Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why I surf


What is it about wave riding that attracts us to it and causes us to spend countless hours in the water? What draws us from our beds those winter mornings, wiping the sleep from our eyes, hours before others will be awake, minutes before the sun has risen, to brave the morning cold, and plunge ourselves into the ocean's frigid waters with the hope of catching just a few waves before we must take on our daily responsibilities? Why is it not possible to explain to someone who has never experienced the sudden feeling of exhilaration felt when the wave first takes you?

Surfing is a time to reflect and be alone with our thoughts. Even when the line-up is crowded, we can get a sense of being alone out there; paddling out puts everything else in our lives on hold. Cell phones do not work. There is no email that can be answered. In our modern world have placed ourselves at the mercy of technology, being forever available-- and being unavailable, straddling our board a hundred yards off the shore is one of the most relaxing feelings in the world. It is a sanctuary from the world which we, ironically, have created.

The rhythm of the ocean is used to recalibrate our internal clock, which is so often thrown off by the neon signs, television, and advertisements that overwhelm us on land. What really matters? Out there, those things that confuse on land do not have an effect. The rhythm of the ocean is incorruptible.

Man's relationship with the ocean spans more years than that with the land. Our ancestors crawled out of the sea millions of years ago, and for that reason, every time I return to the water, I feel as if I am returning home.