Updated: Jul 6, 2019
Surfing: the act of riding a wave on a board. It’s relatively simple as a concept. You go to a beach with your surfboard, paddle out to where waves break, catch some waves --- job done. However, if you consider and examine the many facets of surfing; you descend upon a rabbit hole of varying insights, ideas, and opinions.
Most outsiders tend to dismiss surfing as a symbol of counterculturalism and a vehicle for escapism. Looking at the other side, surfers regard surfing as a religion. Kelly Slater, the most iconic figure in surfing today, described it as being “like the mafia.... once you're in - you're in. There's no getting out."
While a concise delineation of surfing is practically impossible, one thing is for certain --- there is a certain feeling you get when riding a wave that’s difficult to put into words.
There is a sect of ascetic monks called “Yamabushi” in Yamagata, Japan, that walk the region’s mountains in search of enlightenment. When broken into their Japanese characters, Yama means “mountain,” while Bushi means “bow down.” Simply put, when one enters the mountain, one must live and act according to the mountain’s rules.
This philosophy emphasizes one of humanity’s inescapable truths: we are merely animals ourselves. In the abstract and physical sense, no matter how proficient we become in adapting and shaping the world, we are still just fragile beings subject to forces beyond our control.
In this regard, humanity shares an endless number of traits and behaviors with other sentient beings. One of these is the capacity for “play.” Defined as “purposeless activities”, anybody who has ever owned a dog or cat can attest to this. Out in the wild, other species have also been observed engaging in play. Ravens in Alaska and Canada repeatedly slide down snow-covered roofs, while coastal birds play “drop and catch” in order to practice essential survival skills such as breaking open clams and stealing another bird’s catch.
Naturally, there are a myriad other factors involved, but surrendering to nature while humbly experiencing the joy of existing as a living, breathing, feeling organism are the pillars of surfing. Through the simple act of riding a wave, we arrive at a solemnly sincere form of self-expression.
For in this life, one of the most difficult things to do is to be truly be honest with oneself.
Surfing is just a means to illuminate this honesty; a defining trait that permeates throughout the surfing community from top to bottom. Surfboard shapers pour their hearts and souls into their creations; professional surfers dedicate their lives to mastering techniques and maneuvers; even the casual surfer merely seeking a brief respite from the difficulties of everyday life.
In our opinion, as far as surfing goes --- it’s a reminder that any single one of us can live a complete and accomplished life by doing the things we love and care about.
With this message, Open House welcomes you to Surftown San Juan, La Union: a place for surfers and non-surfers alike, who wish to be who they truly are.
Photos by: Mikki Eduardo @mikkieduardo