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10 Surfers Describe What it Feels Like to Ride a Wave

For the purposes of this post I decided to ask many of the surfers I know to give me their description of what it feels like to ride a wave. It might give you some interesting insights into why it’s so addictive and the spiritual side of a sport that people have many misconceptions about:

Riding a wave is like the “Perfect Storm”. A simultaneous occurrence of events that provide an opportunity to become “One with Nature” while experiencing the magical feeling of “flying” we imagined as kids along with the sense of achievement that we crave as adults. Total fulfillment on all levels; hence the addiction.
-Kathy Pommet

Hope: as in, hoping you paddle your ass hard enough to even catch the wave.
Shock: from the slow realization that you’re actually catching the wave.

Disbelief: Holy shit I’m standing up on it now!

Greed: Hell yaaaaa I’m up now, everyone outta my f*cking way.

Temporary insanity/craze: as you start turning and just gliding on the wave and having fun with it.

Ecstacy: like floating on air, you’re one with the wave. Hope again/desperation: as you’re trying to prolong this awesomeness, you just don’t want it to end.

Euphoria: OMG that was FRIGGEN’ AWESOME!!! Disbelief: Wow, did that really just happen?? Did I just do that?!? Let’s do it again…”

-Joanna G.

When you are waiting for a wave your mind can think a thousand different things. when you paddle for a wave your mind thinks of only a few things. when you catch a wave your mind thinks of only one thing, that one thing is joy. This is why I surf.

There’s no greater feeling than surfing and that feeling of being part of the ocean, really riding on top of the world. Surfing’s freedom, adventure and creativity rolled into one. It’s easy to see why surfers love surfing so much and I also love teaching newbies to surf so they can experience that joy. There’s only one place you can get that feeling and it’s in the surf.

-Annabel Candy, Get In the Hot Spot

It feels like the moment you’re in is where you’re supposed to be; ‘only a surfer knows the feeling

-Dave Aabo, Waves for Development

Surfing for me is “thrillingly surreal”. There is weightlessness that exists as you are moving quickly but at are standing right on top of the water. The power of the wave pushing your board combined with movement across, up and down the face as you gain speed is the thrilling aspect. Yet you are right in the middle of nature – feeling the air, hearing the break of the wave as water sprays around you and perhaps the sound of a seagull. That’s the surreal part, something you don’t normally experience in a lot of other outdoor sports.

-Marc Winitz,

The feeling of riding a wave changes all the time.

Before you surf, you don’t get it. You seek this mystical, mythical enlightenment which doesn’t exist because it ain’t a movie. It’s an experience. Live it, don’t try to create it. You cannot be any more in the present than when you surf, because any loss of focus and you’re off the board!

Once you surf, it’s about the next wave you’re going to catch, because you always want more, like a drug. It can be a great one you brag about, a frustrating one you missed or bailed out on, an amazing one no one saw but you tell everyone and we believe you.

It’s like sex: you can do it over and over, and it’s always new, you always look forward to the next set, even if the previous was great. You never go home saying you’ve had enough, mentally. You may be tired, sore, busy or tied up with work, but you always, always look forward to it. Maybe not when it’s cold or when you snapped your board, but still. It doesn’t stop you the way a motorcycle crash can deter you from riding.

When you ride, you want to suspend time. You paddle hard and charge in and rip it up or chill out.

Surfing sometimes drains me of all negative energy. I start fresh, smile, and sometimes am tired because the negative crap had to exit my body, but I get to fill it in with good stuff. How can I not? I just surfed and someone else didn’t!

Philippe Til
Action Fitness, Inc.
“The cure for the common gym”

Riding a WAVE:  Is like a bird riding on the wind.  You can feel nature’s energy in the waves as you catch it.  You cut through the water and glide effortlessly.Sometimes it bends around you so you can ride inside.  It’s almost a spiritual feeling of being closer to what made us.  Then, just as quick as it came, it dies on the shore.  You’re hooked, and can’t wait to go catch another!

Drew Brophy

It feels kind of like an orgasm. You spend alot of time trying to get it. It doesn’t last very long, but it feels really good when it does.

-Dave Doolin, Web Site in A  Weekend

Eckharte Tolle wrote that “if the primary focus of of your life is the now, then you will be free from pain and suffering.” When you’re on a wave, time ceases exist, and you’re in a such an intense combined state of euphoria, peace, presence and excitement that it’s something you have to return over and over again. Once you realize that, to live any other way would seem completely insane.

-Srinivas Rao, The Skool of Life

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