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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By KEITH NIEBUHR
Published March 3, 2006
Kyle Applefield, 18, of Seminole is considered one of the states surfing up-and-comers. He began riding waves seven years ago and today is a top-flight amateur with his sights set on turning pro in 2007. In this Q&A, Applefield, who won a recent event in Venice, gives some insight into his sport.
TIMES: What are the worst injuries youve gotten?
APPLEFIELD: (left) Probably a broken finger or a fin in the side of my leg. I didnt get stitches, though, so it wasnt that bad. I havent had any real bad ones. Luckily.
TIMES: Rank your three favorite spots in order to catch a wave.
APPLEFIELD: Rincon, Puerto Rico. It has good, consistent waves. Then Sebastian Inlet. Its a fun wedge. And then Id have to say right here ... Pinellas County.
TIMES: What do surfers have nightmares about?
TIMES: Whys that?
APPLEFIELD: Its a pain putting up with a bunch of people in the water.
TIMES: What maneuver took the longest to master and why?
APPLEFIELD: Probably barrels. You cant practice that around here because there arent any.
TIMES: Describe your perfect wave.
APPLEFIELD: Long, hollow, right (a wave that breaks from left to right).
TIMES: When a 14-foot wave is about to crash on top of you, what goes through your mind?
APPLEFIELD: Hold your breath ... here we go.
TIMES: Who do you consider to be the all-time surfing icon and why?
APPLEFIELD: Kelly Slater. Hes won more championships than anybody and hes from Florida.
TIMES: What one piece of advice would you give a beginner?