Ott Surfs The Waves For A Chance of Success
Barbara Ott enjoys surfing so much that she gets up at 6 or 7 in the morning to catch the best waves. Barbara then goes back home, eats lunch and then goes back to the surfers’ beach in the afternoon for more surfing. The seventeen-year-old hopes that one-day her surfing talents will be recognized on a national scale.
At an early age, Ott loved how she saw the local and visiting surfers body board, shore board or surf the waves just a few blocks away from her home. Once Barbara told her father of her interest in surfing, he was glad to support Barbara’s intent on getting into the water. Ott’s father taught her the basics every time she got into the water. Now 17 years old, Ott started to get the itch to compete against others. She was asked and convinced by William Acosta, owner of the Tsunami Surf Shop, to enter into some tournaments to compete with other surfers her age. Ott did not hesitate and jumped at the offer.
Ott brims with confidence and that belief in her abilities led her to win big in the Eastern Surfboard Association Summer Classic Tournament in Long Island. She captured first place in the shoreboard event in her age category and also won the Best Wave overall in the women’s competition.
Ott takes surfing seriously and knows how big the tides are or when the weather conditions is right or wrong for surfing. Though there are some nice waves in the summer, she knows when exactly the best season is for surfing.
"That happens in late August, September and November. Hurricane season," said Ott. She gets giddy with the early forecasts that the weather may be rough in those three months, which makes for excellent waves for surfers. Though Ott did not go out for the Nor’easter storm, she is definitely looking forward to that type of weather in 2003. "During the Nor’easter last year, it got to about anywhere from 7 to 12 feet" says Ott. "I can’t wait." One of her goals is to surf during the winter months. "My ultimate goal is to surf when it’s snowing", Ott said.
Ott would love to see more women compete in surfing especially since she is one of the few women who surf in the Rockaway beaches. After an article about her surfing was published in the New York Times, some of her friends and a few girls were interested but not much more came out of it. "When I was in the contest, there was at least eight girls my age and I never seen that many girls that age surf and I never seen that many girls all at one time." Since men dominate the sport, Ott would like to see women become more forceful and involved so sponsors will help support female surfers in the present and the future.
Ott is looking for a sponsor to compete in tournaments across the country and hopefully entering these contests will help her continue her dream of surfing. Now entering her senior year at Beach Channel High School, Ott is definitely thinking about her future. When asked what she might be doing ten years from now, Ott said she would love to keep surfing, teach, or do both. Barbara might even teach surfing to her high school students if anyone was interested. "Teaching surfing in high school. That would be awesome!"