I use the term “hunting” in the most general sense. Whether it’s deer, fish, birds, or mollusks, harvesting the meat of wild animals, to me, is hunting. I’ve hunted with rifles, shotguns, fishing poles, spear guns, and even bows and arrows. I started hunting long before I started surfing. I was raised to do it, and I feel that the primal need to hunt is still as robust as it was when I first began. When I started surfing, I felt a strangely similar connection that also remains in me, and it probably will for a very long time.
It’s tough to imagine a life without surfing and hunting. They occupy my mind constantly. To the average person, these activities may be hard to draw similarities, but I guarantee that an individual who enjoys both will see the parallels. They compliment each other in a very intense way, and I’ve tried my best to illustrate their profound relationship. “While you’re surfing, you think about nothing,” I tell my friends. “But while you’re hunting, you think about everything.”
In their most basic forms,SA surfing and hunting offer an intense spiritual connection to the individual and his or her surroundings. Of course, some will argue that taking a life is the exact opposite of spiritual, but I hope those who agree are willing to explain how to better obtain real meat in a humane way. That argument is better fit for a much larger discussion, so that is all I will say about that.
When wandering the woods, bow in hand, dressed to fit into your own surroundings, attempting to find, stalk, and kill an animal with senses a hundred times as keen as yours, you will develop a substantial connection with your untamed surroundings. If you hunt as far away from civilization as I often do, then you are likely to start feeling a little wild. When I surf, I tend to get similar feelings—that I’m in a wild, unfiltered, and untamed place. And although there are others around me, in the end, it’s only the wave and me playing off each other’s movements. Both hunting and surfing bring out the most primal and pure actions and emotions that lie deep within each and every person’s DNA. It’s innate. It’s natural. It’s something that has been there before man even started walking upright. Captivating those feelings is like traveling back in time.
There are several qualities I’ve recognized that are shared by hunters and surfers. The most important of these include: patience, respect for nature, and a value of solitude. It’s funny how two of the most significant American icons are the American surfer and the American frontiersman—both are men of the wilderness, men of risk, and men of adventure. In today’s day and age, there’s a defined line between nature and humanity. That line, however, seems to fade in the presence of these types of men and women.
Even the people who think hunting is unethical and that surfing is for hippies may still agree with every connection I’ve made. Even though these things may be completely alien to most, I’ve learned people often find a common ground when put in the right perspective. I’m not saying everyone who enjoys surfing should go out and kill and eat something, but it may be something you will come to love as much as you love surfing.