Impact Mixtape | “Beach Breakup” by Alex Bocchi

Alex Bocchi, Writer/Volunteer

My freshman year at MSU took place during the infamous, COVID-induced stay at home period. The loneliness of the lockdowns was hard to manage, and the end was never in sight. To add, my parents had moved to New Jersey from Michigan and it only added another level to the isolation. It was hard and lonely, as for many, and we all found our ways to cope with it. With the abundance of time and frankly no friends to spend it with, I bought my first surfboard and went to the beach. 

With nothing more than YouTube videos and a wetsuit, I paddled out on my yellow 6’4 fish surfboard and tried to make the most of it. I’m instantly humbled by my first wave and realize those guys in the videos made it look too easy. The process to paddle out was harder than expected, but once I got past the initial break I was met by the calmness of the wait. With a full lineup of surfers, I was initially intimidated but quickly became comfortable around all of them. It took me a couple of tries but I eventually was able to sit on the board and balance while I waited for the waves. It’s a longer wait than I thought it would be, but it’s a nice time to collect your thoughts and admire the waves. Catching the waves and timing it just right was quite a challenge. I wasn’t able to for a while, and was thrown around and tumbled quite often, but the first time I felt it was unforgettable. The board glides on the wave and you feel just how fast you’re going by the wind hitting your face. You cannot lose focus for even a second and you must be constantly looking at the wave like you’re searching for a needle in the water. For those brief moments riding the wave, it’s wonderful. Once it’s over, you start the process again. For as difficult and scary it can be at times, it’s a calming and meditating experience when that’s all you need to think about while you’re out there. Not for a moment am I thinking about what is going on land. 

That year was filled with ups and downs, but what filled it was the Tuesdays and Thursdays where I didn’t have a Zoom call to attend so I got to leave home early and spend the day on the beach. It was the only thing I had to do, and I even kept going deep into the New Jersey winter. Apart from the beach experience, the drive to the beach was almost just as fun. I dove deep into the Aussie surf punk scene and their music became the theme song to my beach visits. Their lyrics are never complicated and deep in any way, but it’s what I used to relax and get my mind off things. The Skegss, Hockey Dad, and the Jaded Juice Riders seemed to be my mates as I was making my way. Over the summer of last year, the boys over at the Skegss dropped the beautiful album, Rehearsal. It quickly became my favorite and I keep coming back to it if I ever need to chase away the winter blues.

Provided by Alex Bocchi


As the world begins to heal and life feels more normal, I made my move into the landlocked city of East Lansing where the days of the pandemic feel behind us. It was all I had been waiting for, but I still watch the updates and webcam of my favorite beach on the Jersey shore. My parents also decided to pack up and move out of Jersey for another landlocked state, so those days on the beach are behind me. Despite never wanting to return to the circumstances the world was in during those months, I miss the beach and the time I spent there. It’s a hard feeling to process and it feels sort of like a breakup. It was a beautiful relationship, but it has now come to the end. The playlist for this piece is what’s helping me through it by remembering all the good times 16th Avenue Belmar and I got to spend together. 

As well as a playlist of some of my favorite music from that time, it serves as an anecdote for the feeling of moving on. For many, we now feel ready to leave those COVID blues behind us. Things are changing for the better, but I enjoy reminiscing on some of the memories I made. A long-distance relationship with the beach will not work, but I will admire her from afar. I don’t think our time is over, and there are more waves to be ridden. For now, I will enjoy the music that we shared until we meet again.