what it is today.

Working and exploring Orange County has been great—the work is rewarding, and I am also experiencing a totally different way of and perspective on life.