Surfing The Waves Of Life Quotes

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You never really know what's coming. A small wave, or maybe a big one. All you can really do is hope that when it comes, you can surf over it, instead of drown in its monstrosity.
Alysha Speer
If we remain rooted in our integrity and envision life in its intense, original beauty, we can create an authentic mindset allowing us to surf freely on the waves of our aspirations. ("Into a new life")
Erik Pevernagie
Life comes at us in waves. We can't predict or control those waves, but we can learn to surf
Dan Millman
Life is a lot like surfing… When you get caught in the impact zone, you’ve got to just get back up. Because you never know what may be over the next wave.
Bethany Hamilton (Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board)
I've learned life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone, you need to get right back up, because you never know what's over the next wave......and if you have faith, anything is possible, anything at all.
Soul Surfer
Kabat-Zinn writes, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
Change is the only constant. Your ability to navigate and tolerate change and its painful uncomfortableness directly correlates to your happiness and general well-being. See what I just did there? I saved you thousands of dollars on self-help books. If you can surf your life rather than plant your feet, you will be happier. Maybe I should have called this book Surf Your Life. The cover could feature a picture of me on a giant wave wearing a wizard hat. I wonder if it’s too late. I’ll make a call.
Amy Poehler (Yes Please)
If you're having a bad day, catch a wave.
Frosty Hesson
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
Keanu Reeves
I've learned life is a lot like surfing. When you get caught in the impact zone,you need to get right back up, because you never know what's over the next wave... and if you have faith, anything is possible, anything at all.
Bethany Hamilton
In a recent interview, he compared himself to surfers: “What are they doing this for? It’s just pure. You’re alone. That wave is so much bigger and stronger than you. You’re always outnumbered. They always can crush you. And yet you’re going to accept that and turn it into a little, brief, meaningless art form.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
It was, once again, a glorious wave, with hues in its depths so intense they felt like first editions—ocean colors never seen before, made solely for this wave, this moment, perhaps never to be seen again.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The silences here are retreats of sound, like the retreat of the surf before a tidal wave: sound draining away, down slopes of acoustic passage, to gather, someplace else, to a great surge of noise.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
So I'm biding my time, like a surfer waiting for a wave. I'm pretty good at surfing, as it happens, and I know the wave will come. When the moment is right, I'll get Demeter's attention. She'll look at my stuff, everything will click, and I'll start riding my life. Not paddling, paddling, paddling, like I am right now.
Sophie Kinsella (My Not So Perfect Life)
This is what I mean by quitting surfing. When you surf, as I then understood it, you live and breathe waves. You always know what the surf is doing. You cut school, lose jobs, lose girlfriends, if it’s good.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Like the body craves oxygen, the mind is desperate for certainty. It believes that without a safe foothold on reality, it will die. But the fascinating thing is that the illusion of certainty is exactly the opposite of safety because it hardens and narrows the vision to make everything fit its own scope. Then when new information arrives which would be its ally, the mind pushes it away in favor of the leaky life raft to which it clings, sinking all the while beneath the waves of change. In fact, the only antidote for this is to embrace 'I don’t know' so deeply that a powerful, dynamic safety emerges. This is like learning to surf so well that a tsunami wave shows up as a challenge to test our mastery.
Jacob Nordby
She was very easy to please, because she took joy in the smallest things, but exacting, too, because that small thing must be authentic, and wondrous in its small self, and not any kind of bullshit. She could detect bullshit from a hillside away. But then she took people at face value and expected the best of them until proven otherwise.
Peter Heller (Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave)
You Can’t Stop the Waves but You Can Learn to Surf
Jon Kabat-Zinn (Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation In Everyday Life)
Life is like surfing. Challenges, like tidal waves, must surely come. It takes balanced life and a firm trust in God to ride the waves of life.
Martin Uzochukwu Ugwu
‪Repel people in your mind and you’ll repel them in your life. See others as above you in your mind and you’ll be below them in your life. Love people in your mind and connect with them in life. The brainwaves we send out are the only ones others will surf back to our shores.‬
Curtis Tyrone Jones
There comes a time in the life of a sailor when he no longer belongs ashore. It's then that he surrenders to the Pacific, where no land blocks the eye, where sky and ocean mirror each other until above and below have lost their meaning, and the Milky Way looks like the spume of a breaking wave and the globe itself rolls like a boat in the midst of the sinking and heaving surf of that starry sky, and even the sun is nothing but a tiny glowing dot of phosphorescence on the sea of the night.
Carsten Jensen (We, the Drowned)
The trick is to ride the wave, Fast, wide-open and in deep Now-magic. Free, burning fear for fuel Generous, knowing there is always more where that came from. Cresting, spray of liquid jewels hanging, shining in the sun and wind. Flying down the wave in graceful slices. Rolling, tumbling under, over Breathless falling, floating into the deep dark beneath. Rising, face breaks the surface Laughing Kneeling, standing Riding again. Sunset waits behind the horizon But daylight begs us to swim Out beyond Where our feet can’t touch bottom. Into the deep wild Where the next wave can sweep us higher, Show us what else is possible In this marvelous place.
Jacob Nordby
At some point in the night she had a dream. Or it was possible that she was partially awake, and was only remembering a dream? She was alone among the rocks on a dark coast beside the sea. The water surged upward and fell back languidly, and in the distance she heard surf breaking slowly on a sandy shore. It was comforting to be this close to the surface of the ocean and gaze at the intimate nocturnal details of its swelling and ebbing. And as she listened to the faraway breakers rolling up onto the beach, she became aware of another sound entwined with the intermittent crash of waves: a vast horizontal whisper across the bossom of the sea, carrying an ever-repeated phrase, regular as a lighthouse flashing: Dawn will be breaking soon. She listened a long time: again and again the scarcely audible words were whispered across the moving water. A great weight was being lifted slowly from her; little by little her happiness became more complete, and she awoke. Then she lay for a few minutes marveling the dream, and once again fell asleep.
Paul Bowles (Up Above the World)
I felt myself floating between two worlds. There was the ocean, effectively infinite, falling away forever to the horizon. This morning it was placid, its grip on me loose and languorous. But I was lashed to its moods now. The attachment felt limitless, irresistible. I no longer thought of waves being carved in celestial workshops. I was getting more hardheaded. Now I knew they originated in distant storms, which moved, as it were, upon the face of the deep. But my utter absorption in surfing had no rational content. It simply compelled me; there was a deep mine of beauty and wonder in it. Beyond that, I could not have explained why I did it. I knew vaguely that it filled a psychic cavity of some kind—connected, perhaps, with leaving the church, or with, more likely, the slow drift away from my family—and that it had replaced many things that came before it. I was a sunburnt pagan now. I felt privy to mysteries.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
alone, and start to think. There are the rushing waves . . . mountains of molecules, each stupidly minding its own business . . . trillions apart . . . yet forming white surf in unison. Ages on ages . . . before any eyes could see . . . year after year . . . thunderously pounding the shore as now. For whom, for what? . . . on a dead planet, with no life to entertain. Never at rest . . . tortured by energy . . . wasted prodigiously by the sun . . . poured into space. A mite makes the sea roar. Deep in the sea, all molecules repeat the patterns of one another till complex new ones are formed. They make others like themselves . . . and a new dance starts. Growing in size and complexity . . . living things, masses of atoms, DNA, protein . . . dancing a pattern ever more intricate. Out of the cradle onto the dry land . . . here it is standing . . . atoms with consciousness . . . matter with curiosity. Stands at the sea . . . wonders at wondering . . . I . . . a universe
Richard P. Feynman (The Pleasure of Finding Things Out: The Best Short Works of Richard P. Feynman)
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do? I change my physiology. If I am near waves, I go surf them. If not, a short, intense kettlebell workout, a bike ride, a swim, a cold shower or ice plunge, Wim Hof or heart rate variability breathing [see Adam Robinson, for a description]. It’s remarkable how the mind follows the body.
Timothy Ferriss (Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World)
Buzzy Trent, an old-time big-wave rider, allegedly said, “Big waves are not measured in feet, but in increments of fear.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Often in the waves of change, we discover our true direction.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Today I am embracing any adversity in my life. Today I will surf the waves of negativity and see how it is getting me to where I’m going next.
Betsy Henry (Zen Tips, Daily Meditations for Happiness and Fulfillment From the Zen Mama)
Is it possible to love by simply not being an ass? I don't think so. But it goes a long way to clearing a space where love can happen.
Peter Heller (Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave)
The universe is an ocean upon which we are the waves. While some decide to surf, others venture to dive.
Charbel Tadros
The brainwaves we send out are the only ones others will surf back to our shores.‬
Curtis Tyrone Jones
In surfing, and maybe even in life, the trick is to use the calm between the waves to position yourself for the next one.
Claire Cook (Seven Year Switch)
Surfers have a perfection fetish. The perfect wave, etcetera. There is no such thing. Waves are not stationary objects in nature like roses or diamonds. They’re quick, violent events at the end of a long chain of storm action and ocean reaction. Even the most symmetrical breaks have quirks and a totally specific, local character, changing with every shift in tide and wind and swell.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Then the voice - which identified itself as the prince of this world, the only being who really knows what happens on Earth - began to show him the people around him on the beach. The wonderful father who was busy packing things up and helping his children put on some warm clothes and who would love to have an affair with his secretary, but was terrified on his wife's response. His wife who would like to work and have her independence, but who was terrified of her husband's response. The children who behave themselves because they were terrified of being punished. The girl who was reading a book all on her own beneath the sunshade, pretending she didn't care, but inside was terrified of spending the rest of her life alone. The boy running around with a tennis racuqet , terrified of having to live up to his parents' expectations. The waiter serving tropical drinks to the rich customers and terrified that he could be sacket at any moment. The young girl who wanted to be a dance, but who was studying law instead because she was terrified of what the neighbours might say. The old man who didn't smoke or drink and said he felt much better for it, when in truth it was the terror of death what whispered in his ears like the wind. The married couple who ran by, splashing through the surf, with a smile on their face but with a terror in their hearts telling them that they would soon be old, boring and useless. The man with the suntan who swept up in his launch in front of everybody and waved and smiled, but was terrified because he could lose all his money from one moment to the next. The hotel owner, watching the whole idyllic scene from his office, trying to keep everyone happy and cheerful, urging his accountants to ever greater vigilance, and terrified because he knew that however honest he was government officials would still find mistakes in his accounts if they wanted to. There was terror in each and every one of the people on that beautiful beach and on that breathtakingly beautiful evening. Terror of being alone, terror of the darkness filling their imaginations with devils, terror of doing anything not in the manuals of good behaviour, terror of God's punishing any mistake, terror of trying and failing, terror of succeeding and having to live with the envy of other people, terror of loving and being rejected, terror of asking for a rise in salary, of accepting an invitation, of going somewhere new, of not being able to speak a foreign language, of not making the right impression, of growing old, of dying, of being pointed out because of one's defects, of not being pointed out because of one's merits, of not being noticed either for one's defects of one's merits.
Paulo Coelho (The Devil and Miss Prym)
A few years ago, Ed and I were exploring the dunes on Cumberland Island, one of the barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and the mainland of south Georgia. He was looking for the fossilized teeth of long-dead sharks. I was looking for sand spurs so that I did not step on one. This meant that neither of us was looking very far past our own feet, so the huge loggerhead turtle took us both by surprise. She was still alive but just barely, her shell hot to the touch from the noonday sun. We both knew what had happened. She had come ashore during the night to lay her eggs, and when she had finished, she had looked around for the brightest horizon to lead her back to the sea. Mistaking the distant lights on the mainland for the sky reflected on the ocean, she went the wrong way. Judging by her tracks, she had dragged herself through the sand until her flippers were buried and she could go no farther. We found her where she had given up, half cooked by the sun but still able to turn one eye up to look at us when we bent over her. I buried her in cool sand while Ed ran to the ranger station. An hour later she was on her back with tire chains around her front legs, being dragged behind a park service Jeep back toward the ocean. The dunes were so deep that her mouth filled with sand as she went. Her head bent so far underneath her that I feared her neck would break. Finally the Jeep stopped at the edge of the water. Ed and I helped the ranger unchain her and flip her back over. Then all three of us watched as she lay motionless in the surf. Every wave brought her life back to her, washing the sand from her eyes and making her shell shine again. When a particularly large one broke over her, she lifted her head and tried her back legs. The next wave made her light enough to find a foothold, and she pushed off, back into the water that was her home. Watching her swim slowly away after her nightmare ride through the dunes, I noted that it is sometimes hard to tell whether you are being killed or saved by the hands that turn your life upside down.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Learning to Walk in the Dark)
The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization. Robinson Crusoe, Endless Summer. This was a track that led away from citizenship, in the ancients sense of the word, toward a scratched-out frontier where we would live as latter-day barbarians. It went deeper that that. Chasing waves in a dedicated way was both profoundly egocentric and selfless, dynamic and ascetic, radical in its rejection of the values of duty and conventional achievement.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
We come into this world and we are taught that life is a process of attainments. Or the collection of attainments. But I have since discovered that life is a process of rising above in the moments. The river wants to flow downhill or the wave wants to take you under; but you instead sit on a rock or surf the top of that wave. We essentially all have to be mermaids, every day, to live this life. There is a constant flow of water current: going up and going down. You go up to be happy.
C. JoyBell C.
And the wave of tenderness and pity that at once filled his heart was not the stirring of the soul that leads the son to the memory of the vanished father, but the overwhelming compassion that a grown man feels for an unjustly murdered child – something here was not in the natural order and, in truth, there was no order but only madness and chaos when the son was older than the father. The course of time itself was shattering around him while he remained motionless among those tombs he now no longer saw, and the years no longer kept to their places in the great river that flows to its end. They were no more than waves and surf and eddies where Jacques Cormery was not struggling in the grip of anguish and pity. He looked at the other inscriptions in that section and realized from the dates that this soil was strewn with children who had been the fathers of graying men who thought they were living in this present time. For he too believed he was living, he alone had created himself, he knew his own strength, his vigor, he could cope and he had himself well in hand. But, in the strange dizziness of that moment, the statue every man eventually erects and that hardens in the fire of the years, into which he then creeps and there awaits its final crumbling – that statue was rapidly cracking, it was already collapsing. All that was left was this anguished heart, eager to live, rebelling against the deadly order of the world that had been with him for forty years, and still struggling against the wall that separated him from the secret of all life, wanting to go farther, to go beyond, and to discover, discover before dying, discover at last in order to be, just once to be, for a single second, but forever.
Albert Camus (The First Man)
A kind of northing is what I wish to accomplish, a single-minded trek towards that place where any shutter left open to the zenith at night will record the wheeling of all the sky’s stars as a pattern of perfect, concentric circles. I seek a reduction, a shedding, a sloughing off. At the seashore you often see a shell, or fragment of a shell, that sharp sands and surf have thinned to a wisp. There is no way you can tell what kind of shell it had been, what creature it had housed; it could have been a whelk or a scallop, a cowrie, limpet, or conch. The animal is long since dissolved, and its blood spread and thinned in the general sea. All you hold in your hand is a cool shred of shell, an inch long, pared so thin that it passes a faint pink light. It is an essence, a smooth condensation of the air, a curve. I long for the North where unimpeded winds would hone me to such a pure slip of bone. But I’ll not go northing this year. I’ll stalk that floating pole and frigid air by waiting here. I wait on bridges; I wait, struck, on forest paths and meadow’s fringes, hilltops and banksides, day in and day out, and I receive a southing as a gift. The North washes down the mountains like a waterfall, like a tidal wave, and pours across the valley; it comes to me. It sweetens the persimmons and numbs the last of the crickets and hornets; it fans the flames of the forest maples, bows the meadow’s seeded grasses and pokes it chilling fingers under the leaf litter, thrusting the springtails and the earthworms deeper into the earth. The sun heaves to the south by day, and at night wild Orion emerges looming like the Specter over Dead Man Mountain. Something is already here, and more is coming.
Annie Dillard (Pilgrim at Tinker Creek)
The world we know is dwarfed by the worlds we don't. Why not explore them all? Being out there in the wilderness, you have no idea what'll happen, really. It could be just you and this gorgeous night sky, or maybe you are surfing and some big ass wave comes at you, and if you don't ride that sucker, it'll put you under and have you for lunch, or you might turn a corner on a hike and there's some beautiful deer and her little fawn-- now that has meaning, all of those things, and I need more of that and less of trying to make money so I can pay bills to live in a way I just don't care about anymore.
Erica Ferencik (The River at Night)
For most surfers, I think—for me, certainly—waves have a spooky duality. When you are absorbed in surfing them, they seem alive. They each have personalities, distinct and intricate, and quickly changing moods, to which you must react in the most intuitive, almost intimate way—too many people have likened riding waves to making love. And yet waves are of course not alive, not sentient, and the lover you reach to embrace may turn murderous without warning. It’s nothing personal. That self-disemboweling death wave on the inside bar is not bloody-minded. Thinking so is just reflex anthropomorphism. Wave love is a one-way street.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Our conversation changed. It usually had a busy, must-say-everything edge to it, even during the long, lazy days of waiting for waves on Tavarua. But out in the lineup, once the swells started pumping, large pools of awe seemed to collect around us, hushing us, or reducing us to code and murmurs, as though we were in church. There was too much to say, too much emotion, and therefore nothing to say.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
She tried to recall the cold, the silence, and that precious feeling of owning the world, of being twenty years old and having her whole life ahead of her, of making love slowly and calmly, drunk with the scent of the forest and their love, without a past, without suspecting the future, with just the incredible richness of that present moment in which they stared at each other, smelled each other, kissed each other, and explored each other's bodies, wrapped in the whisper of the wind among the trees and the sound of the nearby waves breaking against the rocks at the foot of the cliff, exploding in a crash of pungent surf, and the two of them embracing underneath a single poncho like Siamese twins, laughing and swearing this night would last forever, that they were the only ones in the whole world who had discovered love.
Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits)
Things changed after that between me and Mark. I stopped being mortified that people might mistake me for one of his acolytes. I was his Boswell, don’t you know. I interviewed him about his childhood—his father was a psychiarist in Beverly Hills. I cataloged the contents of his van. I followed him around at work, sitting in while he examined patients. He had been a bit of a prodigy when we were in college. After his father developed a tumor, Mark, who was pre-med, started studying cancer with an intensity that convinced many of his friends that his goal was to find a cure in time to save his father. As it turned out, his father didn’t have cancer. But Mark kept on with his cancer studies. His interest was not in fact in oncology—in finding a cure—but in cancer education and prevention. By the time he entered medical school, he had created, with another student, a series of college courses on cancer and coauthored The Biology of Cancer Sourcebook, the text for a course that was eventually offered to tens of thousands of students. He cowrote a second book, Understanding Cancer, that became a bestselling university text, and he continued to lecture throughout the United States on cancer research, education, and prevention. “The funny thing is, I’m not really interested in cancer,” Mark told me. “I’m interested in people’s response to it. A lot of cancer patients and suvivors report that they never really lived till they got cancer, that it forced them to face things, to experience life more intensely. What you see in family practice is that families just can’t afford to be superficial with each other anymore once someone has cancer. Corny as it sounds, what I’m really interested in is the human spirit—in how people react to stress and adversity. I’m fascinated by the way people fight back, by how they keep fighting their way to the surface.” Mark clawed at the air with his arms. What he was miming was the struggle to reach the surface through the turbulence of a large wave.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Jerry Seinfeld is a genius. Seinfeld, who doesn’t need to work, still does stand-up comedy, fine-tuning his bits obsessively, averaging close to a hundred shows a year. He says he’s going to keep doing it “into my 80s, and beyond.” In a recent interview, he compared himself to surfers: “What are they doing this for? It’s just pure. You’re alone. That wave is so much bigger and stronger than you. You’re always outnumbered. They always can crush you. And yet you’re going to accept that and turn it into a little, brief, meaningless art form.” Selya
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Even yet I do not know why the ocean holds such a fascination for me. But then, perhaps none of us can solve those things—they exist in defiance of all explanation. There are men, and wise men, who do not like the sea and its lapping surf on yellow shores; and they think us strange who love the mystery of the ancient and unending deep. Yet for me there is a haunting and inscrutable glamour in all the ocean's moods. It is in the melancholy silver foam beneath the moon's waxen corpse; it hovers over the silent and eternal waves that beat on naked shores; it is there when all is lifeless save for unknown shapes that glide through sombre depths. And when I behold the awesome billows surging in endless strength, there comes upon me an ecstasy akin to fear; so that I must abase myself before this mightiness, that I may not hate the clotted waters and their overwhelming beauty. Vast and lonely is the ocean, and even as all things came from it, so shall they return thereto. In the shrouded depths of time none shall reign upon the earth, nor shall any motion be, save in the eternal waters. And these shall beat on dark shores in thunderous foam, though none shall remain in that dying world to watch the cold light of the enfeebled moon playing on the swirling tides and coarse-grained sand. On the deep's margin shall rest only a stagnant foam, gathering about the shells and bones of perished shapes that dwelt within the waters. Silent, flabby things will toss and roll along empty shores, their sluggish life extinct. Then all shall be dark, for at last even the white moon on the distant waves shall wink out. Nothing shall be left, neither above nor below the sombre waters. And until that last millennium, and beyond the perishing of all other things, the sea will thunder and toss throughout the dismal night.
H.P. Lovecraft (H.P. Lovecraft: The Ultimate Collection (160 Works by Lovecraft - Early Writings, Fiction, Collaborations, Poetry, Essays & Bonus Audiobook Links))
Thich Nhat Hanh. a venerated Vietnamese Buddhist, speaks of a solution that is so utterly simple it seems profane. Be, body and mind, exactly where you are. That is, practice a mindfulness that makes you aware of each moment. Think to yourself, "I am breathing" when you're breathing; "I am anxious" when you're anxious; even, "I am washing the dishes" when you're washing the dishes. To be totally into this moment is the goal of mindfulness. Right now is precious and shall never pass this way again. A wave is a precious moment, amplified: a dynamic natural sculpture that shall never pass this way again. Out interaction with waves - to be fully in the moment, without relationship troubles, bills, or worries - is what frees us. Each moment that we are fully with waves is evidence of our ability to live in the here and now. There is nothing else in the universe when you're making that elegant bottom turn. Here. Now. Simple, but so elusive. A wave demands your attention. It is very difficult to be somewhere else, in your mind, when there is such a gorgeous creation of nature moving your way. Just being close to a wave brings us closer to being mindful. To surf them is the training ground for mindfulness. The ocean can seem chaotic, like the world we live in. But somehow we're forced to slice through the noise - to paddle around and through the adversities of life and get directly to the joy. This is what we need for liberation.
Kia Afcari (Sister Surfer: A Woman's Guide to Surfing with Bliss and Courage)
the challenges of our day-to-day existence are sustained reminders that our life of faith simply must have its center somewhere other than in our ability to hold it together in our minds. Life is a pounding surf that wears away our rock-solid certainty. The surf always wins. Slowly but surely. Eventually. It may be best to ride the waves rather than resist them. What are your one or two biggest obstacles to staying Christian? What are those roadblocks you keep running into? What are those issues that won’t go away and make you wonder why you keep on believing at all? These are questions I asked on a survey I gave on my blog in the summer of 2013. Nothing fancy. I just asked some questions and waited to see what would happen. In the days to come, I was overwhelmed with comments and e-mails from readers, many anonymous, with bracingly honest answers often expressed through the tears of relentless and unnerving personal suffering. I didn’t do a statistical analysis (who has the time, plus I don’t know how), but the responses fell into five categories.         1.        The Bible portrays God as violent, reactive, vengeful, bloodthirsty, immoral, mean, and petty.         2.        The Bible and science collide on too many things to think that the Bible has anything to say to us today about the big questions of life.         3.        In the face of injustice and heinous suffering in the world, God seems disinterested or perhaps unable to do anything about it.         4.        In our ever-shrinking world, it is very difficult to hold on to any notion that Christianity is the only path to God.         5.        Christians treat each other so badly and in such harmful ways that it calls into question the validity of Christianity—or even whether God exists. These five categories struck me as exactly right—at least, they match up with my experience. And I’d bet good money they resonate with a lot of us. All five categories have one big thing in common: “Faith in God no longer makes sense to me.” Understanding, correct thinking, knowing what you believe—these were once true of their faith, but no longer are. Because life happened. A faith that promises to provide firm answers and relieve our doubt is a faith that will not hold up to the challenges and tragedies of life. Only deep trust can hold up.
Peter Enns (The Sin of Certainty: Why God Desires Our Trust More Than Our "Correct" Beliefs)
Today, democracy is being weakened by lies that come in waves and pound our senses the way a beach is assaulted by the surf. Leaders who play by the rules are having trouble staying ahead of a relentless news cycle and must devote too much effort trying to disprove stories that seem to come out of nowhere and have been invented solely to do them in. All this has consequences. Small "d" democrats riding to power on the promise of change often begin to lose popularity the day they take office. Globalization, which is not an ideological choice but a fact of life, has become for many an evil to be fought at all costs. Capitalism is considered a four-letter word by an increasing number of people who--if not for its fruits--would be without food, shelter, clothing, and smartphones. In a rising number of countries, citizens profess a lack of faith in every public institution and the official data they produce.
Madeleine K. Albright (Fascism: A Warning)
Here am I, a little animal called a man--a bit of vitalized matter, one hundred and sixty-five pounds of meat and blood, nerve, sinew, bones, and brain,--all of it soft and tender, susceptible to hurt, fallible, and frail. I strike a light back-handed blow on the nose of an obstreperous horse, and a bone in my hand is broken. I put my head under the water for five minutes, and I am drowned. I fall twenty feet through the air, and I am smashed. I am a creature of temperature. A few degrees one way, and my fingers and ears and toes blacken and drop off. A few degrees the other way, and my skin blisters and shrivels away from the raw, quivering flesh. A few additional degrees either way, and the life and the light in me go out. A drop of poison injected into my body from a snake, and I cease to move--for ever I cease to move. A splinter of lead from a rifle enters my head, and I am wrapped around in the eternal blackness. Fallible and frail, a bit of pulsating, jelly-like life--it is all I am. About me are the great natural forces--colossal menaces, Titans of destruction, unsentimental monsters that have less concern for me than I have for the grain of sand I crush under my foot. They have no concern at all for me. They do not know me. They are unconscious, unmerciful, and unmoral. They are the cyclones and tornadoes, lightning flashes and cloud-bursts, tide-rips and tidal waves, undertows and waterspouts, great whirls and sucks and eddies, earthquakes and volcanoes, surfs that thunder on rock-ribbed coasts and seas that leap aboard the largest crafts that float, crushing humans to pulp or licking them off into the sea and to death--and these insensate monsters do not know that tiny sensitive creature, all nerves and weaknesses, whom men call Jack London, and who himself thinks he is all right and quite a superior being.
Jack London (The Cruise of the Snark)
When I saw them on the beach, perfectly tanned, or when I watched them twirling in the waves, I grasped the transcendental element in surf music. It was all about freedom from the rules of life, the whole of your being concentrated in the act of shooting the tube. For several years after that trip to L.A. I subscribed to Surfer magazine, and I practiced the Atlantic Ocean version of the sport, though only with my body and on rather tame waves. With my voice muffled by the water I would shout a line from “Surf City.” To me, this was the ultimate fantasy of plenty: “two girls for every boy,” except I sang it as “Two girls for every goy.” Fortunately, Brian has survived the schizoid tendencies that seemed close to the surface when I met him. He’s still performing and writing songs. But it was his emotional battle and the intersection of that struggle with the acid-dosed aesthetic of the sixties that produced his most astonishing music.
Richard Goldstein (Another Little Piece of My Heart: My Life of Rock and Revolution in the '60s)
Look for a wave shaped like an A. An A. Hmm. I saw Zs and H's and Vs. I saw the Hindi alphabet and the Thai alphabet. I saw Arabic script. I saw no As. Finally I gave up, and chose the next wave that would have me, which turned out to be a poor move. There is a moment, shortly after one accepts the imminence of one's demise, when it occurs that you could be elsewhere: that if you simply left the house a little later, or lingered over a Mai Tai, you would not be here now confronting your mortality. This moment occurred just as I encountered a very large (from my perspective), rare and surprising wave. A wave that was pitching and howling, and it really had no business being where it was - underneath me. The demon wave picked me up, and after that I have only a a vague recollection of spinning limbs, a weaponized surf board, and chaotic white water, churning together over a reef. I decided surfing was not for me. I generally no longer engage in adrenaline rush activities that carry with them a strong likely hood of life-altering injury. (p. 138)
J. Maarten Troost (The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific)
Still, the reminders of our former intimacy with the living world remain present in the deliberate circular placement of ancient stones standing upright in a salt marsh; or the concentric circles carved into rocks and still visible thousands of years later; or the scraps of fabric tied to the branches of an ash tree next to a holy well, fresh water springing out of the ground above the tideline, where people still go to make offerings. These markers in the landscape are evidence of our lost attunement to the natural rhythms and cycles of life - the solar and lunar cycles and their sway over Earth's watery cycles, including ocean waves, tides, gestation and menstruation. Natural cycles that, despite our separation from them, continue to coordinate and orchestrate the complex process of life. A cyclical approach to life allows for both the ebb and the flow, the waxing and waning, the luminosity and the darkness .If something is lost, perhaps it can also be found again.
Easkey Britton (Saltwater in the Blood: Surfing, Natural Cycles and the Sea's Power to Heal)
When darkness threatens to shut out the Light, ranges of emotions are the waves I surf at night. “Triumphing over Trauma” as my battle cry. Accepting this truth becomes my only guide.
Maria Teresa Pratico (My Soul's Dance, Accepting the Shadows while Embracing the Light: Poems about Death and Rebirth)
STEP 4: BEWARE OF LIMINAL MOMENTS Liminal moments are transitions from one thing to another throughout our days. Have you ever picked up your phone while waiting for a traffic light to change, then found yourself still looking at your phone while driving? Or opened a tab in your web browser, got annoyed by how long it’s taking to load, and opened up another page while you waited? Or looked at a social media app while walking from one meeting to the next, only to keep scrolling when you got back to your desk? There’s nothing wrong with any of these actions per se. Rather, what’s dangerous is that by doing them “for just a second,” we’re likely to do things we later regret, like getting off track for half an hour or getting into a car accident. A technique I’ve found particularly helpful for dealing with this distraction trap is the “ten-minute rule.” If I find myself wanting to check my phone as a pacification device when I can’t think of anything better to do, I tell myself it’s fine to give in, but not right now. I have to wait just ten minutes. This technique is effective at helping me deal with all sorts of potential distractions, like googling something rather than writing, eating something unhealthy when I’m bored, or watching another episode on Netflix when I’m “too tired to go to bed.” This rule allows time to do what some behavioral psychologists call “surfing the urge.” When an urge takes hold, noticing the sensations and riding them like a wave—neither pushing them away nor acting on them—helps us cope until the feelings subside.
Nir Eyal (Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life)
Sometimes I catch myself being a person I wouldn't tolerate for five minutes at my own kitchen table. Being a thoughtless, self-centered jerk.
Peter Heller (Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave)
When you surf, as I then understood it, you live and breathe waves. You always know what the surf is doing. You cut school, lose jobs, lose girlfriends, if it’s good.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Life is a road of uncertainty. Like standing on the edge of your board, the unknowing can be treacherous. But if you stay focused and centered along the journey, your spirit is ready to handle anything that comes your way.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
The heart of a surfer's life is the connection between the stillness of their board beneath them and the sea that moves about them. This is the one constant in a world that changes minute by minute.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Most people go through life thinking they have everything to lose. When in truth, it's just the opposite.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Instead of always looking at the negative in your friends, appreciate their strengths and positive attributes.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Change is the Universal wake-up call.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Live life, one wave at a time.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Life gets better. We don't have to end up anywhere near where we started.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
If you ponder the questions of the Universe and beyond, just stop and take a good look around you. You just might find the answers.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
There are no bad waves, only bad decisions.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Balance comes from the realigning of our priorities.
Andrew Pacholyk (Barefoot ~ A Surfer's View of the Universe)
Could she blame her for having been tempted by the call of that horn? Could she blame anyone? When so much of life was rules and responsibilities and cruel gossip. When you weren’t exactly what others thought you should be. When your heart desired nothing more than to stoke the flames of a bonfire, howl at the stars, dance beneath the thunder and rain, and kiss your lover, languid and soft, in the frothy surf of ocean waves.
Marissa Meyer (Gilded (Gilded, #1))
Peter announced that Paul do Mar was not a surf spot, that it was just a picturesque, kamikaze close-out. I disagreed. I found it a mesmerizing wave. But absurdly dangerous. Besides the raw power, there was the shoreline. The rocks were round, mostly, but the shorebreak borderland you had to cross to enter the water was simply too wide, particularly when the surf was big. Even after timing it carefully, waiting for a lull, letting a shorebreak wave expend itself, then running recklessly with your board over wet boulders, you sometimes didn’t make it to water deep enough to paddle on before the next wave slammed you, banging you backward across the rocks—board, body, dignity all battered, sometimes severely. This was not a normal ocean problem. It felt like bad arithmetic—the time and distance did not, for some Madeira-only reason, compute. I had never seen a surf spot with an entrance so daunting. And the exit, getting back onto dry land, could be even worse. The wave we were there to ride was at most only thirty yards offshore, but I sometimes resorted to a very long paddle, around a seawall at the far east end of the village, rather than face that shorebreak.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The key to surfing Kiera was entering the wild section at full speed...I had waves that teased me two, even three times, with the daylight hole speeding ahead, outrunning me, and then pausing and miraculously rewinding back toward me, the spilling lip seemingly twisting like the Iris of a camera lens opening until I was almost out of the hole, and then reversing and doing it again, receding in beautiful hopelessness and returning in even more beautiful hope. These were the longest tube rides of my life.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
From the perspective of utter love for surfing, paddling was always okay, no matter how difficult, no matter how hopeless. Sure, it wasn’t always as fun as riding a wave. But it was part of it. They were the same - interdependent. No paddle, no surf. No samsara, no nirvana. And if paddling on a day like this could be enjoyable, i figured maybe all of life’s challenges could be - maybe even a real job. Maybe there was no rat race to escape...
Jaimal Yogis (Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer's Quest to Find Zen on the Sea)
The waves tossed Vortigern around like a rag doll. Seaweed entangled his legs and salt water blurred his vision. Weighed down by his sodden clothes, he waded the last few yards to the beach. The waves kept pulling him back but with a huge effort he broke free of their grip and collapsed onto the damp sand. There he lay, fighting for breath as the foamy surf lapped around his legs. The sound of the sea’s constant wash and drag filled his ears.
Steven Smith (The Map of the Known World (The Tree of Life Book 1))
The hardest thing about combat is the noise. War sounds like nothing you’re used to in civilian life. The landing craft’s engines had shielded some of the shrieks and the awful explosions. Now I heard them fully, and felt the reverberations in my spine. Bullets and shells rained across the deep surf. The water percolated, as if the earth were furious with us—not just us, but all of mankind. The noise of war does more than deafen you. It’s worse than shock, more physical than something thumping against your chest. It pounds your bones, rumbling through your organs, counter-beating your heart. Your skull vibrates. You feel the noise as if it’s inside you, a demonic parasite pushing at every inch of skin to get out.
Ray Lambert (Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War)
Chasing waves in a dedicated way was both profoundly egocentric and selfless, dynamic and ascetic, radical in its rejection of the values of duty and conventional achievement.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
It's a funny thing, the way childhood friendships exist, like deep water below the rolling waves, steady, constant, cool. When you're a kid, you surf with people, maybe play a sport, go to a dance, you think you don't know each other very well until you get out into the world and realise there were things you shared with your hometown friends that no one outside that town, that life, will ever understand in the same way. You share something profound, know the measure of people, without even realising it.
Lilly Mirren (Cottage on Oceanview Lane (Emerald Cove, #1))
Its color was a muted gray-white until a wave reared; then turquoise floodlights seemed to switch on illuminating the wave's guts from the inside.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Waves will always keep coming, you just have to learn how to surf.
Jon Luvelli
Days you spend on the water are not deducted from your life,” he said, and laughed. “Surfing keeps you from growing old.
Paul Theroux (Under the Wave at Waimea)
Surfers have a perfection fetish. The perfect wave, etcetera. There is no such thing. Waves are not stationary objects in nature like roses or diamonds. They're quick, violent events at the end of a long chain of storm action and ocean reactions.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The opportunity is before you – you’ve said hello to the beautiful stranger, you’ve accepted the job, you’re about to sign that dotted line – don’t pull back. Don’t even think of pulling back. Don’t even think. Life is about moments of heightened emotion whether good or bad. This is your heightened moment, relish and embrace it. This is you – alive.
Bradley Hook (Surfing Life Waves)
I had never surfed so loosely in waves that size. I felt immortal.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Surfing isn’t about someday. It’s about now. I let go of someday every time I take off on a wave and become more present in the moment. Life is better then, when I’m not thinking about me.
Alex Woodard (For The Sender: Four Letters. Twelve Songs. One Story.)
Waikiki Beach. I was psyched at the prospect of learning to surf in the historic place where Hawaiian kings and queens first rode atop waves.
Nick Vujicic (Life Without Limits)
Kabat-Zinn writes, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” OBAMA
Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)
Everything out there was disturbingly interlaced with everything else. Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
the classes themselves, which were prim and undemanding, bored me in a way school never had before. . .So I passed the class hours slouched in the back rows, keeping an eye on the trees outside for signs of wind direction and strength, drawing page after page of surfboards and waves.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
But surfing always had this horizon, this fear line, that made it different from other things, certainly from other sports I knew. You could do it with friends, but when the waves got big, or you got into trouble, there never seemed to be anyone around.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Age: 10 Height: 5’3 Favourite animal: Osprey   Clara once had a dream that she was a bird, flying high over hills, cliffs and the ocean. She dreamt she flew down towards the waves with her powerful wings and used her sharp talons to snatch a fish out of the water to eat. When Clara woke up, she looked on the internet to find out if there were any real birds that ate fish. She realised that she had dreamed of being an osprey, which is a rare ‘eagle of the sea’, and ever since then Clara has wondered whether there is such a thing as the supernatural: dreams that have special meanings, spirits walking the world, and magical creatures that may or may not have existed many centuries ago, like dragons, fairies and unicorns.   Because of this interest, she can often be found surfing the internet whilst she researches interesting animals and the habitats they live in. Like Benjamin, she loves nature and likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Also like Ben, her goals for the future include travelling around the world. She would like to visit the countries of India and South-East Asia. She would especially like to see wild orang-utans in the forests of Indonesia.   She also hopes to one day be a real life detective, so that she can help people. She says, “Helping people is the most important thing in the world. Without that desire, there would be no Cluefinders Club to help the people who need it!” She loves to read books, especially mystery stories. Clara is considered the founder of the Cluefinders Club, and her bedroom is the place they like to meet most evenings to talk about detective stories and mysteries they might be able to solve.  
Ken T. Seth (The Case of the Vanishing Bully (The Cluefinder Club #1))
When I got closer I heard Brandon’s warm animated voice and slowed, trying to hear whatever he was telling our son. I was already smiling to myself when I peeked around the slightly ajar door, he was talking to him about one of his surfing days. No … he was talking to him about one of Chase’s surfing days. And he had the scrapbook of Chase’s life on the dresser below them, pointing to one of the pictures. A soft gasp escaped my chest and I tried to slow my breathing so I could continue to listen without Brandon knowing I was here. “… he was always doing crazy stuff like that, it’s why everyone loved him, but it got him in trouble more times than not. No one else would have continued to surf after that, and we were all trying to get him to come in. Brad and I rode out to force him to, since he had this huge cut on his eyebrow from where that guy punched him, but by the time we got out there he was already catching another wave and riding it in. I swear he knew how to piss us off too, because those guys weren’t happy we started coming back out. Your dad could out-surf those guys, and I could fight them, but just a warning son, don’t ever try to fight someone while on your surfboard out in the ocean. It doesn’t really work out for anyone, and you look stupid trying to throw punches while treading water. We ended up laughing too hard and inviting them to the party that night, calling a truce.” Brandon flipped to the next page and chuckled lightly, pointing at one of the pictures again, “Like I said, he was crazy and always doing stupid crap,” flipping the page again he pointed to one and said softly, “but your mom changed that.” I froze and tilted my head in even further. “The day I met your mom, I knew she would be in my life forever. There was something about her and I knew I was already falling in love with her that first day. She made you want to be better, to attempt to be worthy of her love. Unfortunately your dad felt the same way; no one understood why he drastically changed, except for me. Even though she was with me, he stopped drinking, stopped sleeping with other girls, it’s like she made him instantly mature into the guy he eventually wanted to be so he could have an opportunity with her. I was always afraid I’d lose her to him someday, it’s like I knew it was a matter of when, not if. But your mom was different, I’d dated plenty of girls, but I hadn’t really cared if they were there or not. It was just someone to try to fill the ache of losing my dad. So when I met her and realized my feelings, I fought to keep her as long as I could. Don’t tell your momma, but Chase and I were constantly fighting over her when she wasn’t around. Hell, we even fought over her when she was around. We knew either of us could have any girl we wanted, but we both only wanted Harper. So of course, being us, words were used and fists flew whenever we were alone. I didn’t tell her this, but I already knew what had happened with your dad before she told me. When I got home from break, and Chase never bothered me again, I knew something had happened. I just didn’t know what yet. But you know what little man? I can’t even be mad about it anymore, because if it hadn’t happened, you wouldn’t be here right now.” He gently kissed our three month old son who was completely enthralled in his stories and pointed to the last picture in the book. “And he loved you and your mom, so much. I’ll always remind you of that, but I wish you could have met him.” I
Molly McAdams (Taking Chances (Taking Chances, #1))
She had since grown used to some of the insular codes and cryptic slang of surfers, even the grunts and roars and horrible snarls, but she still didn’t understand why, after spending hours studying the waves from shore, we often announced our intention to paddle out by saying things like, “Let’s get it over with.” She could see the reluctance—clammy wetsuit, icy water, rough, lousy surf. She just couldn’t see the grim compunction. Once,
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The waves thundered still onto the beach the next morning and Davy spent a good hour watching them pound the sand. It was therapeutic. He didn't know which he identified with more - the surf, raging against immovable stone outcroppings, or the rocks, taking enormous punishment without being able to strike back
Stephen Charles Gould
Big waves are not measured in feet, but in increments of bullshit.” When
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
What could rightly have worried my dad about me and surfing was the special brand of monomania, antisocial and ill-balanced, that a serious commitment to surfing nearly always brought with it. Surfing was still something that one did—that I did—with friends, but the club thing, the organized-sports part, was fading fast. I no longer dreamed about winning contests, as I had dreamed about pitching for the Dodgers. The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization. Robinson Crusoe, Endless Summer.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
THE CLOSE, PAINSTAKING STUDY of a tiny patch of coast, every eddy and angle, even down to individual rocks, and in every combination of tide and wind and swell—a longitudinal study, through season after season—is the basic occupation of surfers at their local break. Getting a spot wired—truly understanding it—can take years. At very complex breaks, it’s a lifetime’s work, never completed. This is probably not what most people see, glancing seaward, noting surfers in the water, but it’s the first-order problem that we’re out there trying to solve: what are these waves doing, exactly, and what are they likely to do next? Before we can ride them, we have to read them, or at least make a credible start on the job. Nearly
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
William! We got waves.” He called me William only on serious occasions, or as part of a joke. This was a serious occasion. We had run out of food the night before, and had been planning a run to Lahaina, the nearest town, which was twelve miles away, for provisions. That plan was postponed indefinitely. We scavenged for nutrients—gnawing old mango rinds, scraping out soup cans, choking down bread previously rejected as moldy. We grabbed our boards and jogged around the point, screaming
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
I’ too is a reflection, a reflection with which we are quite fascinated, evoking as it does a constant and unending drama of emotions, fears and failures, successes and joys. We ride the surf of life on the board of ‘I,’ struggling to stay on the crest but forever plunging into waves of distress. ‘I’ is always something that is going to happen in the future, something to look forward to, to achieve, to get, to win. From this comes the ride’s momentum. The satisfaction of ‘I’ is our cult, to this we bend our will and desire.
Albert Low (Zen: Talks, Stories and Commentaries)
I am not super-attached to my career,' Audrey Tautou says in that sultry, Gallic voice of hers, a glint of recklessness in her big brown eyes. 'I have several plan Bs: I want to become a sailor; I like to draw; I would love to learn many things, but I don’t have time…' She trails off, leaving an uncertain silence hanging over the Kensington hotel room where we’ve met to discuss her latest film, a delightful comic confection called Beautiful Lies. 'That is the problem, you know,' she continues, more carefully. 'That is the reason why I will quit acting very soon.' She lets out a strange little laugh, a creaky exhalation, as if her own admission has taken her by surprise... 'I didn’t want to have this power,' she says, with a shrug. 'I would rather have freedom; and to find that you have to stop being in big, exposed movies. I don’t surf on the big waves. When I see them coming, I take my board and go straight back to the beach.'... 'I am always surprised to be chosen by a director for a role because I never understand why they like me,' she says. Surely, I suggest, that is false modesty, coming from one of Europe’s most bankable stars. 'Oh no, really, I am serious,' she says, leaning forward and planting her feet back on the carpet. 'I am always surprised to be cast.' Does her track record – in Jeunet’s hits; or in Stephen Frears’s acclaimed Dirty Pretty Things, or as a compellingly self-possessed Coco Chanel in Anne Fontaine’s 2009 biopic – not give her at least a little confidence? 'No,' she says with a scowl, 'pas du tout.' 'A few months ago, I watched one of my old movies and I thought to myself, 'Oh, Jesus!’ Thank God that at the point I made that film I didn’t realise the extent to which I was terrible. Oh, mon dieu! Mon dieu!' But surely, I say, she can take from that the reassurance that she has only improved as an actress. 'Or,' she says, jabbing a finger in the air, 'I say to myself, does it simply mean that if in another 10 years I rewatch the films I am making today I will say, 'Oh mon dieu, how terrible I was then.’ She laughs that odd, breathy laugh again and then looks me dead in the eye. 'You have to be very careful in this life.
Benjamin Secher
BUT SURFING ALWAYS HAD this horizon, this fear line, that made it different from other things, certainly from other sports I knew. You could do it with friends, but when the waves got big, or you got into trouble, there never seemed to be anyone around. Everything out there was disturbingly interlaced with everything else. Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world. At thirteen, I had mostly stopped believing in God, but that was a new development, and it had left a hole in my world, a feeling that I’d been abandoned. The ocean was like an uncaring God, endlessly dangerous, power beyond measure.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
This rule allows time to do what some behavioral psychologists call “surfing the urge.” When an urge takes hold, noticing the sensations and riding them like a wave—neither pushing them away nor acting on them—helps us cope until the feelings subside.
Nir Eyal (Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life)
A word about bloody-mindedness. For most surfers, I think— for me, certainly—waves have a spooky duality. When you are absorbed in surfing them, they seem alive. They each have per- sonalities, distinct and intricate, and quickly changing moods, to which you must react in the most intuitive, almost intimate I way—too many people have likened riding waves to making love. And yet waves are of course not alive, not sentient, and the lover you reach to embrace may turn murderous without warning. It's nothing personal. That self-disemboweling death wave on the inside bar is not bloody-minded, Thinking so is just reflex anthropomorphism. Wave love is a one-way street.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
For me, and not only for me, surfing harbors this paradox: a desire to be alone with waves fused to an equal desire to be watched, to perform.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Was 'surfing' even what I was doing? I chased waves instinctively, got appropriately stoked when it was good, got thoroughly immersed in working out the puzzle of a new spot. Still, peak moments were, by definition, few and far between. Most sessions were unremarkable. What was consistent was a certain serenity that followed a rigorous session. It was physical, this postsurf mood, but it had a distinct emotionality too. Sometimes it was mild elation. Often it was a pleasant melancholy. After particularly intense tubes or wipeouts, I felt a charged and wild inclination to weep, which could last for hours.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
My father liked to tell a story about a day when I got discouraged. From the warmth of the car, he had been watching me flounder — I imagine him smoking his pipe, wearing a big fluffy fisherman’s sweater. I came in, my feet and knees bleeding, stumbling across the rocks, dropping my board, humiliated and exhausted. He told me to go back out and catch three more waves. I refused. He insisted. I could ride them on my knees if necessary, he said. I was furious. But I went back out and caught the waves, and in his version of the story, that was when I became a surfer. If he hadn’t made me go back out that day, I would have quit. He was sure of that.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization. Robinson Crusoe, Endless Summer. This was a track that led away from citizenship, in the ancient sense of the word, toward a scratched-out frontier where we would live as latter-day barbarians. This was not the daydream of the happy idler. It went deeper than that. Chasing waves in a dedicated way was both profoundly egocentric and selfless, dynamic and ascetic, radical in its rejection of the values of duty and conventional achievement. I
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
THE DREAM OF back-to-nature surfing solitude had a predictable by-product: rank nostalgia. A high percentage of the stories I wrote in my journals involved time travel, most often back to an earlier California. Imagine going back to the days of the Chumash Indians, or the Spanish missions, if you could just take a modern surfboard with you. Malibu had been breaking exactly like this, unridden, for centuries, eons. You would probably be worshipped as a god by the locals once they saw you surf, and they would feed you, and you could ride great waves with perfect concentration—uncontested ownership, accumulating mastery—for the rest of your days. There were a couple of photos in Surfing Guide to Southern California that illustrated, to my mind, just how narrow a margin in time we had all missed paradise by. One was of Rincon, taken in 1947 from the mountain behind the point on a sheet-glass, ten-foot day. The caption, unnecessarily, invited the reader to note “a tantalizing absence of people.” The other was of Malibu in 1950. It showed a lone surfer streaking across an eight-foot wall, with members of the public playing obliviously on the sand in the foreground. The surfer was Bob Simmons, a brilliant recluse who essentially invented the modern finned surfboard. He drowned while surfing alone in 1954.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
I was on my freshman spring break, and my family was living in Honolulu again, so Domenic and I had reconvened there. Both of us had, like everyone who grew up on surf mags, dreamed since childhood of surfing Honolua Bay. But it was odd, in a way, that we were here, waiting on waves, since we had both quit surfing years before. It happened when I turned sixteen. It wasn’t a clean break, or even a conscious decision. I just let other things get in the way: car, money to keep car running, jobs to make money to keep car running. The same thing happened with Domenic. I got a job pumping gas at a Gulf station on Ventura Boulevard, in Woodland Hills, for an irascible Iranian named Nasir. It was the first job I had that wasn’t devoted exclusively to the purpose of paying for a surfboard. Domenic also worked for Nasir. We both got old Ford Econoline vans, surf vehicles par excellence, but we rarely had time to surf. Then we both fell under the spell of Jack Kerouac and decided we needed to see America coast-to-coast. I got a job working graveyard shifts—more hours, more money—at a grubby little twenty-four-hour station on a rough corner out in the flatlands of the San Fernando Valley. It was a place where Chicano low riders would try to steal gas at 5 a.m.—Hey, let’s rip off the little gringo. I got a second job parking cars at a restaurant, taking “whites” (some kind of speed—ten pills for a dollar) to stay awake. The restaurant’s patrons were suburban mobsters, good tippers, but my boss was a Chinese guy who thought we should stand at attention between customers. He badgered and finally fired me for reading and slouching. Domenic was also stacking up money. When the school year ended, we pooled our savings, quit our gas station jobs, said good-bye (I assume) to our parents, and set off, zigzagging east, in Domenic’s van. We were sixteen, and we didn’t even take our boards.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The power of a breaking wave does not increase fractionally with height, but as the square of its height. Thus a ten-foot wave is not slightly more powerful than an eight-foot wave—because the leap is not from eight to ten but from sixty-four to a hundred, making it over 50 percent more powerful. This is a brute fact that all surfers know in their bowels, whether or not they’ve heard the formula.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
. He couldn’t keep the paddle ruddering, and the raft immediately turned sideways, sending sailors away from the wave and digging the front tube low into the water. The crashing whitewater lifted the other side and threw it over the top, capsizing them. Everyone on the lead raft saw the second raft go over. Winkleman cranked on the paddle, turning his raft sideways on the now-benign wave. He yelled, “Paddle forward!” The men were dazed, watching for bobbing heads, but snapped into action, digging their paddles in and pulling themselves from the wave that was giving them a free ride into the beach. The second raft was still upside down and was surfing in on the now-broken wave. Heads popped up behind the raft. Men who’d been thrown and were still in the impact zone of oncoming waves were thrashing their arms, struggling to stay on the surface. The next wave crashed over them, driving them deeper into the sharp reef. The capsized raft tumbled toward the first and Tarkington yelled, “Grab it!” Two men jumped onto the bottom and tried to turn it right-side up while it was surfing in. Winkleman steered, and the exhausted men paddled back toward the breakers. More heads were popping up, some bleeding from fresh wounds. They stood in the shallows and struggled forward, but the incessant breakers knocked them down and they’d come up spluttering, sporting more wounds. Some weren’t able to stand, their life-jackets floating them, and they tumbled with the broken waves, like so much driftwood. The men on the raft hauled them in and soon were too full, forcing the uninjured back into the water to help whomever they could find toward the beach. Finally, both boats, and everyone who’d been on them, sprawled on the beach. One sailor, who’d been unconscious from the initial air attack, was dead. They found him washed up on the beach, facedown and unresponsive. Everyone from the capsized raft was banged up to some degree. The cuts on their arms, legs, torsos and faces looked as though they’d been attacked by razor blades. The capsized raft had one sizable hole which had deflated one of the four compartmentalized chambers, leaving that segment flat and floppy. They found all the wooden paddles, but two were broken. The sun beat down upon them like an angry god. None of them wanted to move. Tarkington sat up after catching his breath. His tongue was thick with thirst and he was sure he wouldn’t
Chris Glatte (Tark's Ticks Gauntlet: A WWII Novel)
Then there is the human factor. As a variation on the old maxim has it, “Big waves are not measured in feet, but in increments of bullshit.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
Some say life is a roller coaster. I see it as riding a wave. You're out there on your board and everything is calm—” “Excuse me,” she broke in. “You never surfed.” “I did,” he insisted, all innocence. “Well, I tried. I was never particularly good at it, but I did get the drift. You're out there in a huge ocean, straddling that board. The water is smooth, but deceptive. You know the waves are moving, and you watch and wait, and suddenly you feel that little shift underneath. You stand up. You totter, but regain your balance, then give yourself to something far bigger than you are. You have no control . You're just along for the ride, swept downwater so fast it takes your breath. Then it's done. Smooth water again.” Molly still wasn't sure he had ever surfed, but the analogy cleared her mind. The ocean, like the earth, was soothing.
Barbara Delinsky (While My Sister Sleeps)
BUT SURFING ALWAYS HAD this horizon, this fear line, that made it different from other things, certainly from other sports I knew. You could do it with friends, but when the waves got big, or you got into trouble, there never seemed to be anyone around. Everything out there was disturbingly
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
As waves from a swell approach a shoreline, their lower ends begin to feel the sea bottom. Wave trains become sets—groups of waves that are larger and longer-interval than their more locally generated cousins. The approaching waves refract (bend) in response to the shape of the sea bottom. The visible part of the wave grows, its orbiting energy pushed higher above the surface. The resistance offered by the sea bottom increases as the water gets shallower, slowing the progress of the lowest part of the wave. The wave above the surface steepens. Finally, it becomes unstable and prepares to topple forward—to break. The rule of thumb is that it will break when the wave height reaches 80 percent of the water’s depth—
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
The newly emerging ideal was solitude, purity, perfect waves far from civilization.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
We all are swimming in the ocean of thoughts. Do not surf on every wave of it.
Rajesh Walecha
Breathing in his scent, she imagined her little beach fantasy. That house by the white sand, the pleasant lap of the waves. For the first time in her life, she wasn't alone in her fantasy. Sean was there, his strong, scarred body emerging from the surf. A wide smile just for her and the shadows gone from his eyes. Inside, she felt at peace with her own demons.
Anna Hackett (Time Thief (The Anomaly #1))
The ocean is a good metaphor for our interconnected life. With a regular meditation practice, we can learn to surf life’s waves, but chances are good that we will sometimes be overpowered by them for a while. A technique like following your breath is a great surfboard for riding these waves. But when the surf is up and you’re being submerged in wave after wave of fear, anger, and anxiety, you may need a more specialized surfboard, possibly adding counting your breath, repeating a mantra or phrase that is meaningful to you, or doing walking meditation rather than simply sitting still. Sometimes Jerry and I felt as if we were wasting our time trying to surf—we were just getting knocked over by one wave after another. Days and sometimes even weeks went by when we weren’t making any progress at all—very discouraging. Life can be like that, but with a regular meditation practice, you learn to experience each wave not as an obstacle to your real life but as your real life. Eventually you may learn to enjoy the surf directly, with no board at all, experiencing the joy of being fully immersed in the water, regardless of its turbulent energies. Each wave has its own unique nature. It also has the nature of the entire ocean, because a wave is not separate from the ocean. You learn to be patient when you’re riding the energy of the entire ocean. Jerry and I surfed on calm days and on stormy days. Surfing on stormy days isn’t easy, but the storm is never separate from the calmness down below. Even so, for every thrilling swell that lifts you upward toward the sky, there is a trough that can send you reeling into the darkest depths. Troughs are part of the ocean, too. When you’re in a deep trough, you can’t go forward and you can’t retreat. Nor can you predict what will come next, because you can’t see beyond the trough. In the troughs, you learn to trust, to have courage, and to be patient—qualities that come naturally if you’re committed to surfing the entire ocean.
Tim Burkett (Zen in the Age of Anxiety: Wisdom for Navigating Our Modern Lives)
Another quality that comes naturally as you learn to surf is renunciation. Jerry and I had to practice renunciation every day. Because we wanted to surf in the afternoons, we renounced driving our souped-up cars up and down the street in front of Palo Alto High after school where everyone could see us. Jerry renounced smoking so he could keep his lungs in good shape to handle the strong currents and mammoth waves. We even had to renounce hanging out with girls in the afternoons. It wasn’t easy to give up these things that we liked, but we had fallen in love with surfing, so we did it. Renunciation is a matter of putting aside our immediate desires just a little bit so we can stay focused on something bigger. As Jerry and I waited in the water, watching the horizon for a wave big enough to carry us all the way in to shore, we were often tempted to take whatever wave came along. Resisting that temptation was another form of renunciation. Training in renunciation involves seeing our immediate desires as they arise without indulging them. If you indulge a desire, what happens next? Another desire arises. And another and another. The faster you indulge your desires, the faster they come. You’ll never learn to surf if you are distracted by the small waves that constantly lap at your surfboard. After a while, the small steady waves of desire no longer distract you. Eventually, even the surfboard begins to dissolve because you no longer need it. Suddenly, you realize that you are right there in the surf with no gap, no separation between you and the waves, completely immersed in the ocean. Wave by wave is how we stay engaged with life. It is the only way to experience the immediacy and vigor that real life offers. Sure, it’s raw. But we don’t need to protect ourselves from the moods and nuances of life’s great ocean. We can stay right with it, in placid times and in turbulent times. Life is always offering us the energy and vitality we need—just let the salt water seep into your pores.
Tim Burkett (Zen in the Age of Anxiety: Wisdom for Navigating Our Modern Lives)
I had surfed a few spots, notably Honolua Bay, where the wave commanded such devotion that I could see renouncing all other ambition than to surf it, every time it broke, forever.
William Finnegan (Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life)
How was it possible to love someone more after being boyfriends for so long? Our love was like our superpower. Whenever anything went wrong, we lifted each other up and held on tight until the pain went away. And we were so much stronger together. Two strong waves merged into one for a more powerful wave that could prove disastrous or become the ride of your life.
Courtney W. Dixon (Double Up (Ohana Surfing Club #3))