Surfing: A Language Of The Soul

A Language of The Soul

A Language of The Soul

“Surfing is a language coming from the soul of an individual, spoken through the subtle movements of the body, and written upon the page of moving watery walls with the surfboard as the pen.” -Surfing Sadhana

Self expression through the avenue of the arts, in its variety of mediums, is one of the most beautiful of human practices. Not only do we appreciate the expressions of others, we all have the ability to express, to create, as it is inherent in our very nature. We each have our own path, or possibly a few, in which we can bring forth what our soul yearns to reveal. We all have the capacity to fructify that which resides deep inside us.

Personally, I have a few routes to expression: skateboarding, music, writing, and surfing, to name the most prominent in my life. In these four pursuits, I have found surfing to be the most pure, satisfying, and profound. The combination of the interface with nature through the immersion in the ocean, the solo dance along the temporal manifestation of what we call a wave, and the intuitive connection that takes place during the entire surfing practice; for me this is the highest individual expressive pursuit that I have come to know.

In this moment, I’m writing, I’m exercising a mode of human expression. Through the medium of the written word I’m bringing forth something, a thought, a feeling, yet there is never a combination of words that can fully describe that which I feel when riding a wave. Yet I hope to spark that remembrance or acknowledgment of what we all as surfers already have knowledge of, what a powerful expressive movement we have been gifted with.

The art is in the approach, the intent, and the natural way in which we as unique individuals approach the riding of a wave. The subtleties in movement or lack there of, these are all like brushstrokes, shading, or the open space between musical notes which give the actual notes meaning. The space that we give ourselves between each turn, allowing ourselves to feel the freedom of the glide, the unforced projection across the waves face. The way we stand, the positioning of our feet, the way in which we bend our knees, how our hands situate, the intensity or looseness of our body, everything is expression. Turns, cutbacks, trimming, airs, or simply kicking out the back, words on a page, paint on a canvas. Somethings may be an utterance and some may be a declaration, it depends on the mood, the situation. In either case, our body, in connection to our board, and the wave, is speaking a silent language from within.

Surfing, the language of the soul.

Photos: Christor Lukasiewicz

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Growing up in New Jersey, Shawn discovered and quickly immersed himself in the sub-culture of surfing and skateboarding in the mid 80’s. With a diverse and eclectic background, Shawn has walked the path of a competitive surfer, Hare Krsna monk, action sports industry player in NYC, DIY theology and religions major, and a touring punk rock musician. Now a father and self-proclaimed seeker of the “soul” of surfing, Shawn enjoys sessions with friends at uncrowded peaks along his home state’s shoreline and writing about his surf related experiences.

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