The Source

By
The sun is peering over the white caps on the horizon, its bright reflections off the water pierce my eyes. I am alone on the beach sitting next to my board. The cool — damp sand, offshore winds and pristine surf create a supernatural setting. The air, thick with salt and humidity, sticks to my skin and fills my nostrils and lungs. Clouds from the passing hurricane are still visible in the sky; I wonder how something so destructive can create the perfection that I am witnessing. The sets begin to die down—I quickly grab my board, run out into the water, and paddle past the break.

I began surfing early in middle school because it was the cool thing to do. The girls thought surfers were “hot” and I knew there were always some “chicks” at the beach, but it didn’t take long before I realized what I was missing. Since its rebirth in the past 50 years, surfing has typically been associated with the wrong “vibe,” surfers are criticized for being drug addicts, alcoholics, and bums, or the stereotypical dregs of American society; unfortunately this is true among many surfers, but those who make such accusations do not understand the real meaning behind the sport. I do not classify myself as one of the surfers who has been corrupted by the drug infatuated and negatively criticized aspects of surfing, yet there is something else that draws me to it. The attraction never struck me until I embarked on a new genre within surfing—big wave surfing—searching for the huge swells, hurricane surges, and storm waves; this is where I found the source.

Surfing is about the connection with nature. No other sport is dominated by nature’s purest form of power and energy, the ocean like surfing is. It’s a truly humbling feeling to paddle out in the water knowing that Mother Nature has the power to crush you with all her strength. But there is a balance, surfing is not all about fear either; surfers have a connection with the ocean that most humans do not experience. The ocean’s immense force compared the human specie causes a feeling of imminent weakness, but sometimes I can break through into that place where time and space seem so infinite by becoming not only at one with myself but also with nature. Once the adrenaline dies down and I paddle back out to the surf after a successful ride, attempting to contemplate the feelings I just experienced, is when I realize what I love so much about surfing. At times the world and my actions seem to be in slow motion when I am shooting down a wave or ducking under a tube. However, there is a counter side, when my mind and body, and nature are not in alignment; the result is either mediocrity or disaster. When I am surfing, the moment I paddle into a wave I can feel the difference in whether my mind, my body, and the energy from the ocean are all tied together or not. And when they aren’t, I can be pretty sure that a recipe for disaster can be created.

I sit on my board waiting and searching for my wave. A crest begins to shape on the horizon; it starts to build up, so I paddle out to get position on the wave. I turn around and paddle as hard as I can, the wave picks me up, I snap up onto my feet, and drop down the face of the wave, carving down the line. The ride is so smooth, so perfect, and so short, there’s no other feeling like it.





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Bethani said...
Apr. 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Great job! I love nature and it sounds great that a sport like surfing is a sport connected with nature.
 
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