Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Patiently waiting

 Something struck me the other morning as I sat

in the lineup, staring out into the rising sun, appreciating

the colors, looking for an oncoming wave to ride.

We spend an inordinate amount of our lives watching and

waiting, doing nothing but looking seaward hoping for the next 

set or wave.  We wait more than we actually ride waves. We

wait and watch for minutes, we ride waves for seconds.

Our habit, or some might call it our addiction, has us staring at

the ocean regularly.  Checking the surf, watching, taking it

all in for.  In a surfers lifetime if you totaled up the time it's

clearly days maybe even months worth of time.

We are simultaneously looking for something and simply

taking in and appreciating all we see.  

Waves, birds, wind, swell size, swell direction, fish, boats

are all within our view. We ponder, meditate, breathe, and relax.

Not a bad lesson about living our lives. Watch, enjoy, take it

all in, appreciate the beauty of what we see. Sure sometimes we

are disappointed, wishing we'd see something different, hoping for

better surf, less wind, a different swell.  The lesson is clear. Today

these conditions, this ocean, the present is what we have.

Enjoy and make the best of it. A few days ago I saw whales, dolphins

and even waves.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Community and support

 Nat Young  once said surfers are like a tribe.

Kelly Slater was quoted saying that" surfing

is like the mafia, once you are in you can never get


At this very moment a friend and surfboard shaper

from Florida, who I met in Puerto Rico, is staying at

my house . He's taking a trip up the coast staying

with folks he's met through surfing. He just

told me to give a friend of his, who lives in

El Salvador, a call to set me up when I go.

 He also owns a place in Nicarauga where I can 


 I'm part of a daily text surf and life report with 

friends, one lives in South Carolina the other, who

 is fromCalifornia, living in Delaware. Next month 

friends from Maine, Puerto Rico, Florida, New York,

Barbados, and North Carolina will visit. In October 

I'll probably go to California and stay with friends. 

I have friends in Hawaii and Australia,  A young

surfer once said "you seem to know people everywhere". 

I smiled a smile of gratitude.

One of the joys  and benefits of

being a surfer is that you become part of a

worldwide community.

Folks everywhere are happy to set you up, give you a place

to crash, introduce you to locals.  In times of need many are

there to help you out.

Having a community and good social support system is

vital to our mental well being.  Coping with stress is helped

when we have friends to talk to, people who are willing

to help.  We are all social beings...even in the lineup.

Most of us would prefer to surf with a few people then surf 

alone. Embrace the unique nature of that gift. Embrace

being part of a worldwide community.

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Blue Mind Therapy

 How often do you think or say to yourself

" I need to get in the water...I need to surf"?

As surfers we are so lucky to know the release and relief that

being in the ocean and surf can provide.

Interestingly enough there is a mounting body of

scientific evidence to help explain why that happens.

If you aren't aware of it I'd suggest you get a hold of a copy 

Wallace J. Nichols book " BLUE MIND". The surprising

science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water 

can make you happier, healthier, more connected and 

better at what you do.

I trust or hope you have volunteered to work with those

not as fortunate as we are. There are any number of 

groups who take people surfing. I've been lucky enough 

to have worked with Veterans with PTSD, TBI and who

have lost limbs. I've volunteered to help children with autism

and other disabilities. I've even helped out in a program that

takes folks with visual impairments.

Did you know there is an International Adaptive Surfing 

competition as part of the ISA, Perhaps you can find

out who in your area is involved.

We are so lucky to be surfers and to know the wonderful

mental and emotional results of surfing. Please share the stoke

if you can. Find a group near you, volunteer. It will be therapy

for the participants and for you.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Waves of change

 Been 4 years since my last post. I know I'm

not unique when I say "a lot has happened in 4 years".

I recently attended a school graduation ceremony and the student 

speaker basically said the same thing. Where do we begin

chronicling the changes? 

For me it's included the diagnosis, treatment and ultimate death

 of my wife; moving; retiring from my full time practice and 

closing my office, splitting my time between New Jersey and 

Puerto Rico, and having one of my kids, his spouse, and 3 of

 my grandchildren move 800 or so miles away.

For all of us it's been dealing with a worldwide pandemic,

 maybe getting sick with covid or watching others get sick

 or die; dealing with all the uncertainty that has been associated

 with the "new normal"; working or taking classes remotely , not

 being able to see friends, hug people.

Yep, we've been through a crazy election, unprecedented 

division amongst people, an insurrection, a threat to our 

liberties, rights and even our democracy. I'm sure many

 of you have dealt with more.

How have you ridden these waves of change?  Has it felt like facing one 

set after another making it difficult to get to the lineup? Have you quit or

given up or did you breathe and relax? Were you able to adapt

 to the conditions add to your quiver or

did you insist on riding the same board in everything?  Did you get hostile

and angry at the new crowds in the lineups, the kooks,  and other

soft tops or did you accept it as part of the new normal?

I hope you've been able to ride these waves with success adapting to the

conditions, altering the way you've looked at boards and people. For me

surfing and the wonderful friends I have because of surfing has, and will

continue to allow me to ride the waves of change. Waves don't stop. As

surfers we know and understand that. They won't always be perfect but we

will keep checking them and going out whenever we can.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The ocean's not always calm

Sounds rather obvious, but, all surfers know that
the ocean is not always calm.  There are days
when there is no wind at all, when there is quiet
calm and the surface of the ocean is like a mirror.
There are other days when the wind blows gently
offshore caressing the waves, and then there are
those days when the wind howls side shore or
onshore and everything gets confused.

The ocean changes and sometimes those changes can
occur in an instant. We've all been in the water enjoying
a session when all of a sudden the wind switches or the
swell begins to come up.

What do we do when we encounter changes due to
wind, swell, tide?  Some get angry.  The pleasant or
epic session they were having gets ruined. Others realize
that the ocean changes.  It's all part of surfing...we know
we can't control the wind, the swell, the tide.

Life and the events of our lives are like the ocean, forever
changing. Some changes seem wonderful others terrible.
Some days the ocean is playful and joyous, other days it
is angry, frightening and mean. At times the ocean is
spectacular and awe inspiring. Such is life.  How do you
cope with the changes?

Surfing teaches up to stay as calm as we can...to breathe...
to keep paddling...to understand our feelings and limits.
It's not always easy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

it's really kind of odd

I've been surfing for over 50 years.
The other morning as I walked my dog
on the beach and was watching and checking
the surf, a stange thought struck me. Surfers
are really an odd group.  As I watched the
tiny swell coming out of the south being
groomed by the wind it struck me…
We fashion and live our lives around wind
born energy moving through the ocean so
we can use planks to ride the wave.

We has strong feelings about slabs of
wood, foam, or some other manmade
material.  We have intimate feelings for
various shapes and designs…is it long or
short?...  round or pointed?…thick or
thin?... what shape do it's edges have?
it's bottom, what curves and contours does
it use?  All designed to ride a wind born

We have tried to organize our lives in a
manner that provides us with as many
opportunities to ride these energy waves as
we can.Many of our friendships have been
formed with others who share this odd passion,
almost all-consuming pursuit. Many of
our relationships influenced by it.

We have traveled worldwide in efforts to
simply ride the wave energy in that particular
place.  We've dubbed many of these places
as holy places…we've committed to memory
what shape the energy moving through the
ocean takes.

Come on..when you think of surfing in
that manner, it is  really kind of odd.  Wind
born energy moving through the ocean has
been a major influence in my life.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Happiness is an inside job

What makes you happy? Do you need the surf to
head high? overhead? Must the wind be offshore
and the water warm? Would you need to surf alone
or with a select few? Think about it for a bit…
happiness is something we all seek.

I'm sure you know a surfer who seems to be
perpetually stoked…who enjoys being in the
water no matter what the conditions, no matter
what board they are riding.  They seem "high on
life" as they say. Grateful just to be alive, healthy,
able to enjoy the ocean and the friendships surfing
has provided.

We all know the other kind of surfer…the one
who's rarely happy. The conditions are never
what they want, the line-up always too crowded.
They are quick to criticize and make judgements
rarely grateful and always looking for something
or someone to blame for their unhappiness.

Don't look outside yourself at others, things,
or situations to make you happy.  Don't get stuck
in a blaming mode. It's not the size of the surf, the
board, the crowd, or the conditions that are
responsible for your happiness it's all in how you
choose look at things…how you look at others…at life.

Happiness in surfing and in life is an inside job.