They Say Surfing Is a lot like Life


Surfing wins! “Wins what?,” you might ask. I dunno, but this is the first week I’ve really tried to relax. Although I am still writing a research paper, I got to do the things that I haven’t had time for. Friday, I got vaccinations for Africa and then went rock climbing, Saturday, I helped my housemate move out and went to see 2 movies with friends. Sunday, I went to see a jazz show. Monday, I participated in my FIRST real jazz jam session. Tuesday, I went surfing (for the first time), met with a media gal about Africa, had dinner with the grad Christians, and had a beach bonfire with another group of friends (while watching some people set off fireworks and others burning American flags). Wednesday was the July 4 BBQ. Thursday, today, I went surfing again. I think the surfing score is currently: Pacific Ocean: 20, Sherol: 12.

A couple years ago, as I angsted about life, a friend told me I should surf. If I were to give my past self a good reason why, now that I’ve done it, this is what I’d say: “You should surf, b/c you think too much. And when you are surfing you’re not thinking about what else you need to do and you might even have trouble remembering what day it is. That’s because all your energy is invested in the moment.”

Zwak, one of my good brothers from Delaware is a surfer. My first mentor, my undergrad research adviser is a surfer. I moved to Santa Cruz, where every other person you run into is a surfer. It was only a matter of time…

Anyhow, besides sleeping, surfing is the only thing that shuts my mind off (music too, but only when I’m in the zone). It’s like, I couldn’t be stressed if I wanted to be, b/c all I can think about is, “how am I going to catch this next one?” Well, I’m only almost at the point where I could have a handle on “catching a wave” on my own; however, this is what I could gather from the 12 that I’ve caught with the help of my friend, Lawrence:

  • Wetsuits are like magic. The water really isn’t that cold with a wetsuit, and it makes you feel like a superhero.
  • It’s such a good feeling to be in the ocean, but your not just IN the ocean, you are strategizing and working alongside the ocean.
  • That first moment of “can I stand up?” was a Peter and Jesus moment for me.
  • Right before the wave comes, I do start to wonder whether ALL the variables are in a favorable state, but I’ve realized that (at least on the super long and stable board that I’ve used), I just have to stand up.

Uno is the name of the board that I used– the board that I used to catch wave numero uno to wave numero doce. I find it hard to think after exercise, in general, whether rock climbing or running. Surfing doesn’t deplete you all at once, as boxing did for me, but my mind (8 hours later) is still with the ocean (for lack of a better way to put it). In conclusion, my arms have had a rough week, but as long as they’ve got enough left to play my saxophone!

6 thoughts on “They Say Surfing Is a lot like Life

    1. @Brian, after i got out of the ocean, my already slow thinking slowed down significantly.. For the rest of the day everything in life felt like, “eh, whatever, it’s all good..”… I’m beginning to see why surfers are so laid back..

  1. Seeing Sherol get her first 12 was an honor. She did it and she will be a good surfer, because she realizes that being good at it simply means being happy and at peace while you do it.

    Flowing on water, flowing like water, flowing in water…surfing is one of God’s greatest gifts to me. I know there are LOTS of things that LOTS of people love to do to find peace and I give my respect to all of them. For me, surfing combines elements that, when they all come together, provide a clear shot at one thing…STOKE. In stoke, you’ll find peace, adrenaline, satisfaction, confidence, energy, FUN, smiles, laughs, serenity and you get all this while enjoying God’s beautiful creation. Harmonizing with a wave that had its origins thousands of miles away for its final moments is such a rad way to send that wave off. It’s like you’re thanking that wave, paying gratitude to it as it rolls onto the shore and then you realize there’s plenty more where that came from.

    Don’t diminish such thoughts by saying, “Oh, that was JUST a wave, what’s the big deal?” Well, every single wave that you JUST happen to catch does not happen by chance. You have to WANT to be there, you have to work to get there. You have to push every thought that says you can’t do it, JUST give up. Screw that. I can attest to the radicalness of surfing by saying the the waves I JUST caught today, are the latest in a great line that serve to help me be JUST. There’s a whole lot that I can (and you the reader) can now go on about after that last statement, but let’s JUST say that surfing is bigger than mere words could ever describe.

    So teaching others what I can, getting them on wave numero uno, is a huge privilege cuz I get to be a part of the tapestry of their life at a moment full of pure stoke.

    WORD to waves.


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