Surfing: It's a Lifestyle

What is it about surfing that makes it seem “soulful”?  Generally defined, “soul” is “the part of a person that is not physical, and experiences deep feelings and emotions.”  For whatever reason, surfing is more than just another sport or activity; it somehow becomes a way of life. It seeps into one’s DNA.

Just yesterday, a college student interviewed me for a class project on why I started Last Wave.  She began by asking me when I got into surfing and what initially drew me to it.  The first part was easy; it was the summer of 1966 and I had just turned 13.  The second part of the question was a bit more difficult; I ended up answering her question with a question of my own.  I just said, “have you ever heard of ‘surf music’?”

“Of course,” she replied.

I followed by asking, “have you ever heard of ‘baseball music’ or ‘volleyball music’?”

She looked at me like I was from another planet.  All she could say was, “Uh, no.  Am I missing something here?”

Growing up, I also played a lot of baseball, but being a surfer meant much more to me than being a baseball player.  I wanted people to know I was a surfer; identifying as a baseball player didn’t really matter.  Something in my soul drew me to surfing, which no doubt affected my decision to start Last Wave.  While almost impossible to put into words, the feelings remain.

Now, 57 years after catching my first wave, the surfing way of life remains etched in my DNA. Even though I am no longer in the lineup as I once was, my connection to the ocean is as strong as ever.  The aging process and old injuries have taken their toll on my ability to pop to my feet, and I admit that the vibe in the water is not as I remember it during those carefree days of the ‘60s.  So, rather than forego my connection to the ocean, I adapted.  About 15 years ago, I was introduced to outrigger canoe paddling; at the time, it was the perfect complement to surfing. I liked how physically challenging it was, and like surfing, seemed to exude the aloha spirit.  Today, it still feels like a “soulful” activity and fits my lifestyle.  While I no longer compete in 6-man outrigger races, I still paddle regularly.  Compared to sitting in the lineup, the ocean looks and feels much different from two miles offshore in a narrow, 25-foot outrigger canoe; she seems so vast and raw.  Sometimes she is quiet and calm, while at other times she’s loud and angry.  Each paddle session is different, but is always good for my soul…

It is in this spirit that Last Wave introduces our new Soul Series.  To begin, we have chosen a couple of activities that convey the surf lifestyle.  While “soul” means something different to each one of us, we hope these new designs resonate in some way with our shared respect for the ocean and love of the surfing way of life.  Check ‘em out