BY CAIT LAWSON, E-RYT200
Bonds made through the water are special ones.
When I think back over my twenty years of surfing so far, I can definitely recall some awesome stories and experiences, but more so, some pretty amazing friendships that I’ve cultivated while out in the waves. And if you’re a surfer, I hope that you’re shaking your head yes as to agree. And while our main priority out in the surf is, well, surfing, and catching good waves - I oftentimes think that the richness of our sessions can also come from the people that we share them with.
It’s a really special thing to paddle out to your local break and see a bunch of familiar faces in the lineup. And these people may not be close friends that you hang with out of the water, but when in the water you have this interesting bond, a unique connection, like a tribe or a family that is tied together by passion and the obsession with riding waves.
And as cool as it is to surf alone, in my opinion, it’s always a little more fun to share it with someone else. Someone to vouch for you and your good rides, someone you do the same for as well. It’s nice to have someone to laugh with when you wipe out or miss the section, someone to catch up with in between sets, or someone to paddle out with when the conditions are a little outside of your comfort zone.
And when you do surf with the same people, session after session, you begin to really see each other out in the water. It’s a bond and a mutual respect that goes beyond the surface level.
Because out in the ocean we are all kind of in this same vulnerable state. Even aside from the egos, when we are out in the surf together we are, essentially, all at a pretty even playing field. Of course there are those with more local knowledge or experience, but at the end of the day, the ocean doesn’t favor anyone. In her eyes, we are all the same.
This mutual respect and this unique bond we as surfers have also comes into play when traveling for waves. As we arrive into new waters we eventually meet other surfers. We connect over our strikingly similar lives and, again, it’s that passion and obsession that makes us kindred spirits. The more waves and places we surf, the more our web of water friends expands, making this global surf community seem a little bit smaller.
I love my sisterhood of support - girls and women all ages who are holding space for the sport. And I am grateful for the brothers who respect our space and encourage us to go - I love that my surf community is made up of people from all walks of life.
And wherever you choose to practice, you may have a small ritual that helps you set the mood. Kindly ask your roommates or family members to honor your space and to not disturb you during your practice. Sometimes I like to light a candle or some incense as a way to honor this sacred “me time,” then when I’m ready to return back to my day, I blow the candle out. Some people like to have a few crystals, or pictures, or other small trinkets nearby, another nice way to honor the sacred ritual of a personal practice. Or maybe you’d like to read a short passage from your favorite book, or write down an inspirational quote in your journal, or maybe you turn on some feel-good music to help get you in your groove.
And this global surf community that we are a part of is seriously so cool. People from all different backgrounds bonding over this one activity - this oftentimes indescribable obsession with the ocean and her waves. To some degree, we as surfers all have an understanding of the feeling of release that happens when we enter into the ocean. That sensation of letting go of the weight of our day - our stresses, our worries, everything we have going on - in order to really experience connection with nature and with the now. And while our days and stresses and worries and burdens may look a bit different person to person, we all still know how good it feels to leave it on the shore and paddle out into the surf.
Bonds made through the water sure are special ones.
And I’m forever grateful for this sport and the people it connects me with.