Surﬁng can be said to be simple, yet complex. A joy, yet much more than that. Playing, and also a working for self-development and for life. We each could riff on about its importance to us, take a personal cut through what it means to surf. Here’s one brief and rambling slice of the moment.
As surfers, most of us prefer conditions that aren’t crowded, eh. We may not want to be completely alone, we may prefer to have our buds with us for a few laughs and to generate extra social excitement, to heighten our surf stoke, and synergistically, our competencies. But maybe sometimes we want just for the quiet presence and company.
At times, however, some of us may be thinking, “‘Kooks’, out of control beginners, and
non-local or local surf-protocol ignoring bozos, ‘stay out of the way’, or ‘over there’.”
Bumper stickers are amusing that say: “If you don’t surf, don’t start!” – and other
There are two sort of opposing sentiments – one is that the more in the surf tribe the
merrier, and the other, captured by these crack-up slogans are, we don’t want any more
peeps in the water around here.
If we wanted to philosophize a bit, we might say that the former looks more like an
abundance attitude and the latter more based on thoughts of scarcity. Personally, I,
probably like many dudes, try to ﬁnd a dynamic inner balance that works, of both
showing enough aloha spirit and yet not being abused by the situation.
When a friend or family member wants to take up surﬁng, we often feel it differently.
“Yeah, come on out, we’ll get you on the water. Nah, no sharks, no agro, no worries”
Sometimes, we like to think that there are ﬁxed rules, clear and decisive ways that
people are supposed to behave on the water, like the strong principle that you don’t
drop in on someone else’s wave and you honor the “right of way”. Some dudes get
majorly emotional, especially when they are jacked up with stoke or their personalities
are generally aggressive. Though we’d like things to be black and white, clearly right
and wrong like that, actually, sorry, life’s more complicated – “it depends on the
You know, this looks more like a right-breaking wave to me – someone else is thinking
left – whoops! Or the common dilemma when someone is hauling down the line as
you’re paddling out. One of those awkward positions of do I try to stroke hard toward the
wave and get out of the guy or gal’s line, or do I stop suddenly here in the water for him
to rip by. Can be a doe-in-the-headlights moment.
Yet most noticeable are those quirky inner decisions to think it’s fun or funny that one of
your own bro’s dropped in on you – very distinct from this stranger from a different clan
who’s violating your space and your wave. &*?@^%))!!!
Sometimes, it’s a zoo out there, a circus, feels like a melee, or roller derby. I sure don’t
like it so much when that’s going off, so I’ll try to ﬁnd a mellower spot to surf, or call it a
day. As richly healthy, life-enhancing, beautiful, and deeply satisfying as surﬁng can be,
no one said we were fully good-hearted and entirely rational. We want our share, too.
As we know, surﬁng is many things, has numerous levels, a variety of dimensions. I’m
pretty new to surﬁng, started as an old guy, and those who have been at it for decades
know that surﬁng is a potentially deep-going affair, life-style, and tradition with
opportunities for spiritual feelings and insights.
Some people have in their nature or are at a stage in life when they want to compete
with those around them, exercise their rapidly expanding skill-set, test their inner mettle,
go all warrior on a contest with rules. There can be a ﬁxation on, “Who is the best, who’s
number one?” Much learning and interior beneﬁt can come from this, no? Although not
exclusively, this is often related to younger age – these intensities seem to be part of
who we are as full humans, as human animals.
Others draw different nourishments and ﬁnd very personal expression in the more
mellow and maybe subtle ways. Some might say, “The best surfer is the one that has
the most fun.”
Some might say with a smile, “It’s all good.”
~the beginner, doug honeyman