At 59 years old and with a preexisting condition, Paralympic rower Angela Madsen had plenty to worry about as the coronavirus spread across the country. So she dipped the oars of her small rowboat in the Pacific and pointed the bow toward Hawaii. She never returned.
Former pro Jon Rose was chasing the biggest swells in Sumatra when the 2009 earthquake hit, and he spent the next decade providing clean water in remote disaster zones. Last fall his Waves for Water crew was in Saint Croix when Hurricane Maria struck, so the team did what came naturally: got to work.
The notion that wave riding is a form of high art is outdated in the face of a multi billion-dollar global surfing industry. Young competitors want to represent their countries on the largest stage. We should let them.