The motivation for this piece began with the publication of the following story in the WSJ, to which I contributed an image of my girlfriend Donna Von Hoesslin. Read the comment section, post story, and you will see a diversity of opinions (including mine) that are quite revelatory about each person’s point of view regarding surfing. Those statements reveal everything about those people’s depth of involvement with the ocean. The commentary engaged me.
I have always been a surfer. At four years of age I knew that goal was what my life would be about. To know the ocean, (and to surf) became my path.
In a lifetime of study and involvement in all things water and ocean related, I learned many things about the ocean that never cease to amaze and moderate me as a human being.
Water has got to be the single greatest creative foil for mankind ever. It always wins. (You cannot compress it.) It is alive. Within it, and especially the sea, is contained the genetic signature of all life, which ever existed.
But what I find remarkable, is that as a Hawaiian, my ancestors gifted the sport, and the resulting culture that arose, for reasons many may not readily comprehend. I have long been convinced that surfing and the resulting relationship with the ocean serves to be a mirror of who and what a person is. In it, is a near perfect reflection of everybody’s true compass heading for their lives.
As I document and observe the people involved with the ocean, to me, the depth of every single human being is readily apparent by seeing how they relate to water.
In a world of people aspiring to be called: surfers, surfriders, eco warriors, watermen, and all manner of ocean branded things, it is readily apparent, what surfing is to those people. You can always tell who really comprehends the ocean, and whether that person is there to simply use it to brand their movement or maybe just find a means of validating themselves.
Hard to fake it with something so vital and alive as the sea. She always triumphs. Even if her own time frame is an eternal one. It is we who fade into her, and eventually she is us.
Seth Godin was thinking along similar lines today. His Blog.
My ancestors knew exactly what they were doing.
Like the ocean, truth is eternal.
Best to embrace it.