Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Welcome to Zen Waterman- by Robert Stehlik and Len Barrow

The art of the Waterman
Most watermen (and we include women when we use this term, of course) that have devoted a large part of their lives to watersports find that the sport becomes more than the activity itself, it becomes a way to find and build focus, balance, strength, patience, contentment, endurance, a deeper understanding and awareness of nature, and the flow of energy. The idea of finding deeper meaning in the sports we are passionate about is what motivated my friend, Len Barrow and myself, Robert Stehlik to start this project with the intention of being students of the mental aspects of our sports, to expand our knowledge and understanding and to help ourselves and others in the quest of becoming better Watermen.
We intend to interview masters of various watersports that we feel have achieved a higher level than most. We want to find how they experience these moments of complete immersion, the moments described as "being in the zone" or "flow" through their chosen sport. We intend to combine these interviews with pictures, video, analysis and interpretation. We eventually want to compile the gained knowledge into a book and DVD as well as a seminar program to help teach the art of the Waterman through practical applications of the materials in and out of the water. We also hope to use the Zen Waterman philosophy in the nonprofit organization Aloha Surf Ambassadors that focuses on supporting, encouraging, mentoring, and coaching young surfers to become ambassadors of Aloha in Hawaii and around the world. Please feel free to contribute if you have insights and ideas. I will also use this blog to recap experiences and SUP races and will try to apply some of these ideas, talk about the mental aspects of the sports, and apply things I learn from others in the process.

Robert Stehlik and Len Barrow

1 comment:

  1. The Zen of Surfing: Kelemoana Barrow
    We face numerous problems in todays world both in the physical and social environment. These problems are often amplified for some dedicated surfers as they play in the delicate matrix of ocean ecosystems and often tread on societies fringes in a quest for a better way of living.

    This can seem as a crisis for some surfers yet for some others it can be a path to peace and freedom if the problems are properly engaged. What are these challenges that we face as surfers? As line-ups get crowded some surfers choose the path of violence and intimidation causing a degradation in the quality of the surfing experience for others and for themselves. This problem is confounded as our keiki, or younger ones (in the Hawaiian Language), choose to follow these distorted social paths which in turn lead to a sort of cyclic disturbance of harmony termed Samsara by the Zen folk of old. In a similar vein, our Ocean Playgrounds are being destroyed at an unprecedented rate by pollution and overfishing in a frenzy of greed driven resource grabbing by everyone and anyone. But there is another path that is less tread which could help to alleviate these problems. Please read on.......

    My longtime friend, Robert Stehlik and I were reflecting on these issues when we came to the conclusion that we were going to do something about this in our own little way. We thought that maybe we could create a new path with the help of like minded people and guides that would occasion us along the way.

    Robert and I are both interested in Zen philosophy and are also hardcore, even obsessive watermen. I myself am an odd mixture of a Zen family from Northern Japan and a Maori, Scottish Father from Aotearoa (New Zealand) and lucky enough to have formal Zen training in a Zendo as well as Academic training and a large Zen Library. Robert has the determination, honesty and imagination that Zen requires. We both cannot wait to begin this journey and have taken a few primary steps which will be the subject of our next blog. Please join us for the ride! We are bound to get a big barrel. I can see it forming up down the line.


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