The Oil Spill, a Gulf Coast Skimboarder’s Perspective

OilSpill
Posted 02 July 2010   2010 News, Foreverskim Magazine News, News

We received this article about a month ago from Elliot Stone.  It expresses the fear and anticipation of the oil spill from a skimboarder’s perspective.  Read on to see what the mindset of a local skimboarder was before the oil arrived…

The Oil Spill, a Gulf Coast Skimboarder’s Perspective

Words By: Elliot Stone

I’m sure when a skimboarder or surfer thinks “I need a new board” they are generally not questioning whether or not they will be able to ride that board or if it will only be a piece of art in their house.  In the Panhandle of Florida however, that question has been popping up in skimboarders heads more than ever before.   If the oil does reach the panhandle of Florida there will not be skimmers or surfers on the beaches, there will be county officials in hazmat suits cleaning up the oil.  If that happens, the skimboard manufactures, and the shops that sell their products will see a huge decline in their sales, and the same can be said about surfing.

As of now our waters are clean.  However June 1st is the beginning of the 2010 hurricane season, and that throws a huge twist on to the oil spill situation.  This year’s hurricane season has been predicted to be a very active one, but what year hasn’t been since 2004 and 2005.  The past four years we have lucked out with no hurricanes here in the panhandle of FL.  In some sense, we are due for another hurricane and if it does hit us this year we will not only have oil on our beaches but also on the streets of our towns.  Understandably, the residents are concerned.

They keep saying that the likelihood of the oil reaching the panhandle is low.  But my opinion is that there is too much oil in the Gulf of Mexico for our area not to receive any of it.  We have had a few random tar balls come ashore and one day the south west winds were pushing the odors of the oil to the land, so there have been signs of it being out there.  Even with it not having arrived, everyone is talking about it, speculating, and waiting.  Anticipation and fear is running high.  One day there was some seaweed out in the water and everyone was freaking out thinking it was the first oil to reach our shore.  People were relieved when it turned out to just be seaweed, however most still feel that it’s just a matter of time and the right weather patterns before we will see it here on the Emerald Coast.

The businesses and lives of the people who live on the panhandle of Florida rely deeply on the Eco-tourism of this area.  I’d say that 75% of the jobs in this area are seasonal jobs, directly related to tourism.  If the oil shows up, then there won’t be a season for any of those jobs.  The seafood restaurants won’t be able to sell the same kind of fish because the fish they normally sell is contaminated and will cost too much to import.  Nevermind that there won’t be any customers to buy it!  Surf shops won’t be able to sell skimboards, surfboards nor even the apparel they normally sell to the tourists who ordinarily fill out the town during the summer months.  Condo rental properties will sit vacant because no tourists will want to come to our oily beaches.  The owners of those condos will not be able to pay their mortgages, possibly resulting in yet another string of Florida foreclosures.  And finally, all the people who work for those restaurants, condo companies, hotels and surf shops will have no jobs and no income.  This is a disaster that is already threatening to bankrupt entire communities, and it hasn’t even reached the shore yet!

The only thing we can take comfort in is that the projections continue to tell us that the oil is not headed in our direction.  We certainly hope that prediction proves correct.  It is going to be a lose/lose situation wherever the oil does wind up, but for myself anywhere is better than here.

For more about how the oil spill is affecting skimboarding, check out Foreverskim’s upcoming issue #40.

Comments

comments

3 Comments

  1. Well put dude. As another Florida Gulf Coast skimboarder, I know how you feel. As the oil continues to flow, it’s getting to be a bigger and bigger concern. I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s in the back of everyone’s minds.

    Posted by Alec MacKinnon on 04 July 10 at 4:08pm [Reply]
  2. Elliot- I hope your beaches stay clean. Until then, get as many sessions in as you can!

    While this is a major screw-up by BP, let us not forget that the material our boards are made of is derived from this very substance polluting the waters.

    Here’s looking to greener boards!

    Posted by Brian on 06 July 10 at 1:57pm [Reply]
  3. Guld är härligt och även värdefullt. Priset på guld har gått upp med över 100 % på ett par år.

    Posted by Guld on 17 September 10 at 1:40am [Reply]

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