Surfing Not the Web

A look back on surfing not the web.

Looking back on surfing not the web.

The world is speeding up.

With the Internet Age and all its latest innovations, we’ve kissed good-bye the dallying days of dial-up (thank god), snail mail (mostly), and life before Amazon.  Life before YouTube where 100 hours of video are uploaded each minute and Facebook where more than 1 billion of us edit and update every life event large or small each day—and apparently, some of you play games.  I love you, but NO, I DO NOT WANT TO PLAY CANDY CRUSH WITH YOU.  Please stop inviting me.  I’ll eat candy with almost anyone; I’ll play Candy Crush with no one.

If you want to read a book, you can download it.  Want to find a mate for life, sign up for Match.  Want to find a mate for right now, start swiping on Tinder.  Need to know the answer to just about anything?  Google to the rescue.  We log on, connect, communicate, reply, reserve, RSVP, download, digest, and dissect information at a rate never before seen in history.  You have 140 characters to hold my attention.  You have 5-minutes to give your pitch to investors.  You have 30 seconds before I close this browser, delete this email, change this channel (scratch that, 4 seconds).

This weekend, while surfing not the web, as in actual surfing in the ocean, I blessedly did the opposite of all of the above.  I slowed down.  I signed off.  Two hours into my time on the water, I realized I had not thought about anything else.  Funny thing about doing something new or daring or both.  You have to pay attention fully.  It was my second time trying the sport but technically my first time in a proper wet suit, not convulsing with cold or terror, and able to stand up on a wave—five of them in the end!  A breakthrough learning moment occurred when our instructor from Cinnamon Rainbows Surf Shop explained the following:

I know it feels like everything is happening really fast, but you don’t have to go faster.  You can take your time.

Guys… did you hear that?  I think a gong just rang in a Buddhist monastery somewhere.  What wisdom!  And even better?  It worked.  I stood up on the next wave because when I felt the lurch beneath my board and thought for a moment that I’d missed my chance: I paused, steadied myself, and stood.

There’s a reason more people than ever before are seeking yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness practices.  As the world speeds up, we intuitively know the value and joy of slowing down.  It’s not only essential to our health and happiness. It might also make us better at whatever it is we’re trying to accomplish: riding a wave, listening to friends or colleagues, parenting a child, creating a piece of art or a meaningful slice of life.

Remember: just because things feel like they're moving fast, doesn't mean you have to.

Take your time.  Or, as a yogi I follow on Twitter once said: trust the timing of your life.  (Dang Twitter, you got me).  This world, our world, is moving faster, but you don’t have to—not all the time.  If you don’t slow yourself down, you may not get a chance to take pause any other way.  Then, think of all the non-gigabytes of life non-data you’d miss.  Which would be a real shame, dude, because surfing not the web is awesome, and the best things in life are analog.

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  • chrissysurf

    Surfing for me, is my meditation. You have to be fully present and think of nothing else but being in that ocean catching that wave. It also teaches you patience, especially here in New England where our window for amazing surf can be very small. Keep it up, you will be blessed with amazing experiences that only the sea can teach. BTW, LOVE Cinnamon Rainbows! Heading up that way right now to surf some great swell from Edouard.

  • Laura Max Nelson

    Totally relate – love this post, so glad you got to slow down and enjoy the waves. XOXO, Laura Max

  • Rob Tassinari

    Welcome to one of the mind’s pleasures-concentration on something that blocks the world out, is one with nature, and is filled with fun, joy and love.

  • meghan larson

    I, too, learned to surf with Cinnamon Rainbows. I kept going back because of the feeling I got when I was in the water. It was like nothing I’d experienced growing up on the coast before. And I love the parallels with yoga. My instructor was a yogi deep down. His wisdom that got me up for the first time, “Get out of your head. You can’t be scared and surf at the same time, so choose to be on the board in this moment.”

  • Julie

    SUCH a great post – I just read it again (third time) after saving the link in my inbox – wonderful message and reminder. Thank you Rebecca.

  • Sierra

    From the beginning of your post, I knew it was leading to meditation. I really appreciate this piece. Mediation is that moment between lying in bed and going to sleep. It’s the most calming moment anyone can experience.

    In this day and Internet Age, although I am a digital media savvy, it’s nice to enjoy those special moments to myself. Sometimes you have to take a pause on life and listen to your breath, and gather up your thoughts and watch them float away. Climbing and yoga is my mediation. It keeps me sane. It’s like nature’s therapy.

    To further discuss, feel free to email me at To read more about the impact of media and how it affects
    attitudes behaviors and lifestyles, follow my blog

  • Yogi Kam

    Very thoughtful. Liked it!

  • Shusant Sen

    A good retreat is always a welcome. Our lives have become so fast, that we need to slow down a bit for our own benefit. The best way to do this is by doing Yoga. It helps to calm our body and mind to help us reach the ultimate peace. The best Yoga studio in London is Barbican Yoga Cave. If you desire for individual customed classes for the best health, this is the yoga studio to be part of.

  • arpit agarwal

    yes meditation is the power of consciousness life.

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