Emily Grossarth RFH Surf Surfer Rumson
Aug 01, 2018

Surf Star Creates a Wave

By Lori Draz and Emily Grossarth

Emily Grossarth RFH Surf Surfer Rumson

Welcome to Teen Scene

Each month our young authors write, in their own voice, stories that will educate and inform fellow students and parents. If you are a teen who would like to write your story, contact the Journal. We’ll help you polish it up, so don’t worry, let’s just get to sharing.

Intro for Emily

This month’s author is Rumson’s Emily Grossarth, a 16-year-old rising junior and a founding member of the RFH Surf Team. Emily recently received the high honor of being chosen as a 2018 East Coast “All Star” surfer by the Eastern Surfing Association (ESA). She has also been named RFH Surf Team MVP 2016, 2017, and 4 Northeast National Scholastic Surfing Association. In addition, she has a business called Blue Crush Surf Adventures where she gives private and group surf lessons. Like all surfers, she has an intimate relationship with the ocean, in all its unpredictable glory. The often-temperamental Atlantic has taught her many life lessons. Here is Emily’s story:

Ever since I was very young, the ocean has been a powerful force in my life. The lessons I carry with me every day have all stemmed from the ocean, because I have always viewed the ocean as a parallel to real life. Both are unpredictable, filled with uncertainty, but neither will fail to ultimately gift you the most incredible sense of joy and happiness.

My first real connection to the ocean came when I was 4 years old. Dependent upon my (self-proclaimed) superior ability to “doggy paddle” and the hope that my dad’s surfing genes were on his X chromosome, one summer day in Lavallette, my father took me into the ocean on one of his old surfboards. He put me on the very front of the board while he lay behind me and paddled us into waves. Unbeknownst to my 4-year-old self, I was about to embark upon a life-long journey and enter a world that would forever change my life.

Throughout my many years of surfing, there is one wave that I will never forget. It was the summer after I learned how to surf; my dad took me out into the ocean. My entire extended family and close friends lined the shoreline, their fingers anxiously hovering above the shutter buttons of various Kodak cameras.

My father whispered, “Start paddling, Em, here comes a good one!” Within a split second, my arms struck the water and I began to make great strides toward the beach. I felt my father push my board into the wave while I jumped to my feet. I remember looking back to see a glowing smile on his face and hearing the cheers of my family and friends. A force field of pure bliss and happiness surrounded me.

Very quickly, however, the force field vanished when I began to hear screams from the beach. Before I knew it, my legs were swept underneath me and suddenly I was sitting in the lap of a middle-aged man in a bright green kayak. True to my 5-year-old self, I put my hands up in the air and started to laugh and smile – I thought I was on a water roller coaster. Back on the beach, I was still smiling and laughing, completely unaware of what had happened.

Looking back, I realize this was the first lesson that surfing had taught me; that with every negative situation, there is always a positive. You need to embrace life’s craziness life and enjoy every moment of it.

To fully embrace all of life’s opportunities, at age 13, I entered my first surf contest. It was a local Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) contest during early May in Loch Arbor. The waves were quite big (to my former 4-feet-11-inches self), and it was bitterly cold for early May. Despite the conditions, I paddled out for my heat, caught a couple fun waves, and shared a few laughs. I was not focused on winning. I was not focused on losing. I was focused on having fun.

To this day, this is the mindset I try to keep with me during every contest. Although this is difficult to process at times, you lose more than you win, and to be successful in competitive surfing, you must accept this.

Putting a smile on your face after a tough loss is one of the hardest things, but it has made me a much stronger person in the end. I have learned to have patience and faith in the ocean, to maintain composure and ferocity, and to always search for the teachable moments in life.

These lessons have ultimately shaped my surfing in an incredibly positive manner. This past year, I was named to the ESA All Star Team, one of 23 distinguished surfers along the East Coast. As an All Star, I get to train under world-class coaches, travel with my fellow teammates to foster new relationships, and gain exposure within the surfing industry. My time as an ESA All Star has truly been extraordinary, and I am consistently and incredibly humbled to train among the most talented, up-and-coming East Coast surfers.

Without surfing, I would not be the person I am today. It has given me the opportunity to experience the world from a different perspective, and the ability to enter new situations with a unique outlook on life. This outlook is ultimately a mosaic of lessons the ocean has taught me through surfing: both competitively and individually. I am incredibly grateful for all I have learned and cannot wait to spend the rest of my life learning from the ocean.

Life is full of surprises. Sometimes things work perfectly, sometimes they don’t, but if you can have fun and stay open, even in unpredictable situations, you will something from every experience.

Follow Emily on Instagram @BlueCrushSurfAdventures.