U.S. Marines – United States Marine Corps

Drill Instructor Into Extreme Sports

Growing up in Pismo Beach, Calif., a drill instructor spent countless hours hitting the slopes on his snow board. But with the need for adrenaline coursing through his veins, the drill instructor wanted to test the excitement of other extreme sports.

After Staff Sgt. Heath A. Gomez, senior drill instructor, Platoon 2122, Company F, became a Marine, he remembered the time he spend in the mountains snowboarding and began surfing, riding dirt bikes and cycling.

His horizons broadened when his brother-in-law, a student at San Diego State University, asked him if he wanted to go surfing with him one morning. Gomez figured the water would be a lot warmer in San Diego than it was at Pismo Beach, so he opted to give it a try.

Although snowboarding and surfing have similarities, surfing didn’t come easy for Gomez.

“Both snowboarding and surfing are a balancing game and a test of good coordination,” said Gomez.

It took him a couple of weeks before he caught my first wave. When he stood up for the first time, he felt exhilarated because he was gliding on water, he said.

It’s that feeling when he caught that wave that kept him going back for more.

“Surfing is really relaxing, even if there aren’t any waves,” said Gomez. “I just sit on my board and watch the sunset. Sometimes dolphins come up next to me.”

It’s a hobby he can just do by himself, and it can be really serene, he said.

Gomez said he would surf every morning if he had the time, but due to his fast pace job as a drill instructor, sometimes he must wait to indulge between his recruits’ graduations.

“I’m part of the depot’s surf team, and when I have a break I try to surf with them every week and go to competitions,” said Gomez. “We have really good camaraderie out there.”

Another way Gomez builds camaraderie is by riding dirt bikes with his Marine friends.

“I bought a bike three years ago and do it regularly between training recruits,” said Gomez.

Gomez tries to ride his 2007 Yamaha YZ450F three times a week.

“Being on two wheels is really fun and dirt bikes are very powerful because of the high torque,” said Gomez. “Once you get accelerating, it’s a good feeling because it’s almost like you’re flying.”

But Gomez would never partake in such high-intensity activities without the proper personal protective equipment.

“I wear a helmet, chest pad, elbow and knee pads, chin pad, eye protecting glasses, gloves and riding boots,” said Gomez. “I keep it real while keeping it safe.”

Gomez’s favorite place to ride is the Pala raceway in Pala, Calif., where a lot of professional motocross racers compete.

“My favorite rider is James Stewart because he is the best rider of his decade,” said Gomez. “And like myself, he rides a Yamaha.”

Gomez also likes to cycle when he has a break.

“Like dirt bikes, I like the idea of being on two wheels, but when you cycle you can see and smell everything,” said Gomez.

He likes to mix surfing and cycling in his workout regimen.

“Cycling is much better on my knees than running,” said Gomez.

Gomez does both for the physical benefits and the experience.

“It’s astounding how I can cover 30 to 40 miles in just an hour,” said Gomez.

Through all these extreme sports, Gomez’s philosophy is all about being outdoors and having an active lifestyle.

“It’s more fun and productive than staying inside playing video games,” said Gomez. “By being active, I can see my skills progress and I get a great sense of accomplishment.”

After partaking in surfing, motocross and cycling, Gomez feels refreshed and has a new type of energy that motivates him as a drill instructor, he said.

6 Comments for this entry

  • john smith

    The average US Marine is a poor excuse for a human being. I personally train these guys for civilian life in the transportation industry. They use the word the nigger without abandon. They use the word faggot without abandon. I am convinced the average US Marine is a closet homosexual. I wouldn’t trust these people are my children any more than i would trust a gang member. They are brain damaged psychopathic killers. I do not care if they “protect” my country. They are doing our country and our young people a grave disservice. Our country should be embarrassed to have “US Marines”. They should not be honored.

    • Ronnie Franco

      Ok john smith, you are the piece of trash that needs to be sent to a combat zone and burn in a fire. A closet homosexual? Really john? Now killer? You are absolutely right. SSgt Gomez is a hero to his country and to myself having trained under him. Men like him are the reason you get to even Browse on your computer and make stupid ass remarks, because god knows you would never have told that to any Marines face.

      • Mike Barnes

        Word, Ronnie Franco, from this brain damaged psychopathic killer. Far better that than a brain dead psychotic community college marxist professional student.

  • Cpl Kelly

    You should be fined just for questioning anyone who defends the USA and you way of life. Why don’t you pick up a rifle and become a sentry or keep your f@#$ing mouth shut abou the Corps. It is brotherhood that you can’t even fathem. I love the corp and thank God everyday for the MARINE CORPS and you are stupid not to thank GOD for us. OOOORAH and SEMPER FIDELIS

  • Shredder

    Surfing is my biggest passion in life. I’m in the water at home in NY or going on surf trips whenever I get the chance. I’m also considering joining the marines. After OCS/TBS, if you get stationed in San Diego, how much time can you spend surfing? Can you only surf on your days off (only 30 a year!) or can you get a surf in in the morning/evenings or between obligations?

    My decision ultimately won’t be based on something like how many surfing days I’ll get in, but it would pain me dearly to have to say goodbye to surfing for a few years.

  • Lcpl lien

    Ok john smith i graduated from SSgt Gomes platoon and i was never prouder to be his student, compair to anyone other Drill instructor out there, and is because of ppl like me and SSgt Gomes that yo ass get to stay and live freely like other american. insted of u talking shit to all my brother and sister out there that is serving our country and die for your FU*KI*G freedom y dont u joind the Marine corp and show us what u got rather sittin on yo ass n talk shit.

    Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don’t have that problem.
    Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985

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