Wednesday, January 27, 2010

"Legions of the unjazzed"

Phil Edwards was, during the late 1960's, considered the
best surfer in the world. He rode waves with a style and
grace that influenced generations to follow. He also authored
the rare and much coveted book "You Should Have Been Here
An Hour Ago". If you do a little research you might even find
the 1967 Sports Illustrated with Edwards on the cover.

Occasionally we all come across a sentence, a phrase, or even
a song lyric that seems to imprint in our brains and sticks
with us popping up at seemingly unlikely times. For me "The
legions of the unjazzed" is one of those sentences. Edwards
used it to describe " the day-to-day people, the hackers..." who
are taking over... The uncounted millions...who go through life
without any sort of real, vibrant kick". The people I encounter
in my office who draw a blank stare when I ask them what
they are passionate about, what really excites them. No surprise
that these legions often suffer from depression, have lost touch
with the joy of life.

I'm writing this at my house here in Rincon Puerto Rico. I've been
coming to Rincon for decades. It is a place that is, not only
beautiful and has good surf, but is populated by people that
seem to know what excites them, that know what they are passionate
about. Not too many depressed people here.

Find and embrace your passion. If you can't remember what excites
you, by all means, find it!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Out of touch with nature

As surfers we are the lucky ones. We seem most at home
in nature, in the ocean. We are dialed in to the rhythms of
the natural world - wind, tide, swell, sand. reefs, low pressure systems,
the ocean, and the life that calls the ocean home. It's easy to
forget that others are actually out of touch with nature. Out
of touch with all that is around them.

These past few weeks the Atlantic, here in NJ, has been asleep.
No waves, no real swell to speak of, but to those who take the
time to look there is plenty going on in our natural world.
We've had more seals showing up on the beaches than in
recent memory. Amazing how some people are freaked
out by the idea. Seals on the could that be they ask?

The nor'easters of the fall and early winter have done some
interesting things to our dunes and sandbars. Yesterday I
walked the beach in Seaside Heights, you know the home of
that bizarre MTV show "Jersey Shore". I Actually walked past
the place they lived but not on the boardwalk. I was on the beach
with another surfer checking out the carved out beach, the new
sandbar layout. We were watching as 8 inch waves peeled down
the newly formed sand points. We speculated about what will
happen when we get a swell, how those bars will perform.
Meanwhile behind us, up on the boardwalk people were taking
pictures of the closed t shirt shop and the painted door of the
MTV house. Not exactly nature, not exactly real but I guess
that's their world.

Research tells us that people who spend time in nature are
healthier and less stressed. No real surprise to surfers. Take
the time to connect with the natural world around you. Walk
on the beach, take a hike in the woods, visit a nature preserve.
You'll feel better for it. You will find yourself more connected
yet more at peace. The seals on the beach won't surprise you so
much and you'll be less interested in the fantasy of "reality tv".

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Great days

I'm sure you all have had a really great day in the surf.
A day when everything seemed to come together, where
it's as good as it gets. Doesn't have to be a giant day or
even a perfect day, it's just for you a really great day. It
makes no difference if you have just begun surfing, if
you are Kelly Slater, or some seasoned "old guy", great
days happen to us all.

I had a great day yesterday. Simon my grandson called
me grandpa for the first time! At 22 month he's developed
quite a vocabulary in both Spanish and English. Seems
that every day for the past months he's been letting us know
he's mastered new words, new phrases. What a joy to hear
him say something he's never said before, to watch as he
realizes that others understand him, that he's actually
communicating. The "grandpa thing" was different I think.
I'll bet he's been able to say it for a while now but he's been
playing with me and holding out. He just wasn't ready.
Prior to yesterday when-ever someone asked him who I
was, what my name was he just smiled a coy smile, a knowing
smile. But for whatever reason yesterday was the day.
He decided to say it. My day was made, my joy incredible.
Such a little thing meant so much.

What little things mean a lot to you? Do you seek them
out, nurture them? Whether it's having a great session,
making a personal change, connecting with a friend, or simply
living with the aloha spirit, great days can come from
little things. Make it a great day in and out of the surf.