Why surfing is more than the smooth art of dancing on a wave

Photo: Jeremy Koreski

Roxanne Rivard Theriault

October 19, 2015

There’s something we forget way too often while we are surfing, and it’s the whole process behind it. Every morning, we wake up at dawn, drink our black coffee, eat a big breakfast filled with chia seeds and look out the window if we are lucky (or Surfline, if you prefer). We grab our wetsuits, get ready to brave the cold, get in the car, and head to our favorite surf spot (or the closest one, when we’re extra tired). We do these same actions every day, putting our life on repeat. Then, we go surf, hoping our friends will be there so we can share that moment with them or to surf alone, just to enjoy a of that escape from everyday realities, while everyone else are still in bed, dreaming of something more common. More normal. Less addictive. After the session, we get back to reality and carry out the rest of our daily routine. Then, repeat.

Photo: Jeremy Koreski

While doing these actions, we never take the time to think about why we’re here. Why we can be in the water, with a surfboard that may or may not be made by our hands and a wetsuit that protects us from freezing water our body is submerged in. We’re never thinking about the fight some people have made in the past to protect that spot, that place where we can let our minds wander while being touched by the purity of nature. Sometimes the location is even man-made, which is not something natural, but it still gives us a perfect wave to surf on. We’re never thinking of the people that inspired us in our processes, in our surfing. These people that are human beings living with a passion that has driving them mad. We’re never thinking of our dad that taught us at six years old how to conquer our fear of the ocean and learn how to understand what it takes to surf. We’re never aware of our surroundings, that beauty that surrounds us until we break out of that ‘in-the-moment’ Trans. All we’re doing is waiting for that perfect wave, looking forward to it, and remaining calm. An endless wait that teaches us patience.

Adam Chilton Photo

Noah Cohen above the lip. Photo: Adam Chilton

What would happen if you took the time, only once a week, to understand the beauty you are surrounded by. As everything in life, everything we do is taken for granted. Which isn’t wrong, but what happens when that thing disappears? You feel lost, almost broken. So, what I am telling you, isn’t to go and kiss the ground where you can walk on. Not to write every day to your dad or that special someone that they are the best for teaching you how to surf, not to Facebook or Instagram your shaper to tell him he’s awesome. I am not telling you to be an exhausting happy-thankful-freak every day. Just, once in a while, enjoy the moment. Go to the sea. Look around, and see the trees. See the mountains, feel the water capture you, miss a wave to watch the sun slowly rise. Take a day off and ask your shaper to teach you how to shape. The sport itself is from that simple action, and it’s an art. Learn how to do it, be grateful for the hard work it means. Be curious about your wetsuits, select brands that are making a difference. Protect the surf spots you like and that you don’t want civilization to change. Sometimes, it’s good to make it stay as it was 100 years ago. No need for big hotels next to the beach. Protect the friends around you that share the ocean with you. Take care of everything that depends on that body of water for survival (Fish, whales, sharks, coral, sea-weed etc). That’s symbiotic. Sharing the same place with someone or something also means respecting it.

Photo: Marcus Paladino

Photo: Marcus Paladino

Being thankful for the little things doesn’t take much time, but it does make a big impact. Even with your surfing. If you understand how the ocean works, you can be the best at it. Understand your surroundings and appreciate it for what it is and life will become beautiful.

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