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Sunrise Olympics: Phylicia Ashley takes on surfing at Kentucky Kingdom

Published: Jul. 30, 2021 at 9:30 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Finding a surfer or wicked waves in Louisville is not an easy task. But for the WAVE 3 Sunrise Olympics team, anything is possible.

We found Los Angeles surfer Cruz Avendaño Dreyfuss. We asked what it was like to see surfing in the Olympics.

“It’s so exciting,” Dreyfuss said. “Surfing is a curious thing. Its roots are in spirituality and different communities in the Polynesian, Micronesian Melanesian area. As a more commodified sport, there can be some tension there. Approaching it as a sport or approaching it in a more spiritual way. But, as a sport it has had an opportunity to reach out and help and heal so many people out there. The people who can really take off with it, the athletes, they’re amazing.”

Surfings’ impact is as powerful as the waves that guide the sport.

“A lot of surfing and being in the ocean in general is relinquishing that need for total control,” Dreyfuss said. “You’re working around the ocean itself. You can stare at the wave patterns all you want, the minute you get in, they’re going to change a little bit. They’re all constantly changing.”

Dreyfuss started surfing with the organization Color the Water, following incidents of police brutality including the murder of George Floyd. Surfers paddled out to honor the life of community members who have died. It also opened the door for indigenous people of color to surf after a history of past years’ segregation.

Before I hit the water with WAVE 3 News intern Lucy Calderon, Dreyfuss taught us how to flow with the waves, feel the tides and create a relationship with the water.

“One of the toughest parts for me and one of the most important parts is being able to read which wave to take,” Dreyfuss said.

With our mini boards, we found the surf at the Kentucky Kingdom wave pool. Finding the right wave was another challenge.

“If you are at a competition, you want to surf the very best you can and do the coolest thing possible,” Dreyfuss said.

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