Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Surfing and SUP are Not a Fast Food Experiences

By Len Barrow

A few days ago I was watching a surfer.  The man zoomed into the parking lot at the surf break.  He literally ripped his board off the surf racks in his haste to get to the surf.  Oddly enough he was wearing a type of “sling”.  To my surprise he inserted a cell phone in to the water proof sling and rushed off to surf.  I watched him notice and ignore some garbage on the beach as he ran across the beach.

In the water the, this man was aggressive, paddling under people to get position.  He would not wait his turn.  It seemed that the man thought that the world revolved around him and his rushed schedule.  The locals at the break were getting a bit irritated but the man was tolerated.  Everyone almost felt sorry for him.  He completely missed the point of surfing.  He was not paying attention and by doing this he degraded his surfing experience.

Surfing is sport that should be regarded as sacred from my point of view.  How do you treat the activity of surfing as being sacred?  You pay attention and make surfing a type of ritual, not a fast food experience.   Here are a few tips on how to pay attention to the whole surfing experience; and not be limited to parts of it.

When you arrive at the beach make it a habit to slow down.  Stop and study the conditions.   This act is actually very soothing and calm.  You can ask yourself:  ‘what is the tide like?; where is the swell focusing or defocusing?; how are the winds affecting the surf?”  By doing this, you slow your mind down and  turn surfing into a type of focused meditation.  This is the joy and magic of the surfing experience.   To just enjoy the moment by paying attention to it!

Engage in activities at your local beach.  It is so important to give compassion to the beach which brings you so much happiness.  If you see a piece of garbage, pick it up and throw it away.  I know locals who routinely pick up garbage.  Duane Desoto has a little rake and dustbin!  If you see a piece of garbage floating in the water, pick it up and stick it in your shorts to throw away later.  If your beach has a ”clean up” day, participate.  By treating the beach and ocean with respect, you turn your surf-spot into a place which helps to purify your thoughts and soul.    

Respecting other people is key to enjoying the whole surfing experience.  Smile and take the time to say hello to other surfers.  Pay attention to who has not been getting waves.  When a set comes, let this person have it.   Take care of the little kid surfers at the break.  They will become older and one day and take care of you.  Be that person that people want to see.   I go to the beach every-day and just see genuine smiles as people want to talk to me.  This is a wonderful feeling.   Don’t be a “DICK”.  Keep the karma flow positive in regards to other humans!

Don’t multitask!  Multitasking is the opposite of single pointed attention.  As a trend, more and more people are bringing cell phones out into the water.  It is still rare, but it is an alarming development from my point of view.   People are forgetting that surfing is a sacred experience and turning our wonderful sport into a fast-food experience.  How can you enjoy something if you cannot pour your whole soul and attention into it single pointedly?

The above ideas may seem a bit idealistic.  Despite this, you need to remember why you started surfing in the first place.  Most “old-school” surfers that I know, believed that surfing was a type of magical, if not sacred experience.  It was something that you cared about and even worshipped.   When you treat the sport and everything around it like any other ”rushed”  modern day activity, you lose the point of surfing and turn it into a fast food experience.    Let’s re-enchant ourselves and slow down and pay attention.  I guarantee that this will enhance your surfing experience tenfold and you will remember why you started in the first place!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for posting a comment on Zen Waterman, your comment will show as soon as we have a chance to screen it for spam. Mahalo, we hope to see you on the water!