Life in a pandemic is better near Water

David Bolden September 1, 2020 0
Life in a pandemic is better near Water

From wakeboarding to smiling at boaters, life in a pandemic is better near water

Carly Mallenbaum


I finally understand what Moana, Disney’s greatest heroine, was going on about.

The line where the sky meets the sea? It calls me, too, as an escape to the constant stress spiral that is a pandemic summer.

Now, instead of feeling isolated indoors, I lead a freer, more amphibious lifestyle with a portion of my days spent on the Margate City, N.J. bay (where I’ve been staying for much of the summer). It has proven to be a healthy change and one I’m not alone in adapting.

This summer, I paddleboard several times a week. The activity allows me to smile widely in the direction of boaters as I float by. I try to be close enough for them to see me grin, but far enough to be safe. Strangers can’t help but return the goofy expression, which makes me feel connected with a humanity I’m otherwise isolated from. (Though I should note when I’m giving a “thumbs down” gesture, that is meant to indicate that they should slow down in a no-wake zone. New boaters, I’m talking to you.)

Moana (voiced by Auli'i Cravalho) from Disney's "Moana" is a brave young woman who is called out to sea. Her mission to save her people is much nobler than mine to find personal joy, but still.

This month, wakeboarding has become my new favorite hobby. Why? Precisely because gliding on water seems like something a person shouldn’t physically be able to do, which makes doing so feel like a superpower. That’s a much better feeling than powerlessness.

I’m not a superhuman just yet, since I spend much more time crashing into the water than I do upright on my board. I should note: I’m currently taking a break from the board as I await the arrival of my new water sport helmet after a major wipeout. But even just floating in my life jacket or sitting on the dock watching seagulls dive for fish (my birdwatching hobby is still going strong) is pleasant.

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