Riding the Wave of Spirituality: Part II

Surfing-to-spiritual

In the last installment, we talked about the HuffPost piece about surfing as a religion.  Check out the full piece here.  While many pro athletes count God and religion among the reasons for the success, few consider the craft itself their religion.  This idea is much more prevalent in the world of surfing and today we’ll get into why.

Closeness to the Sea

Scientists agree that the first life on the planet Earth, and perhaps the universe originated in the depths of the sea. Whether you believe a perfect combination of chemicals and heat gave rise to single celled organisms or that the first creatures had life breathed into them by a divine creator, it’s hard to argue that Earth’s first living things came from the sea.  Surfers, who spend much of their time alone with the ocean, report feeling a connection to their primordial ancestors.  What better way to feel a closeness to your origins than to immerse yourself in the cauldron that gave birth a chain of life that eventually led to your existence.

Emerging from the Womb

Besides being close to the origins of life, surfers also describe the physical feeling of being wrapped in the curl of a wave as akin to returning to the womb. The metaphor extends to the emergence from the wave which acts as the “rebirth.”

Compatibility with Religion

Not all surfers consider surfing their actual religion but rather an extension of a more traditional faith.  The Huffington Post mentions a man aptly named Father Christian Mondor who is considered something of a folk hero in the California community.  Mondor never mounted a surfboard until he was in his seventies and continues to ride the legendary California waves well into his 80s.  A devout Catholic, Mondor doesn’t consider surfing a religion, but he does consider it a conduit to the divine creator to whom he has dedicated his life.

Not only is water a symbol of God and rebirth (think John the Baptist), but the sheer scope of the mighty Pacific ocean reminds Mondor of the power of God and the majesty of his creation.

These are just a few reasons that surfing is more than a sport for many.  Are there any surfers out there?  Do you surf for thrills, spirituality, or both?

Definitely check out the full Huffington Post piece for a more in depth look at surfing as a way to touch another power.