The surfing community gathered Friday evening at Ditch Plains in Montauk as part of “Solidarity in Surf,” a worldwide protest paddle out to remember George Floyd and all those who lost their lives to police brutality.
The “paddle out,” a Hawaiian tradition used by surfers to remember and show respect a fellow surfer who has died, was organized by Black Girls Surf, an empowerment and development surf camp in San Jose, CA, for those who want to pursue professional surfing. “We’re changing the visual . . . It’s time to set an example of oneness not just on land but in the ocean as well. We are one. It’s time to use your voice to speak out for injustice,” the organization wrote on its Facebook. “This paddle out is in celebration for the lives lost and the HOPE we have for future generations. This about LOVE for another.”
Thousands performed the paddle out, at different times Friday, around the world from Dakar, Senegal to Huntington Beach in California, from Biarritz, France to a beach in Galveston, Texas.
In Montauk, about 150 or more surfers gathered on the shore with an equal number of friends and family on hand. Many of the surfers carried a rose in their teeth as they paddled out on their boards to a position about 100 yards offshore. There, they formed a circle to honor of Floyd.
Many of their friends and family members on shore held signs bearing slogans like “Racism Is A Pandemic Too” or “If Not Now, Then When?”
Most of those on shore wore masks, to stop the spread of COVID-19, though some did not. In areas, the crowd was fairly dense, with people ignoring social distancing guidelines, despite having a beach on which they could potentially spread out.
Taylor K. Vecsey contributed reporting.