The endless search for the spirit of surfing is a magical journey. If you decide to take this train, it will change your lives and, in the end, it will make you a better surfer too.
It is not about the money, and it is not about the number of waves we catch in a single session. It is also not about the how good we are at surfing.
The spirit of surfing is somewhere in our minds and our hearts. It is something we feel, not something we say.
Have you ever ridden a wave with your eyes shut? Have you ever spent 30 seconds meditating while waiting for the next set? Have you ever shook hands with a fellow surfer while surfing the whitewater towards the beach? Have you ever felt stressed because you're the only one out in the line-up that is not catching waves?
Surfing gives us hints about what's right and wrong. It is not a matter of having rules written; it's all about what makes us smile - when we were able to ride our first wave towards the beach, and when we exit the ocean looking back and thinking how devoted we are to "it."
For a large minority of surfers, surfing is not a competitive sport. For a smaller group, surfing is not even a sport. And for a hardcore community, surfing is a religion, with strict rituals, sanctuaries, and celebrations.
However, we all agree on some points. And that is when we observe - and truly feel - the spirit of surfing. It is as clear as a glassy tropical surf break. "That is surfing," we reflect.
The spirit of surfing is as ethereal as the concept suggests. But if there were to be such a thing as the soul and the essence of surfing, you would find it in small daily gestures:
1. Respect the ocean and marine life: without the sea, there wouldn't be surfing. And remember that the place where you get joy is home to living creatures like yourself.
2. Respect your peers: remember that your fellow surfers are in the ocean with the same goal in mind: to have fun, and ride a few waves.
3. Respect all forms of wave riding: bodyboards, handboards, stand-up paddleboards, skimboards, surfboards, windsurf boards, kiteboards are all part of the same family. And they all share one thing in common: an uncontrollable passion for riding waves.
4. Respect the local culture and traditions: when we are home, we want foreigners to respect our habits and values. When you're in exploration mode, be polite towards those who welcome you.
5. Share the waves: there's nothing more exciting than watching two, three or four surfers drawing lines on a liquid wall. Yes, priorities are important in surfing, but sometimes we can all have fun together.
6. Share the stoke: if you're a surfer, spread the spirit of aloha wherever you go. Invite those who have been touched by surfing to join you on a Saturday morning session. Be an inland ambassador for the values of surfing.
7. Protect the beach: the coastlines are surfing's ultimate playgrounds. It all starts on the beach, on the fragile dunes, and on the warm beige sand. Don't let plastics and organic waste take on the beaches of your favorite break. Challenge your local government to keep the beach clean all year round.
8. Follow surf etiquette: if we all behave in the line-up, we will all enjoy more quality waves. It is not a cliché; it is the reality. Make sure you revisit the surfers' protocol from time to time.
9. Purchase eco-friendly and sustainable surf products: let's be honest - surfing has not always been a friend of our world. But things are rapidly changing, and green practices and products are taking over. Try as much as you can to learn about the origin of the gear you buy. Opt for planet-friendly surfboards, wetsuits, and surf wear.
10. Teach someone how to surf: share your surf knowledge with a family relative or friend. He or she won't forget the experience; you will have perpetuated the spirit of surfing.