Surfing

“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave”
-Paul Walker

                  If you have ever surfed, (and enjoyed it), you would know that this quote by Walker could not be more accurate. When you’re out there in the middle of the ocean, you have a different state of mind. Despite the fact that there could be a giant shark beneath you, you must block out that possibility and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll never be able to find peace while surfing. You have to allow yourself to let your mind go (to an extent), and just absorb yourself into the moment. When people say surfing clears the mind, they’re not lying. For me, it instantly washes away the stress and negative thoughts and allows me to stay tranquil. The calm rhythm of the waves passing underneath my board relaxes me, and if there was no such thing as nighttime, I would be out on a board forever.

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“I surf because it keeps my life at an even keel, without it I would tip into the oblivion.”

– Andy Irons.

Me surfing for the first time in the Outer Banks last year. I've been hooked ever since.

Me surfing for the first time in the Outer Banks last year. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Surfing is used very often as a form of “therapy” for kids with disabilities. This article on autism explains how an amazing program called “Surfers Healing” helps over 2,000 autistic children a year to focus, overcome their fears, decrease anxiety, and much more through surfing.  This one paragraph of one of the parents of a child attending the camp stood out to me:

“My son was screaming. He did not want to go into that ocean. He did not want to go with the surfer, and I was sobbing,” she said. “I was frightened for my son to see him crying.” Alex’s mood did not change as he and the surfer paddled out over the waves to a spot beyond the breakers, where the water was placid. They sat there for about 10 minutes and Alex showed he was no longer scared. “We saw them paddling in and they were about to catch the wave. I saw my son’s face and he was smiling and he was excited. He was happy,” Shanea Acebal said. “When they came on the shore, he was calm, he was focused. Throughout the entire afternoon, he just sat still, which is very rare for a child with autism.”

Another article I found uses surfing to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s really interesting and further proves the healing powers that surfing has on both the mind and body.

When it comes to big wave surfing (for the very experienced surfers), it is extremely important that they remain calm at all times, no matter how easy it is to panic and freak out. Surfer Mark Healy gives his input on big wave surfing:

“When it comes to holding my breath in big waves, I think there are three factors involved: lung capacity, cardiovascular fitness, and staying calm. All three are important, but the most important one for me is being in a strong mental state and staying calm.”

Makayla and I waiting for a set in Rhode Island this past summer.

Makayla and I waiting for a set in Rhode Island this past summer.

Sources:

http://www.surfertoday.com/

http://www.surfline.com/surf-news/health–fitness-heavywater-training–how-to-hold-your-breath-and-stay-calm-in-big-surf_41805/

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Analyzing Poetry

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Impressions

Ryan Jennings

__________________

 A lifetime can be likened to a lonely beach of sand.
a stranger makes a mark one day, an imprint of a hand.
As time goes by the beach once clear is now a cluttered field
of memories and keep-sakes of the ones that we hold dear.
Time does its best to wash away remembrances of those –
the ones we never meant to meet – the ones we never chose.
But as though some odd twist of fate these are the ones we cherish.
The time we spend with these such friends, will never, ever perish.

 

  • Read the poem once. Then read it again and find the literal meaning.

A lifetime can be likened to a lonely beach of sand.  Your life is similar to that of a vacant beach.
a stranger makes a mark one day, an imprint of a hand. Just like in your life, when someone first walks on a beach, they leave behind footprints or impressions.
As time goes by the beach once clear is now a cluttered field This once empty beach is now full of all sorts of impressions from all kinds of people.
of memories and keep-sakes of the ones that we hold dear. In this cluster of impressions, the best ones are what we remember.
Time does its best to wash away remembrances of those – The beach and our brain are one in the same as they try to erase bad memories.
the ones we never meant to meet – the ones we never chose. We never really do get to chose who comes into our lives.
But as though some odd twist of fate these are the ones we cherish. But it’s funny how everything happens for a reason, even something that seemingly should have never occurred.
The time we spend with these such friends, will never, ever perish. And it is those occurrences, those impressions, those people, that we remember.

~

  • Read the poem again to find the connotative meaning of the poem.  “Why this word and not another?”

A lifetime can be likened to a lonely beach of sand. Everything has felt the grip of loneliness at least once. The feel for lack of substance or presence of something greater is universal.
a stranger makes a mark one day, an imprint of a hand. everyone/thing starts off as a stranger. It takes a good leap of faith to chose to make something no longer strange.
As time goes by the beach once clear is now a cluttered field
of memories and keep-sakes of the ones that we hold dear.
Time does its best to wash away remembrances of those – We do what we can to forget our pain, but it’s always subtly somewhere.
the ones we never meant to meet – the ones we never chose.
But as though some odd twist of fate these are the ones we cherish. Our fate as we all know is unpredictable. It has it’s fair shares of twists and turns that may at times astound us.
The time we spend with these such friends, will never, ever perish.

~

  • Find the poem’s symbolic meaning. “What could this stand for…why?”

 A lifetime can be likened to a lonely beach of sand. The beach itself is obviously not lonely because it can’t have any feelings. Rather, lonely in this context could mean ‘untouched’  by a person
a stranger makes a mark one day, an imprint of a hand.
As time goes by the beach once clear is now a cluttered field Not physically a clutter field. The multiple marks can become so innumerable it can actually be flustering.
of memories and keep-sakes of the ones that we hold dear.
Time does its best to wash away remembrances of those – Time can’t wash away anything. The waves can, and your brain can “wash away” memories from one’s brain. (Although never permanently erasable)
the ones we never meant to meet – the ones we never chose.
But as though some odd twist of fate these are the ones we cherish.
The time we spend with these such friends, will never, ever perish.

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