In my neighborhood of Pedro Point, there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of surfers. They are all kind of different. Some of them have surfed Mavericks, some of them just like to rip in Rockaway, and some are just Soul Surfers. Right now we are just going to talk about Soul Surfers.
“Soul Surfer” is a term coined in the 1960s to describe a surfer who surfs for the sheer pleasure of surfing. From the 1960s to the present, people still think soul surfing is like this.
I received a book called 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Brown’s Book of Precepts written by my favorite author, R. J. Palacio. Precepts are “words to live by.” I asked my neighbors and family friends who I feel are Soul Surfers to give their surfing words to live by.
Jeff Clark was the first surfer to find and surf Maverick waves. “If you can see yourself doing the impossible, then it’s not impossible. If you can see yourself achieving your goals, then you have to see the work that you will have to put in to get there. If you commit yourself to it, you will achieve it.” I agree with Jeff because if you think you can do something, you can.
Surfing also makes you calm. If you’re feeling frustrated, you can go into the water and surf and it will calm you down. Dana Pifer, a breast cancer survivor who started surfing in 1981 says, “Surfing teaches us a form of meditation and to be patient. We don’t get to decide, Mother Nature decides.”
There are no titles in the water. Asi Ghiassi, who has been surfing since 1995, said, “Everybody is equal in the water. It doesn’t matter if you’re an emergency room doctor, artist, or a bum. In the water there are no titles.” To be a Soul Surfer, you don’t have to only surf all day. The only requirement is to love to surf.
My aunt Camille Keating started surfing in 1980 and is a true soul surfer. She lives on a boat dock and can see the ocean every day, “each time you surf, your soul is somehow nourished. And there is no better way to fall asleep at night than by having a dose of Vitamin Sea.”
I think that surfing should just be for the fun of it. It’s not about winning, it’s about going out with your friends and getting barreled. My uncle Tom Alexander has been surfing since 1965 and he lives half the time in Maui, half of the time here. He says, “surfing brings you closer to nature, and there is nothing better than surfing with a family member or friend.”