Stoke is so full-being delicious.
Stoke is a gift from life.
Stoke is also heightened and finds its royal qualities in a life well-lived.
Stoke Is Big.
On any given day our personal stoke can feel very big.
Life Is Big.
We are fortunate to be living in this surf-stoking time in history and in this stoking place.
Time and Place are Vast
far beyond this contemporary slice,
far beyond the modern coastal offerings, far beyond our human race’s place,
in this evolving and graced planet
within a mysterious universe.
Yet, here we are surfing. Wow.
Stoking The Stoke
Damn, we are lucky.
I have heard that how we live our twenty-four seven lives makes a difference in our surfing worlds. This makes common sense to me. When we feel good, content, fresh, lively, and in enough balance within ourselves and our fairly complicated lives, we probably invite even more stoke into our minds and tissues.
We are not always quite there, but stoke can still sneak in. We paddle out, in whatever state we are in. Sometimes, we begin still distracted, sometimes pissed, sometimes bummed, sometimes full of juice. And feeling the caffeine. Hah.
An hour or some later, we have been flushed out, filled up, re-aligned, and re-balanced. Inside we are often barely containing the MoTown, “I feeell good!” Ooh yeah!
What is it about surfing, anyway? Ok, the surf-gods smiled on us. Or, stoke is just that potent. Stoke rules.
Though nothing substitutes for the real deal, surfing itself, we can maybe break it down a little why the activity of surfing includes within its results so much fun, healthy benefit, and returns to sanity.
Roger Walsh, a non-surfer, a practical philosopher, doctor and teacher, actually, has looked carefully at what makes for happy healthy living. I have heard him speak and he would probably love to surf, if the whole accident of time-place-circumstance had been different for him.
He recently started, in collaboration with a couple of other people, a not-for-profit organization called, “8 Ways To Wellbeing”, and below I include a link to the website. I think you will see immediately from the illustration of a flower how surfing engages so many of the pedals, so fully. Like me, you’ll probably be nodding, “Yep. Uhuh. For sure. Got that. Totally, Of course. Well, daah.” And with a little stretching how we live, we can easily taste all 8 – through a surfing life!
For this small blog article I am just going to show the illustration and mention briefly the 8 categories of experience, the 8 Ways to invite more stoke into our lives and the world.
Though this website is still minimal and in skeletal form, if you look around a little you’ll see that there will be a PBS documentary film released and there has been some solid thinking about the issue of health and well-being.
Stoking The Stoke
Let’s start somewhere on the flower shown at the above link – see how surfing stacks up as one single activity that fulfills so much.
Nature – on the moving platforms of strange shapes and sizes, sitting, looking out at sky, land, and ocean, breathing fresh air. Hah!
Recreation – just check the smile on your face.
Relaxation – bingo. Though maybe we are animated with charged energy, motion and emotion, check us out after a session. For me, the afterglow of alignment lasts for hours. Post-coital (almost) bliss.
Nutrition – maybe we can work on that one. Because I am an old guy I have to pay attention to this so I do fairly well with my eating. Top tier competitors probably find out quickly that they have to take nutrition seriously to be at their growing, creative, slamming edges – stoking their metabolic furnaces with balanced and high-value food.
Exercise – snort! You gotta be kidding!
Relationships – though as I mentioned in another blog piece, how we are feeling at given times about socially relating on the water varies, and some bros are more sociable and relational than others. Within the amorphous global and local wave tribe, we are usually not solitary. There is time for being solo, sure – but behind it is a knowing that we are not alone. And that is cool.
Giving Back – this can happen in different ways and of course some surfers do more than others. And, we each vary in what has to be most prominent in our sometimes demanding lives. Yet, we know and appreciate that there are Wounded Warrior surfing camps for soldiers trying to get healthy again, and special events for special needs children where their otherwise challenging lives become lit up for a time. Maybe, also, we don’t want to underestimate how our own personal surfing gains spread out naturally to those we come in contact with from our lightened moods and attitudes, everyday. Hang loose. Get it done. As Kelly Slater has been quoted as saying, “I think when a surfer becomes a surfer, it’s almost like an obligation to be an environmentalist at the same time.” This is another example of giving back.
Spirituality – I’ll end the flower assessment with Laird Hamilton’s words. “For those searching for something more than just the norm. We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually. We start going down hill, when we stop taking risks.” We aren’t Laird, and we may even be groms, but we have an inkling of what he speaks.
Life becomes fresher, cleaner, more vivid, on the water and in life at large, stoking the stoke.
– the beginner, doug honeyman