Do you remember why you started surfing? When you rode that first wave and decided that chasing that feeling is what you had to do for the rest of your life?
The journey began because it's fun. Because there's nothing else like it in the world. Because it's freedom.
"Get in and wrestle with the sea; wing your heels with the skill and power that reside in you; bit the sea's breakers, master them, and ride upon their backs as a king should," wrote Jack London upon experiencing surfing in Hawaii in 1911.
That's still probably the best literary description of the joy and exhilaration of surfing out there, and a lot of talented people have tried.
By any standard, the last week has been a rough one. As the global coronavirus pandemic continues to impact lives around the world, for the time being, we are living in a new reality unlike anything we've experienced in our lifetimes.
But like waiting for that next swell, there will be brighter days ahead. As surfers we are ardent optimists. Even if you don't think you are, it's true. You have to be an optimist to be a surfer...why else would we sit out the back in a freezing cold ocean as it gets dark waiting for "one more"?
When storm clouds darken the sky and winds shred the sea, we look at our weather models and pray for better weather. We understand what it means to wait for sunny skies and the atmospheric elements to once again converge in a moment of symphonic perfection at your preferred beach.
And that's why surfing is important right now. Because surfing is hope. Once you give up hope, you may as well give up surfing because woven into our ethos as cosmic stormriders, is the belief that there's always a bigger, better, more perfect wave on the horizon. And miraculously, there always is.
Love in the time of the coronavirus isn't going to be easy. But, thankfully, the coronavirus don't surf. Avoiding large crowds, social distancing, those are things that are woven into our quirky DNA. We've been trying to self-quarantine ourselves ever since the second guy showed up at Malibu.
Our lineups and local breaks are our refuge. When life on terra firma gets a little too hectic we go surfing. And while it might not be all bro shakes and high fives in the parking lot these days, we're going to keep surfing and we're going to keep chasing that feeling and waiting for that next wave.
In the book "Blue Mind" by Dr. Wallace Nichols make the argument that simply being "near, in, on or under water can make you happier and better at what you do."
And that's the thing about surfing. It isn't just a sport. Ask any competitor on Tour and they'll tell you that winning contests and World Titles is all well and good, but nothing truly beats that perfect day. And perhaps nobody has summarized that sentiment as eloquently as John Severson in his first pages of Surfer Magazine back in 1960.
"In this crowded world the surfer can still seek and find the perfect day, the perfect wave, and be alone with the surf and his thoughts," wrote Severson.
It's pretty incredible how apropos those words are at this very minute. Clearly, there's a lot to think about right now, just don't forget to go surfing.