I Surf, Therefore I Am

I SurfThe old Hawaiians attached spiritual significance to surfing, and I do not classify this as superstition. The Hawaiian priest, the “big Kahuna,” uttered religious incantations over the making of the sacred surfboard because they saw surfing as a sacred sign signifying something somehow supernatural. (Sorry for all those S’s, but that’s the shape of a wave, after all.) What is a “sacred sign”? It’s like a handkerchief dropped by a goddess, or like a beam of starlight from another world. The tube of a breaking wave is called “the green cathedral” not because it looks like a cathedral but because it feels like one. You get that religious sense of awe inside. Time stops. You stop breathing. You are total attention. Because you know this is a magic door where the fundamental force of all nature, wave energy, is now breaking through into our little world. Where does it come from? What’s on the other side of that door? See? Those are religious questions. Surfing doesn’t give you religious answers — it doesn’t tell you whether to be a Christian or a Muslim or a Buddhist — but it does give you religious questions.

Peter Kreeft, I Surf, Therefore I Am ($16)

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