Sunday, September 11, 2016

What if everyone had an ocean?

For a big chunk of my childhood we lived on an island. The waterfront was never far away; any drive around Vashon was punctuated by glimpses of Puget Sound. An easy bike ride would take me to the beach or fishing pier (though riding back home might be too much for little legs). Seattle, where we lived next, was much the same.

Soon, though, life took me further inland, first to college a vexing hour-long drive from the Pacific (but at least surrounded by broad, beautiful rivers heading that direction), and then to Colorado, where the nearest beach was 1000 miles distant and nearly every body of water was a man-made reservoir.

I pouted. No water? "We should flood Nebraska and put in an ocean!" I quipped, privately pondering whether I'd prefer having one to the east of me, for sunrises, or west (so long, Utah), where it would have to be on the other side of the mountains, but better suited for sunsets.

Never did I really think that, short of massive climate change, such a thing might happen.

Turns out that half a dozen US development companies have been been formed around the idea of inland seas. Well, something like that: a chain of surf parks. 

It's not about strolling on the beach, soothed by rhythms of waves on the pebbles and changing tides, or birds, bonfires, and boats. Such things, though widely appreciated, might not be able to provide the financial drive to support this move.

But competitive sports might. With surfing set to become an Olympic sport at the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the appeal of acres and acres of perfectly designed waves may find its audience.    

To learn more, see For Developers, the Surf Is Always Up (New York Times, via Eugene Register Guard) or visit Inland Surfer.

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