surfing life

Surfing is whatever one wants to make it. With the fluid stage and the cast of characters, anything goes is usually the rule...actually there aren’t any rules. This is what makes surfing so appealing, But in my almost 50 years of surfing, I’ve made a few rules for myself [...]The fifth and final Lopez rule: The best surfer in the water is the guy having the most fun. I try to remember that one.
— Gerry Lopez, 'Surf Is Where You Find It' [2008]

I was really fortunate to get to see a pro surf comp at Pipeline in Hawaii, and while I'm not big on crowds at the beach, it was amazing to see pro surfers at this particular break. What was also incredible was the sheer energy of the wave, which I could feel from where I was sitting on the sand.

I love swimming in the ocean and I'm not a surfer, but I love surf watching. Surfing is a great metaphor for life, and generally for feeling alive. Setting my novel Chasing Light at a fictitious beach was a great way to get one of my characters to surf!

Here are some meditations by surfers on their passion from two great films/docos, Riding Giants [2004] and Step Into Liquid [2003]:

Jeff Clark on surfing Maverick's, California: 'It was my sanctuary. I could leave the shore and go out there and be so focused, and so in tune and feel the ocean with every fibre of my body and I was part of it.' 

Grant Washburn on surfing at Maverick's: 'This fear of the unknown becomes something you just absolutely have to confront, because there is no way to turn back your decision.'

Laird Hamilton surfing Teahupo'o.

Dave Kalama on surfing Jaws/Pe'ahi, Hawaii: 'There's something about riding a 60 or 80 foot face wave that draws something out of you. The wave commands so much focus and so much attention, that it's the only thing that matters for a few seconds and it's very purifying, because as far as you're concerned, nothing else exists.' 

Rochelle Ballard on surfing: 'It's not a part of this world. You're stepping into liquid. You're stepping off of concrete ground and into an element that is always changing and moving and is surrounding you and it feels good.'

Laird Hamilton on surfing Teaupo'o, Tahiti: 'I don't want to not live because of my fear about what could happen [...] It softened some hard corners in my life, I would say. And I felt honoured to be awarded with something so magnificent, that it made me appreciate what I'd been able to have, experience, do.'