Learning to Surf

Some of my favorite memories have to deal with being close to the ocean. As a child I dreamed about the family road trips to Florida or North Carolina beaches with the family. Hitting the beach, running towards the ocean to cool our feet off from the hot sand. Digging huge holes and building moats for the sand castles. Staring up at the night sky and envisioning what it would be like to be up there with God looking down at his creation. Man the memories can just keep going and going. But the ocean is what brings up the next topic I would like to talk about.

It’s about learning how to do something. You see one of my favorite things about the ocean is how a person can surf the waves as if it was man’s way of walking on water like Jesus did. It’s sight is astounding and breathtaking. When I see a person out on the waves surfing a three foot wave or seeing them crush a 20ft wave on tv it still has the same effect for me. Its the feeling of, dang, the person out there is awesome and I bet it feels so good to be out there surfing like they are. You know, if I lived closer to the ocean I probably would be a weekend warrior surfer. But I’m not and that’s totally cool. I enjoy my mountain biking, road running and motorcycle loving self. But the application of learning how to surf is where I’m going today.

You see in movies they show you a glimpse of what it takes to become a surfer. At first they start off on dry land. The instructor gives the person a board, they lay it down and begin to practice paddling and jumping up on the board. They do this so they can imagine themselves out on the waves jumping up on the board and keeping it stable. After a few hours or so they send the surfer out to test their newly found skills.

Paddling out, the squid (rocket power reference) surfer is nervous about catching their first wave. Once they’re out in surfing territory they get to pick and choose what waves they want to ride. Depending on the person and their sense of adventure determines their wave they choose. So for stories time sake let’s say this surfer picks the biggest wave and goes for it.

So they start paddling with the wave and then they miss it. The surfer is now super nervous because they just missed what could’ve been their first epic wave. Aggravated and crushed the surfer turns around and starts paddling back out to catch the next one. On returning back out to the lineup the surfer doesn’t sweat it, they’ve got theirs eyes back out on the horizon.

Then it’s go time again and this time they make it! But they crash because standing up on the board is a lot harder than it looks. It takes many tries to create that experience. But then eventually they learn how to get their surfing legs.

So waiting in the lineup once more the surfer starts to catch their next wave. They start to paddle with the wave, waits for the right timing and then they pop up standing on the board surfing their first wave! But then they crash, again. This time the surfer has taken a pretty bad thrash against sandy floor. So they paddle back into shore.

Arriving to shore they realize their friends are starting to take a hold of this surfing thing pretty well. They’re catching waves left and right. But in the surfer’s mind, all they can really think about are the misses and crashes. Which at first seemed promising but turned out to be another try, try, and try again. Not really getting the hang of something that might come easier to others, can be one of the most frustrating but humbling things to a person.

But that’s when it hits the surfer. Sitting on the shore isn’t going to get them their wave. It’s learning what they could do better and getting back out there and trying a million more times if it takes that many to learn how to surf. If the human wants to surf, they’re gonna surf eventually. So with the encouragement of friends and the instructor they head back out into the lineup.

This time they wait. Taking in all of what they’ve learned. Then out of no where they see it or maybe the wave chose them. Then just in that moment as if time freezes, the surfer thinks about everything that has happened in the past. Fears rush in from missing past waves or even getting crushed once more by an unforeseen twist. The mind is racing now along with the heart. What should they do? Should they try again? Then as the wave nears they’re reminded once more of what they know…

One, they know how to catch a wave. Two, being afraid of crashing no longer has that much sting. And three, the resiliency of the human mind/body is incredible with the right support of friends encouraging the surfer to go for it.

So the surfer starts to paddle with the wave once more…

You see to become a surfer it takes a lot of effort trying again and again to get where they want to be. Maybe like it would be in any other area of life that requires skill. To become a musician, actor, director, businessman/woman, computer programmer, and/or even in a relationship. It takes time, a level of confidence, and the resiliency to get back up and try it again.

You can’t let the fear of missing or crashing on the waves stop you from pursuing what you would like to be a part of one day. If you want to surf the wave, you’ve got to do the same things over and over again until you’re surfing the wave!

For me, it’s the pursuing of a woman to love and to be loved back. That simple. I’ve had my fair share of crashes and no goes. But that’s ok and I’m totally cool with it because I’m learning so much from it. Especially, when it comes to friendships/relationships around me currently. It’s made me realize that I need to love more and not always towards finding the next woman. I believe God is trying to teach me it’s about loving Him and care for people like I would my future wife. Unfortunately, it took me a few years to get that one down and still trying to. Would I want to do it all over again, nope, but again I’m happy for the insight I’ve learned about the ability to love.

So, my encouragement to you out there is to keeping going for it and don’t let the waves of the past make you fear the next one. But let it remind you that you’ve got this! You’ve got the experience and the confidence to take it on, so go surf the crap out of that wave!

PS. And if you crash or miss it, listen to what God may be trying to tell you, and then go try it again. See you out there.

– Max

Oh and Happy Valentine’s Day!