Utne Reader #4

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Utne Reader - Article #4 Surfer Girls Author: Susan Orlean

This article chronicles the lives of a few surfer girls in Hawaii. The town is named Hana and is a very small community with only a general store, no movie theaters, grocery stores or malls. Most of the families that live in Hana are in the lower income bracket and some do not have cars or telephones. The nearest town is approximately a two hour drive, so the adolescents of Hana have plenty of time to devote to surfing the tides. Most education is done through home schooling and formal education is not a top priority.

The author spent a weekend with the Hana girls, as they are known, and discovered what motivates them. These girls are typical girls talking about everyday things clothes, hairstyles, boys and their favorite surfer. They have their hopes and dreams and they have had some life experiences that not all teenagers have had. They are dedicated to their sport and enjoy living the life they live. Their coach, who is more than a coach to them, is a person who has guided these girls in many areas besides surfing. He is a father figure, since most of the Hana girls come from single family homes, he is a teacher in life lessons and of course he is their surfing mentor. Since the girls live so far from town they often will sleep at his home with he and his family and the girls see this as their home away from home. As the author spent time with them she realized that this group was more like a family than anything else. The girls were competing in a competition during the weekend and they were very excited about that. As the weekend progressed each girl ended with a good finish and it showed the people of the competition that the Hana girls were a force to be watched to succeed in the future.

This article had no real purpose. However, being a mother of two teenage girls who are very involved in sports I found it to be entertaining. It was interesting to me that no matter where teenagers grow up and no matter what their life situations may be girls with common interests will basically live the same type of existence. The article was fun to read but not something I necessary have an opinion on or could discuss at length about what I took away from it. Sometimes its fun just to read things for the fun of it.

My final comment on this article would be that if you have actively involve athletic daughters this would be a entertaining article to read.

-- Anonymous, April 23, 1999

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