Last week, professional surfer Tom Dosland fell 40-feet down the front of a wave at Jaws, Maui’s legendary surfing break. See the intensity of it all in the video above.
I often wax poetically about the romance of surfing, of waiting in relative solitude among the waves for a good swell. It’s waiting patiently for the next positive rush instead of–in this case–waiting anxiously for the next explosion. It’s a calming effect, like meditation or breathing exercises. Like flying, surfing changed my life, even though I don’t get much chance to practice it anymore. The experience is transcendental, and I’m sure these combat-fatigued vets will find some inner peace on the blue.
There’s no quick fix for post-traumatic stress disorder, but research has shown that surfing’s physicality and flow can give victims some relief and a way forward. The author hit the water with his close friend Brian, a former Navy SEAL whose service in Afghanistan beat up his body, tortured his mind, and pushed him into a zone where violence—against himself or others—seemed inevitable.
Sterilising the waves: taking the majesty of nature and turning it into a Disneyland attraction. This is a terrible idea and further indication of what is wrong about the Olympic Games.
Surfing needs the ocean. Without it, it’s just riding waves.
Once upon a time, this was my favourite song and I memorised it as best a preschooler could. At that young age, even though I didn’t get all the words right, I knew that the Boys were name-dropping various surf spots on the southern California coast. Names like “Redondo Beach” and “San Onofre” were exotic, faraway places that might as well have been Kathmandu or Casablanca to an awkward redheaded child living in what was still mostly rural Georgia.
A quarter-century later, I listen to these tunes when they come on and I smile as I’m reminded of those carefree times in my early youth, but even more because those exotic, faraway surf spots are now just down the street.Also on:
Up until World War II, surfing had not traveled far beyond its ancient birthplace, Hawaii, and, in particular, Waikiki. Small enclaves could be found along the California coast and in Australia, in large part due to the efforts of Duke Kahanamoku, the Olympic swimming champ whose exhibitions spread surfing like an aquatic Johnny Appleseed (Applesurf?).
Benjamin Thompson is a surfer. You would know it even if I hadn’t told you, and even if you hadn’t seen the photo of Thompson where he’s barefoot on the sidewalk, holding a surfboard.
Here’s a highlight reel I put together for the 2011 USOS here in Huntington Beach. Kelly Slater took the men’s championship for the 10th time in his career.