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Lions Roar : July 2013
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2013 62 SURFERS ARE OFTEN ASKED to describe our passion. What’s it like to ride a wave? Why is it fun? This is problematic. I’m not a bird, but I imagine a bird would have a similar problem describing to humans what it’s like to fly. Surfers are bums who produce nothing for society. And, for producing nothing, people wonder if they’ve figured out the key to happiness. So maybe it’s best to use a koan here and say: you learn everything from riding a single wave and you learn nothing at all. A wave, after all, has no substance. Somewhere far out to sea, the wind blows on the surface of the ocean, kicking up ripples. Those ripples capture more of the wind’s energy, becoming swells. These swells—long lines of spiraling energy— appear to travel thousands of miles across the ocean. But no water is actually moving. Water molecules are simply knocking into each other in a spiraling domino dance. They’re the memory of wind. And when that memory collides with sand or reef or rock, it makes the energy invert and pitch into a breaking wave. Occasionally, miraculously, that wave can be ridden by a human—a being who likewise has trouble finding a fundamental substance. We’re also mostly water—water that’s constantly being replaced with new water. Are we just the memory of the first drop of water absorbing the first rays of sun? How, then, to describe surfing? Water riding water? The memory of sunlight and rain riding the memory of wind? Flow? Power? Presence? Oneness? They all fall short of the mark. And fortunately, while riding a wave, you think of none of these things. That’s why surfing is fun. —JAIMAL YOGIS is the author of The Fear Project: What Our Most Primal Emotion Taught Me About Survival, Success, Surf- ing... and Love. PHOTOCOURTESYOFJAIMALYOGIS