I don’t think surfing is spiritual. It’s really, really fun, and being in the ocean is really, really fun. Maybe there’s even some kind of connection based on the fact that we’re made up of water, but if there is, it’s couched in science, not spirituality. That’s not to say that I don’t see where someone who thinks that surfing is a spiritual endeavor is coming from, it’s just to say that for me, it’s not. I don’t look at waves and see some kind of mysterious gift that speaks to my soul, I look at waves and see wind over water and storms thousands of miles away that make things that are going to be really fun to slide around on top of. I suppose, in fact, that both are equally as incredible.
There’s an argument out there that science has already proved the existence of God. It’s a large, complicated argument, far too big for a silly little surfing website to delve too far into, but the gist of it is this: as science proves more and more about the way humans came to be, it’s also proving that the chances of it happening purely by coincidence are almost infinitesimally small. So, while science is going about the business of disproving intelligent design, they’re sort of accidentally proving it, in a way. It’s an interesting thought, and one that’s very frustrating, because “proof” in this case will never actually be a tangible thing–unless, of course, Jesus shows up again and we can all shake his hand while he looks around, stunned, and says “what the FUCK did you do to this place?! You’re ruining the whole thing!”
Anyway, Alan Stokes likes to surf. He likes it because for him, it’s somewhat of a spiritual endeavor, as he says in the video above. And although I realize that spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean religion, they’re tied pretty closely. And what is religion, anyway? George Bernard Shaw said that “there is only one religion, though there are hundreds of versions of it.”
There’s used to be a website out there called Common Sense Atheism. The guy who ran it made a list of what defines a religion:
1. interaction with the supernatural
2. a diagnosis of something essentially wrong with the human condition, and a prescription for salvation or liberation from it
3. regular, repeated behavior (ritual)
4. community practice
Apart from the first point, surfing, it could be said, is a religion… it just depends on your definition. But shit, what do I know? I just like sliding around on waves. Thinking about why I like it isn’t going to make it any more enjoyable.