A thought crosses my mind: “Freedom”. I am in Bali, standing knee-deep in the refreshing water of the ocean.
My camera is within reach like always for the last couple of weeks, I don’t want to miss a single epic moment.
“Peace of mind.” I have to admit, this really sounds corny and old fashioned. It seems almost cocky to claim you are close to peace of mind in the 21st century, surrounded by all this busyness and social stress.
I gaze to the silhouettes in the water which have become so spookily familiar to me in the last few days.
“But yeah”, I decide with approval, “If this state really does exist, those people are really damn close to it.”
Through my camera I am able to relocate the silhouettes of the guys that kinda adopted me into their inner circle for this short amount of time.
Red board shorts, white lycra, blond hair. Check.
It’s been about two months now that I have been joining people that have dedicated themselves to this sport.
Small, tall, fat, thin, pros, beginners… this doesn’t matter to me or them. They are all united by one fact. They are united by the call for the water, for the surf.
Maybe you can only understand this, if you’ve also been sitting on a board in the ocean by yourself, surrounded by the meditative rhythm of the waves.
I splash my toes in the water. Sure, surfing is cool – but it’s so much more than that. To really dedicate to surfing changes many.
For some it means to leave family and friends behind, to go to foreign countries. When you are in the water all the trappings of life disappear. Money, property, relationships – none of this matter but the surf.
I have talked and met a lot of people. Warm-hearted people with a settling ease. Epicures. Fighters. People with beliefs.
Beyond the stereotypes of the cliché-surferboy are really calm people, no posers at all.
I asked what their drive was, and I was told about the ocean, the nature, the sport that balanced them and the sport that made them become better people.
They told me they were able to dive into a different world, which gives them so much strength, happiness and distraction.
Through my camera I can see one of my boys. He’s on his board and he’s being uplifted by the gigantic mass of the approaching wave.
I lift my lens. This wave is royal, it is monstrous and frightening and it is crashing. It swallows the small human dot without mercy, sending it down in its depth.
I struggle to catch my breath, but then a broad smile breaks across my face… I am sure he will stand up again.