Let’s not take ourselves too seriously. We’re all just playing in the Ocean. No matter if you ride foam, wood, or your body — have as much fun as possible. Unless you’re chasing a World Title or requalification points, your Ocean session ultimately has very little value outside of your fun. But that does not discredit the importance of that fun. Many of us know that there are few things on Earth more fulfilling and meaningful than an epic day in the Ocean.
Bodysurfing does not have a World Tour or points. But we do have the Ocean and friends and waves and offshore mornings and barrels and sunrises with omelets and sunsets with beer afterwards. “The best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun” — cliche, yes, but there is much truth there. As bodysurfers, we should quantify our talents with joy and hoots and exasperating fun. Sure there are a few contests that crown winners and champions, but these events are less about cutthroat competition and more about enjoying the camaraderie and celebrating the Ocean.
It is simple and pure recreation. Guru Mark Cunningham says in the seminal surf movie Sprout: “It’s just bodysurfing. It’s just swimming. It’s not rocket science. It’s a beautiful, elegant diversion.”
There is no pressure to perform or get the shot or succeed. Very few, very lucky people make an actual living playing in the Ocean. Yet, there is great fortune in having the Ocean as our daily playground.
I grew up in Ohio. My annual family vacation to the Jersey Shore was circled on the map and looked forward to for 51 weeks at a time. I would wake up at dawn and annoy my family all morning to go to the beach. I would spend entire days simply splashing and “bodysurfing” in the waves. When I finally rented a surfboard in high school, and kind of rode my first wave, I knew instantly that I wanted to live forever near the Ocean. There are millions of landlocked people that love playing in the Ocean. We should not take our coastal geography for granted. Utilize it, take advantage of it. Appreciate the opportunities that we have to play in the Ocean.
This article originally appeared on Swell Lines: The Bodysurfing Magazine. See more of their work by visiting their website, SwellLinesMag.com.