Surfing – A Healthy Stoke
‘A Healthy Stoke’
A nice cool offshore breeze, clear skies, 80 degree water and consistent waves? Does life get any better than this? For surfers it is our favorite time of year again in beautiful Baja Sur! Spring time in Los Cabos is beyond fun!
Weather you are just in the learning stages or you have been surfing for most of your life, it only takes 1 wave to completely shift your whole state of being. You could feel like the whole world is against you, like everything is going to come falling in and all you have to do is go for a swim in the ocean and guaranteed you will feel different. As surfers we find peace in a force that is constantly changing. The Ocean may surprise you, or frighten you and will definitely challenge you, but the ocean is always there for you. The ocean could be our greatest teacher, not just a teacher but a friend that offers comfort, beauty, fun, food, strength and often times a humbling lesson of respect for life – the power of nature!
Surfing is an art of self expression that slowly polishes our edges and softens our gaze. “ Water is the most yielding of elements and the mightiest of eroding forces” Lao Tzu. After a really good day if your priorities are in the waves it is hard to pick your jaw up to create a shape for the smile that can last for days.
Life is a joy of being for a surfer living in Los Cabos, Mexico. The beach community comes buzzing out of their nests to meet, mingle and share a gift that used to be shared only by few but places like Baja make it easy for anyone to find pleasure in getting wet and catching a few waves. Tourists come with a dream to surf and when they find a confident, gentle coach like Miguel ‘Winson’ and the guides at Cabo Surf Hotel, together with slow gentle waves, it is not long before they extend their flight, quit their job in the city and a 1 week trip turns into 10 – 20 years! Yes there is a lot more people in the water than there was 20 years ago at most any surf destination but there is still plenty of waves rolling in and there is always another one right behind this one.
Beyond the simple stoke that we share in these small playful waves on this desert peninsula there something deeper that happens for a surfer in their own personal way and in their own time. The simplest actions in our lives can be the most profound and healing. Surfers are a unique breed. The ability to watch how waves break differently at higher and lower tides and the patience to sit and wait for the right moment to charge may help teach us to understand how different events shape our lives, even the ones at lower tide when things aren’t flowing exactly how we planned. Surfing teaches us how to be in the present moment, how to enjoy things just as they are. Sure not every day is perfect but as long as we get wet and we get a few rides we are laughing, isn’t this the way life ought to be? Surfing will challenge you to give everything you have to experience what you see is possible. The rewards are usually very short lived, you can spend hours in the water and maybe only clock a few minutes actually surfing waves. But there is a timeless rhythm to the Ocean that connects us with something much Greater than we can understand or explain, Oneness with All life. Gliding along the surface of a wave like the pelicans fly (the Mexican air force), playing with your friends like the dolphins teach us, half immersed and supported in the Mother, the water and half bronzed with the golden light of the rising GrandFather sun..180 degrees of Sky…………Intense shades of blue and clouds like cotton balls if we are lucky to get some shade. Aquamarine tropical waters, colorful fish and sea urchins. In between sets, each breath is slow, relaxed and deep. Waves break and return back to the source. Each wave a unique expression of the whole entire ocean, each of us with our own style doing the same thing in different ways. Surfing.
As much as we enjoy these things together in the water, and as much as we are faced to deal with human nature and bump into the human ego at times, surfing is personal. It can make you strong and gentle, patient and wise, respectful and giving and it can put you right in your place of self doubt and check you on your present physical fitness, what shape you are really in. No one else is going to paddle out there for you and therefore the surf can bring out the best in you but you may also have days where you have never been more disgusted in your self ever because of how much you just cant get it together. You will have many days when you have never been so high! Getting through the toughest of times we develop awareness of self and of the world in which we live. An authentic appreciation for what we have and the people we share it with.
Some say surfers are the most incredible athletes on the planet. It definitely improves our cardiovascular fitness bringing more oxygen and life force energy through our bodies and strengthens the whole back, shoulders and core. Our relation to surfing and health is a personal matter. It can be something you try once and a while, or it becomes your healthiest addiction ever! I have to give thanks to mentors such as Gerry Lopez for showing us how to bring the experience we have in the water and practice it on land as we live in the world. Surfing like breathing is the ultimate spontaneous engagement with a natural medium. Breathing and Yoga as a practice or discipline can become as enjoyable and nurturing as surfing or even more.
Some can’t get enough of either so we practice yoga on our Stand Up Paddleboards!
In general surfing is a lifestyle that we love and enjoy that keeps us fit, peaceful, satisfied(for the most part) and thankful for life’s gifts. It reminds us that we can always improve and yet we are always right where we are at.
The I Ching cautions us to wait patiently for the appropriate time for speech or action. Power can make us eager and eagerness unbalances and can lead us into trouble.
Keep paddling, listening and enjoy each ride. The best is yet to come!
Local Breath Trainer, Surfer and Massage Therapist