You can’t stop the waves but you can always learn to surf. Surfing is more than just a sport; it’s a perfectly balanced relationship between humans and the immense power of nature. The seemingly infinite amount of combinations of boards and wave types makes for a unique connection between the massive ocean and tiny humans has had people captivated dating back to the 1700’s. This past time is rapidly becoming popular among younger people making connecting to Mother Nature easier than even.
Boards are designed for many reasons to enhance the surfer’s connection to the earth. Longboards, or cruziers are designed for a mellow journey. (Types of Surfboards). They allow for more creative riding such as backwards or even on ones hands. The fish is created for speed riding small waves. These boards offer a rider a fast paced rush which lets the rider feel the charge of the ocean. The final common type of board to be seen is the short board also known as the thruster. These boards make the art of surfing known from being seen in popular movies. Short boards are built for precision, power, and control. Riding a wave on one of these makes one feel extremely accomplished for being able to ride a huge wave on a piece of polyurethane covered with layers of fiberglass measuring just under 6’4. The type of board a rider will chose often depends on the wave they plan to ride.
There are many types of waves to be surfed, all making for unique experiences. The most commonly seen waves in surf videos and movies are the immensely powerful reef breaks such as the pipeline on North Shore. Reef breaks produce pipelines which skilled surfers can glide through using every muscle in their body to balance and glide the board to the end of the wave safely. While inside one of these pipelines one can have fear, excitement, and curiosity all at the same time. These waves are relentless, wild, and sometimes unforgiving, but if ridden in perfection can make for a rare experience of the almighty ocean.
Another popular wave type is known as the beach break. (Know What You’re Surfing). A beach break is where the wave breaks off onto a sandy seabed. On beach breaks barrels can be surfed making for a calmer, long peaceful ride. Most everyone learns how to surf on this type of wave because it is a safe environment incase of a wipeout. These smooth waves can be ridden as far as 20 feet in some places such as Hossegor beach in Southern France. These waves are often ridded by crowds of surfers at popular beaches or surf school locations. Not only does it bring people together, but it connects groups to nature all at once. Riders on barrels experience how nature can be exciting and ridiculously fun. Since barrels are often for learners they double as a beginning to many peoples relationship with the ocean and gets people involved in preserving it.
In 2006 a toll road was proposed to go through Trestles beach which is known as the Yosemite of surfing. The idea of commercializing nature for selfish capitalist reasons did not go unnoted by the surfing communities in Southern California. Environmental activists, surfers, and local businesses teamed up to stop what would be the start of a disastrous end to the system of State Parks. It would have cost billons of tax payers dollars to build this toll road and it would have completely destroyed numerous eco systems, and further polluted the air in Southern California. Together these people fought at rallies and talked to members of the government to protect the nature they had grown to love and care so deeply for. This love of the ocean and these certain waves at Trestles would not have existed if it hadn’t been for the relationship between the waves and their riders.
In the past year surfing has become more popular among people who do not respect nature as much as they should which has upset many surfing communities. In beach towns such as Santa Cruz bumper stickers that read “Don’t try surfing, it sucks” can be seen on many cars and telephone booths. These stickers are an effort to try and stop surfing from becoming a sport that is exploited and abused. Surfers want the ocean to remain sacred and mysterious, not turn into a commercialized place where people can surf for money and sponsorships from major cooperation’s. More and more people are beginning to try and surf at a pro level so they can get sponsored and compete for titles and money. This is ruining the nature of the past time which is meant to bring people closer to the ocean and respect the one of a kind environment we have on earth.
Whether or not someone is riding a thruster on a pipeline off the coast of Australia or they are learning how to surf barrels off the coast of California surfing will always be a beautiful way to connect to nature while learning not to fight it. It can be dangerous but the risks are outweighed by the feeling one gets after a successful ride. Surfing teaches us that if you work with nature rather than fight it, nothing short of incredible memories will be created.