Sunday, August 03, 2003

Column: After a compeition, participating in a community.

When I first started to surf seriously in May of last year, I felt so
isolated. One surfer from work got a new kid and then moved away to inland,
never to be seen in the ocean again. Another close friend from work who live
very close by also got a new kid and so that meant less surfing. So the
timing was a bit bad, should this have been a year sooner, I would have done
a bit better to start.

I am also a bit shy in front of people so I do not talk much to people on
the line up or do things like that, so I have basically struggled for the
first good 8 months just trying to do it by myself. In the retrospect, this
was a mistake. What I should have done is to join at least a Yahoo group or
something and start to find people at the similar (but a bit better) level
as I was, then try to set up trips to SC or other easy spots near-by. But
you know, just reading the messages in these boards intimidated me so much.
This is part of the reason why I created my web site with information for
beginners and intermediates so at least other people who will be in the same
situation as I was would know that they are not alone.

Fast forward 15 months, and now I was in HMB Classic, and now I had 6 other
surfing friends to either come see me surf, or go actually be in the

So what helped me the most. Going to the Club Ed camp was a big plus, I am
still in touch with Ed, and also made two good friends from it whom we surf.
Because they are SC based, and also active in SC surfing community, I now
feel like I am expanding the network out there. Another biggie is to
participate as a volunteer at Surfrider Foundation San Mateo Chapter. This
is where my geek skills meet totally cool surfing by providing web solutions
for the group.

I am a member of lots of things like museums or Commonwealth club, but in
terms of networking just as members and going to meetings and receptions
never helped me to network. But once you are actively helping something out,
then you can begin to network at a completely different level than being
just being a member.

Through the SRF, we met the organizer of the Surf Classic, and now I know
these guys fairly well, also the guys at the Board Shop as well. By just
entering there and people saw my name up on the board, some Japanese surfers
were curious about me, and so I met several Japanese surfers in the area.

So, if you feel like you are just surfing alone without a support, you
should not only just join as member of a club, but go and do some
volunteering at the group of your choice. I am sure that in most groups
there usually are all sorts of works not completed and you can take up a
small piece of it. You'd be appreciated by everyone, helping the cause or
community, and you get to know the people who are shaping the community. Be
it surfing, or any other stuff you'd be interested in.

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