“Surfers are all a bunch of lunatics, everyone of us. Myself included.”I struggled to find the right words to explain to a friend, who was recently introduced to the surfing community, why we can justify being so irrational about placing surfing at the center of our universe. There is clearly a disproportionate amount of time that we actual spend riding waves in comparison to how much we allow those few fleeting moments to influence our lives.
After I surfed my first wave at around ten years old, I quickly began the process of dwindling down my baseball commitment to focus exclusively on riding waves. I picked up water polo in high school, but after a season of missed swells and hearing , “shoulda been here yesterday,” too many times, surfing clamored it’s way back to the top of my list of priority pastimes.”
Priority pastime blossomed into full-blown obsession. Access to quality surf breaks dictated my college selection process and time to surf was the number one variable in developing my course schedules each semester. My surf addiction pulled rank in any dating situation and played a major role in me finding my wife. Surfing has been the strongest anchor in my life, allowing the rest of the pieces to fall into place.
However, if you look at other sports, like baseball or water polo, when you go to play a game you are actually participating for the duration. A 90-minute game is 90 minutes activity. If you go for a run for an hour, you are running for an hour. But when I go surf for an hour, it could take me four hours, with all the wave checking and talking story, and I may get less than a minute of actual wave riding time. Yet, I come home salty and satisfied in such a way that could only be achieved through the unique self-indulgence of wave riding.
Those intangible moments have a way of suppressing the stress of daily life and enhancing our existence in ways hard to quantify. There is no real way to describe the exhilaration of surfing without sounding hokey, but something about those brief instances of rushing across the surface of a wave makes us do crazy and irrational things. We rearrange our lives to do whatever it takes to access opportunities for wave riding, usually at the expense of other priorities.
There is clearly no length that surfers will not go to ride waves and, often times, the road to waves can be littered with challenges. The brave men and women in the adaptive surfing community know this more than anyone, and they are the craziest of us all. The tremendous lengths that adaptive surfers go to get in the ocean and chase surf is no joke. Intricate planning, inherent safety risks, unparalleled trust, and lots of additional time are just some of the elements involved. However, despite the mountain of roadblocks and additional hurdles, their lives are as centered around surfing as much as the next wave riding lunatic.
All the adaptive surfers we see today have dedicated themselves to a life of wave riding and it has been proven time and again that nothing will prevent a surfer from getting in the water. You all inspire me and have my deepest respect.
If you are going to be addicted to something, let it be surfing.
See you crazies in the water,
- Sean Brody