Former SURFER Editor/Author

Editor’s Note: The following is the third in a three-part series by Ben Marcus exploring the idea of surfing as a religion. This last installment takes a comedic approach; feel free to add your own surf gods. A version of this piece also appeared in Brazil’s Alma Surf.

Red Dirt. Photo: Clark Little

This is the beautiful barrel God. Photo: Clark Littl

Some philosophers will argue that all religion is just the intellectualization of man’s relationship with nature and that as man became more intelligent and sophisticated, he transformed nature into symbols or Gods and framed a set of rules and behaviors to appease or manipulate the Gods.

So if that is true, then a surfer’s close relationship with nature goes back to man’s original relationship with nature.

Some religions are monotheistic and have only God, while others worship multiple Gods.


Surfing you could argue is polytheistic as we have a variety of Gods we pray to.

For example:

1. The Parking Gods. As in “Oh God, please let me get a spot on PCH so I don’t have to pay $6 to park in the lot.”

2. The Caught Inside Gods. As in “Oh God, please don’t let there be a fourth wave in this set. I just got hit by the first three and I don’t want to drown.”

3. The Crowd Gods. As in, “Oh God, Pipe is so crowded. I don’t want to go surf Monster Mush. Please make them all go in.”

4. The Last Wave In God. As in, “Oh God, I’m the last one in the water, the sun is going down, I’m hearing the Theme from Jaws. Send me a wave so I can ride in fast, and not paddle in slow!”

5. The Two Piece Bikini God, as in “Oh God, did my top just fall off and roll down a clam hole? There are 10,000 people on the beach!”



Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.


Weekly. Free.
Just like a set wave.

Everything that matters in surf + outdoors
directly to you inbox.

We take your privacy very seriously.
Unsubscribe at any time.
Subject to Terms and Conditions.

No thanks