Jackets weather the rainstorm on Tech Green

Surfers pose for a photo with their boards in the midst of the storm. While much of Atlanta was held indoors by the flash flood, a number of adventurous students took to Tech Green to make the most of the day. // Photo by Aashwin Sharma Student Publications

This past Thursday, Atlanta was hit by flooding, causing chaos and disruption across the city. The storm, which began on the afternoon of Sept. 14, left thousands without power and forced students at Clark Atlanta University to evacuate from their dorms according to FOX 5 Atlanta.

Also, according to FOX 5 Atlanta, this event led Atlanta Public Safety and Fire Officers to spend the day clearing roads and helping people escape from trapped cars. Furthermore, even on campus, the heavy rain led to power outages, flooding and disruptions of campus services. 

The rainstorm seemed unending — dumping nearly four inches of water across the city in less than four hours according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. These floodwaters turned streets into rivers, causing traffic jams, road closures and the closure of many businesses across Atlanta. Restaurants, businesses and even the Georgia Aquarium were forced to shut down for the day as the torrential downpour ravaged the city.

In the wake of this storm which hindered thousands of people, a small group of students from the Institute weathered the storm; with skimboards, surfboards and adventurous spirits, these students turned the situation into a memorable adventure. 

Where the majority of Atlanta’s residents were trying to cope with the adverse effects of the flooding, Tech students saw an opportunity. They looked at the flooded Tech Green and decided to turn this disaster into a unique experience for their peers.

Initially, just a handful of students braved the muddy, rain-soaked terrain as each passerby watched in confusion. The students used skimboards to glide across the layer of water that had collected over the grass. 

Furthermore, some students were even able to do tricks, rotating the boards to land shove-its and even 360 shove-its. These tricks engaged more people as onlookers watched and even more participated. Rather quickly, word got out about the opportunity for a fun experience at the Institute during an unfortunate time. 

The allure of sliding across a waterlogged Tech Green proved irresistible, and soon the group boasted nearly 10, then even close to 20 participants. Eventually, students even began to show up in bathing suits — prepared for an adventurous day on Tech Green. While some students used their boards, others just used their bodies, hurling themselves across the field at exhilarating speeds. 

Students would start at the top of the hill and sprint towards the bottom, sliding on their stomachs or sides using gravity, momentum and the slick grass to send them barreling to the bottom of the hill.

Students from all backgrounds came together to share this spontaneous adventure. Those who had no experience with skimboarding quickly found assistance from more seasoned adventurers and those with experience had fun helping other students try, fail and ultimately succeed at learning a new skill.

As students with umbrellas and rain jackets came and went, freshmen and fifth-years alike donned their muddy appearance slipping, sliding and surfing their way across the expanse. 

The atmosphere was full of laughter and friendship as each student made the best of a difficult situation. Jeremy McWhirter, first-year ENVE, described the event as “lively and different from most of his experiences
[he’s] had on campus.” 

The students who came out were not afraid of falling or getting their clothes dirty, seizing the moment to organize an impromptu community event, making the most of an unexpected afternoon.