There’s nothing quite like a surfer’s first wave.

The thrill of gliding atop water, the sound of the rushing surf and the feeling of accomplishment as you point the board toward shore and realize the pure joy and freedom that comes with riding a wave.

A whole new crop of first-time surfers are likely to be in the water Sunday at Jimmy’s on the Pier here in Galveston.

The Texas Gulf Surfing Association and Texas Surf Camps will hold its annual Galveston Grom Roundup beginning at 8 a.m. Aug. 4 at the 91st Street Fishing Pier, 9001 Seawall Blvd. The roundups are free events that aim to give children who are new to surfing the chance to surf in a contest scenario while introducing them to the TGSA.

Beginning surfers will surf in their own divisions as they compete for medals and trophies while seasoned TGSA competitors will surf in separate exhibition heats. The first 36 entrants who register for the Grom Roundup are guaranteed to receive a participant award.

If you miss the Galveston event, a similar roundup is planned to start at 8 a.m. Aug. 11 at the Horace Caldwell Pier in Port Aransas.

You can learn more about the Grom Roundups, the TGSA and Texas Surf Camps at www.surftgsa.org.

NEW BEACH RENOURISHMENT PROJECT HAS BEGUN

If you’ve driven Seawall Boulevard west of 61st Street over the past week, you’ve likely seen the pipes and the dredge preparing for the next wave of sand pumping that will replenish Babe’s Beach from 61st Street to 83rd Street.

Crews began preparing for the $8.2 million beach replenishment initiative in late July and will start placing sand pumped in from the ship channel along the beaches around Aug. 10. During the 60-day period of the project, there will be limited access to the beaches affected by the work.

Here’s hoping this latest renourishment doesn’t negatively affect the surfing along this stretch of the seawall. The last project, which added sand to beaches east of 61st Street to 12th Street, definitely changed the surf breaks at the groins along this section, and they’ve yet to fully recover.

While the beaches between 61st and 83rd streets aren’t highly-regarded for surfing, the 91st Street Fishing Pier has become a local favorite in recent years.

The hope is that as the sand drifts west from this latest replenishment, it will further enhance the great sandbars that have already been established at the fishing pier. Time will tell.

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at stephendhadley@gmail.com.

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