Watermen are of the sea; they feel strange on land, wish mermaids were real, and don’t tell fish stories, but live them.
A Waterman is not a rank; it is a lifestyle. Surfing started with true Watermen- fishing, diving, living on coconuts and the ocean’s bounty. Watermen are connected to the ocean like mangrove trees, living half in and half out of the water. Watermen, like the Mangrove, depend on the ocean for survival, fitness, nutrients, and in some ways a purpose and meaning to life. While many try to become what they consider one with the ocean, only those with salt water in their veins achieve aquatic greatness.
When a Waterman spends too much time on land, they need the purification of water. The smell of the sea brings olfactory memories of sleepless nights sailing through heavy seas, big fish caught with small spears and possibly the very meaning to their existence. They don’t need a fresh water shower. Watermen are comfortable with salt on their skin, hair and eyes.
The sea calls to everyone, but Watermen speak the language of the sea. Surfing, free diving, paddling, kayaking, ocean swimming or lifeguarding alone does not make a person a Waterman. It's the accumulation and the near mastery of all or at least multiple water endeavors that may put you in lineup to be considered a waterperson. Watermen are of the sea; they feel strange on land, wish mermaids were real, and don’t tell fish stories, but live them... More
Lifeguards for Life
The word lifeguard may be self explanatory, but the actual meaning of what it is to be a lifeguard is much more complicated. Obtaining the title of lifeguard is no easy task; however, it is one that stays with that person his/her entire life. When the word lifeguard comes to mind most people conjure up mental images of an overly faked tanned David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson running down the beach lubed with baby oil. More?
The Lifeguard Story...
It's now 0630 on the big day and Bruce's mom has just woke her star child with breakfast in bed and dad is pumped. Bruce, accompanied by his parents, drives to the beach after breakfast to watch their son put all that training to the test. When they arrive at the beach Bruce is wondering what exactly he is getting himself into. The surf is the biggest it has been in years and it looks like the tryouts are still being held. The water is 55 degrees Fahrenheit and wetsuits are not allowed because of longtime tradition and the advantage of floatation.(read on below)
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A Waterman Named Waterman
Marcus White-Waterman is how he introduced himself. "Really?" I replied, not quite realizing until after I spoke that my incredulity could cause offense, or at least an uncomfortable moment of silence. I doubled down: "Really? That's your name?"
"Hyphenated, actually," he said. "White and Waterman. Sometime in the past a proud woman refused to surrender her name when she married, but didn't want to ignore her husband because his name—Waterman—meant something in the community."
White-Waterman. The name fit his appearance. He looked like a creature of a white water ocean: bleach-blonde hair, deeply tanned skin, a lean almost slippery physique. He looked to be pushing 50, but as full of life as anyone I knew half his age. In my mind I tried to guess what it was he might have done in the water; clearly he did something there and completely infused his appearance. "So you seem somehow to live your name, Waterman. Do you surf?"
"Only on weekends. I should call myself mainly an under-waterman these days. I'm a free diver."
I couldn't help but raise my eyebrows. I knew the world of free diving. I'd lost a close friend to free diving. We were two ordinary boys as kids, but as we grew up differences emerged. Unlike me he was a daredevil, always pushing boundaries. He was a natural waterman, seemed almost to have gills—until that one day he didn't come back. It was a strange coincidence that I would meet Marcus White-Waterman this day standing in line at the supermarket. I normally don't chat up people around me. Subconsciously I must have seen my friend in him.
"It was nice chatting with you," he said as he grabbed his groceries. "If you're interested I run a Scuba diving class near the Oceanside marina." He pulled out a scruffy looking card and handed it to me. It looked like it had been wet. "First lesson is on me."
I smiled. Me a waterman? I was nothing like my friend, but maybe somehow my friend found me. Maybe his spirit prompted me to start speaking to a stranger in line at the supermarket. Maybe he's now another hyphen added to Mr. White-Waterman.
Lifeguards off duty
That rather unique television series "Bay Watch" did a number to what people believe lifeguarding is all about. Sure the job has its perks, but lifeguarding isn't just hard bodies, sun, sand, parties, and white zinc on your nose. Lifeguarding is not just a glamorous summer job; it is a lifestyle that only the most mentally strong can endure.
A lifeguard is never really off-duty, just look at any veteran lifeguard he/she will not turn his/her back on the water, and will most likely have a pair of swim fins close at hand at any given time. Ask any lifeguard about the most critical rescue he/she has made and you might be surprised to learn that the best rescues made are often off-duty.
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