On Saturday, at Rockaway Beach in New York City, the Black Surfing Association (East Coast) held a paddle out to honor George Floyd, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and protests across the country. The paddle out is an established surfing tradition when someone dies, a floating memorial. Surfers, paddle boarders, and kayakers venture into the ocean and form a circle while holding hands. Participants usually hold flowers in their teeth, or throw them into the water.
Rockaway Beach boasts beautiful homes, but it also features shoreline housing project units. While surfing is a predominantly white sport in the United States, Rockaway has a generally diverse surf scene compared to many other parts of the country—that’s largely thanks to the groups that helped organize the paddle out, like the Black Surfing Association and Black Girls Surf.