Hitting the waves was an enjoyable experience

Traveling is one of my favorite pastimes.

In early August, I had the opportunity to visit Aliso Viejo, California for a visit with my childhood friends Aaron Woitas and Shawn Peake. Within an hour of landing at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana, we made the short 8-mile jaunt from Woitas’ residence in Aliso Viejo to Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point. Once we reached our destination, it took us nearly 20 minutes to discover an open parking spot due to the popularity of the beach.

We brought a football and ran pass routes on the beach, but the highlight of the visit was hitting the waves to body surf. I’ve absolutely loved the water since I learned how to swim at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard pool in Bremerton in 1991 as a 9-year-old.

I grew up in a town called Belfair, which is 72 miles from Mercer Island in Mason County. The town was in close proximity to various sources of water, including the Hood Canal, Puget Sound and a sizable amount of lakes/rivers. Visits to the Pacific Ocean during my childhood were sparse because of the 94-mile one-way drive to Ocean Shores. Waves were always fascinating to me and I loved swimming in the ocean, even though it didn’t happen as frequently as I would have liked.

I couldn’t wait to fully take advantage of one of Orange County’s finest beaches.

For the next 90 minutes, Woitas and I attempted to catch as many waves as possible. As the day progressed, waves continued to significantly swell. For every wave we did indeed catch, we missed a multitude of others due to our lack of ocean experience. Multiple times the intense force of the ocean tossed me around like a pinball in a 1980s arcade facility.

A few times, I was driven forcefully into the sand by the power of the waves. By the time we departed the beach, my upper back, right wrist and right foot were sore, courtesy of the unbridled power of the Pacific Ocean. It was an absolute blast and was by far one of the highlights of my summer.

In my opinion, going swimming in the ocean or hiking in the wilderness are two of the purest activities a human can partake in. When an individual steps foot in the ocean or the woods, they are at the mercy of nature. You can take as many precautions as you want, but you really aren’t in control of anything.

There aren’t many places in society in 2017 where that is the case. I can’t wait to return to Orange County in the near future for another visit to Salt Creek.

More in Sports

Mercer Island senior football player John Majewski hauls in a pass during a player led team workout on July 18 on Mercer Island. The Islanders, who finished with an overall record of 7-4 during the 2018 season, are looking to build on last year’s sensational season on the gridiron.
                                Shaun Scott, staff photo
Islanders looking to build on a stellar 2017 season

Mercer Island football team is putting in the preparation.

Photo courtesy of Tim Bauman
                                Mercer Island boys soccer players Reis Kissel and Hunter Bauman were named to the Washington High School first-team all-state boys soccer this past May.
                                It was the third consecutive season Kissel and Bauman received first-team, all-state honors. Reis, who played defender for the Islanders, will be attending Vassar College this fall. Bauman, who played midfielder for the Islanders, will be attending the University of Washington. Bauman (left), Islanders head coach Colin Rigby (center) and Kissel (right) are pictured in the above photo.
Islanders soccer stars earn coveted honors

Mercer Island 2018 graduates finish sensational high school soccer careers.

Going outside of the comfort zone

Sound Publishing sportswriter Shaun Scott discusses his affinity for hot yoga.

Mercer Island resident Anna Bolger (far right) earned a third-place finish in the 14-17 year-old age group at the Spartan Race Chicago Super and the Spartan Race Chicago Sprint on June 23-24 at the Richmond Hunting Club in Chicago.
                                Bolger clocked a time of 3:19:35 in the Spartan Race Chicago Super and a time of 2:08:57 in the Spartan Race Chicago Sprint. The Super, a Spartan Signature Race, included 8-10 miles of 24-29 obstacles for racers to tackle at the Richmond Hunting Club. The Sprint event consisted of 3-5 miles and 20-23 obstacles. The courses features miles of technical terrain, steep elevation and obstacles to push competitors to their limits.
                                Photo courtesy of Flora Goodman/Elevate Communications
Bolger takes third at Chicago races

Mercer Island resident Anna Bolger (far right) earned a third-place finish in… Continue reading

Avid swimmers spanning six states partook in the Mercer Island marathon swim on June 8. The distance, which covered 20 kilometers, saw 10 competitors complete the swim around Mercer Island in Lake Washington.
                                Participants included Daniela Klaz (Maine), Marcy MacDonald (Connecticut), Chris Greene (Georgia), Cindy Werhane (Oregon), Rijl Barber (Oregon), Wendy Van De Sompele (Washington), Jessi Harewicz (Washington), Suzie Dods (California) and Kim Rutherford (California). Klaz finished in first place with a time of 6:15.28.The swimmers (pictured) began their journey near the fishing dock at Luther Burbank Park at 8 a.m. on June 8 as they headed toward the east channel bridge. Photo courtesy of Liz Rosen
Swimmers partake in Mercer Island marathon swim

Individuals from multiple states make trip to Mercer Island for the event.

Gillian d’Hondt celebrates after watching her team win the Class 3A state basketball title in March of 2017 at the Tacoma Dome. Photo courtesy of Don Borin/Stop Action Photography
State-champion coach resigns from position

Gillian d’Hondt departs after three seasons of leading the Islanders girls hoops program.

The Mercer Island Islanders girls water polo team earned fifth place at the state tournament on May 26 at the Curtis Aquatic Center in University Place. Photo courtesy of Debby Fry Wilson
Islanders girls water polo team earns fifth place at the state tournament

Mercer Island will return 10 varsity players to the roster in 2019.

Sparkle Squad. Katie Metzger/Staff photo
Mercer Island’s Sparkle Squad is here to cheer

The unified cheer group is made up of 13 mentors and nine students withintellectual disabilities.