Aloha! My name is Lauren and I am a new brand ambassador for this awesome company! I currently live in Oahu, Hawaii, and am so excited to share some experiences of my life living in the beautiful Aloha State.
I am an avid surfer, and although new to the game, I have become addicted to the sport. There is something about paddling out into the ocean, and feeling the energy of the sea engulf you while waiting for a wave to come. I find something extremely therapeutic in just the act of waiting for waves. Being able to take in the stunning scenery of a mountain lined horizon, all while hovering over crystal clear blue water, with tropical fish swirling above the reef at your toes.
Some people only surf when waves are good, or when swells are known to be in a certain area. For me though, surfing is a way to connect with nature, the ocean, and the universe. Just floating out in the middle of the ocean, watching the sun dance and glisten off the shifting dark and light blue ripples, is all I need to feel fulfilled.
The other day, I was surfing a new spot where the waves are known to break quicker, faster, and bigger. It was terrifying because I was not use to having a force of that power behind me. I wanted to just stay back, and not go for any, but then, I saw something green pop up in the water next to me. At first I was startled, but then I saw the slow, easy movements of a big sea turtle, popping his head up above the surface to catch a breathe. In that moment, I knew I was safe. Knowing that even if I bombed the wave and got toppled by it, all I would have to do was be like the turtle, swim up for air, and chill.
A lot of learning how to surf is understanding the ocean and waves. At first I would be afraid to go after a big wave because I knew that the bigger the wave, the more swirling, sucking energy I would feel pulling me if I fell into the crashing break. Often, I would just have to remind myself that worse case scenario, I swim hard up to the surface, catch a breath, and swim to the channel away from where the waves are breaking. I have had a TON of instances where I have gotten caught in the break, being pounded by wave after wave. But with each wipeout, you get stronger in being able to swim up out of the sucking pull, and have another understanding of what to do to not fall off the next wave :P. In the end though, sometimes you have to remind yourself that it is just water. I will often tell myself that if I do not at least try, I will never be able to even correct a potential mistake. And sometimes, a little sea turtle swimming in the same conditions as you gives you that push of courage to know that you can go after and successfully surf a wave.
The cool thing about surfing in Hawaii is how loved and respected it is by the culture. Each surf spot will have a different crowd, but it is usually the same group of surfers who go to the same spots time and time again. This is cool because even if you want to head out to the waves alone, you will be met by some friends or familiar faces. Hawaiians are known to “talk story” and it is a customary part of the culture where you just chat about each other's lives and families. Out on the water, easy, conversation will flow between you and those hanging out behind the break. I have found this to be one of the most heartwarming aspects of the culture because any stranger will easily become a close acquaintance, or even friend.
Surfing out here also creates a connection amongst all those who deeply respect and honor the waves. When you are out on the water, you know that every individual surrounding you feels the same sense of passion, peace, and love for the ocean, waves, and sport. In more chill and friendly spots, people are happy to see someone surf a wave, even if it means that they do not get to ride it. People will break into smiles and yell “YEWWW” as someone catches and rips a wave. It sends such an exhilarating and positive vibration through you, knowing someone is getting to experience that. It is a contagious feeling that spreads throughout the pod of surfers, amping up the next in line to catch a wave.
Surfing has become such a deep passion of mine. Not only do you get to be active and feel the exhilarating rush of riding a force of energy that is formed hundreds of miles away, but you get to share the same love and experience with those out in water with you. Being hundreds of feet off shore, with nothing but your surfboard, allows you to reflect and silence your mind of all the hectic day to day responsibilities. Sometimes, the best therapy for a stressful day, or buzzing mind, is the sun kissing your nose, while you focus your energy into connecting and riding some roaring, gnarly waves.