Sunday, January 17, 2010

Big Wave Surfing

Why is big wave surfing so engaging?

There's something about huge waves that inspires fear. From the shore it's possible to write them off as passively destructive. But from the water, they can look positively evil. The wave itself can't even be identified — it's no specific body of water, but a general force. A collective action of the entire ocean. An unseen force manifest in a mountain of water.

The big wave surfer confronts this: an unidentifiable, shape-shifting, destructive force backed by the entire ocean. They collaborate, redirecting all of that destructive energy into a single creative action. They name the unnameable.

From the shore, the ocean has no scale. There is nothing to be compared. But when you see a surfer on a wave, you know exactly big it is. Big wave surfing is the humanization of infinity.

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