Beautiful and Fun Weekend Ahead

We are now officially in the nicest time of the year in Galveston! Cooler weather is almost upon us, but the water will be warm enough to enjoy without a wetsuit for several weeks. Each day seems to be emptier and more beautiful than the one before. This time of year seems to be when all the locals get out to enjoy the beach and remember how nice the spring and fall are here on our island.

Tomorrow is a big day for water people. Two amazing events will be taking place at Moody Gardens.

In the morning, starting early, the annual Battle on the Bay hosted by Island Paddle and Houston Heat Dragon Boat Club will kick off. Dragon Boat racing has a long, rich history dating back more than 2500 years to the Guangdong Province in Southern China. In the modern era it is a sport that takes the idea of teamwork to its highest level. Teams consisting of up to 22 members, train to work together to reach the finish line first. It’s also one of the fastest growing sports.

Stand-up paddling (SUP) and kayak / canoe racing, although more recent, have strong followings as well.  SUP paddling is one of the most popular activities among first-time participants because it’s so easy to get started and improvement comes rapidly. What many do not realize is that SUP, kayaking and dragon boat activities share much of the same technique and mechanics. There will be both 5K and 10K SUP races, prone paddle races, and canoe, kayak, and surf-ski races. These will be interspersed with Dragon Boat heats. These guys do it right, so if you want to race, watch, or try out dragon boats come on down and join the fun. More info can be found at

As if that wasn’t enough fun for one day, the Endless Summer Surf Reunion will be held that evening- also at Moody Gardens from 7-12. The first ever showing of 70’s Galveston surf scene movie “Broken Waves” will happen during the event. This is a wild, great bunch of people that all hung out together in the 70’s in Galveston surfing and forming what is now our surf culture. They’ll have music, an auction, the movie, and more right in that main pyramid of Moody Gardens. Here’s a link if you’re interested . They’ve generously named our lifesaving association as their donation recipient this year, so all proceeds will support the Galveston Junior Lifeguard Program or will go to enhancement of our flooding response capabilities unless otherwise specified. We were much better prepared for Harvey than we were for Ike, but there are still some ways we can better serve our community the next time something similar rolls around. We can’t thank the Endless Summer crew enough and are really excited about connecting with such a fun and altruistic group.

So whether you get to either event or just up to the beach, be sure and get out there this weekend and enjoy all that living on our island has to offer.

Why They Come

Early Saturday morning I took my daughter, Kai, to the D’Feet Breast Cancer run at Moody Gardens. She had a great time and did the kids 1K, which was the first race she’d ever entered. Afterwards there was a kids’ party that had a whole lot of sponsorship tables with art projects for the kids. She and a couple of her friends from school were manically jumping from one table where they made stain glass windows to another for pet rocks, to yet a third where they made necklaces. It was a really wonderful event.

My wife was out of town and I really don’t know what to do when I don’t work on the weekends. Kai cooked up some scheme that I went along with. She invited a friend for a sleepover and then we invited a few of her friends and their parents to our place for beach and surf time.

It turned out to be a beautiful day. Kai and her friend Chloe, both 8, went with me to the store to get snacks, which they prepared as if they were top chefs in a fancy restaurant. The mob showed up and we set up umbrellas and chairs and boards and sand toys. I grabbed a 12 foot longboard and took 3 or 4 kids at a time out to chest deep water and pushed them into wave after wave. They squealed and laughed till I thought they’d bust a gut. They switched out and made sand castles, looked for shells, played with hermit crabs, and then came for another round of surfing. I got relieved by another couple of parents and went to hang out under the umbrellas.

Sitting under the umbrella I started to relax a bit. Some parents were chatting quietly and others were just sitting and watching the kids play together. The day was perfect and sunny and neither hot nor cool. And that’s when it hit me:

People do this all the time! And they do it because there’s not much better than sitting on the beach under an umbrella in a comfortable beach chair with friends. And I’ve been missing out. Since I’ve been 16 I’ve always worked on beach holiday weekends and pretty much every weekend that’s warm enough for the beach. I’m not complaining at all, it’s a fantastic job. But when there are 300,000 people on the island there is nothing relaxing about working the beach.

Spending that time made me realize why we have almost 6 million visitors a year. We live in a wonderful place. When they get tired of the beach there are so many great things to do between the strand, Moody Gardens, historical buildings, Schlitterbahn, nature tours, great bars, restaurants, and shopping and more. But mostly they come for the beach.

Sitting under that umbrella and listening to the kids playing, the waves rolling to shore, birds, breeze, and all the sounds that make up the stillness was a real reminder of why they come.