A Way to Surf

To DO list:

1. learn to fly.

2. fly away.

Andy Meets Warhol

Ivon, teacher at the surf school in Arrifana, south-west of Portugal, had a funny habit. We would start the surf lesson and all go catch our own white waters; Ivon was watching each and every one of us and shouting, from time to time, as loud as he could, between the waves breaking out loud: reeeeelaaaaaax! I still think it was one of the best things I’ve learned from this sport. Relaxing a bit helped all of us who were trying to learn to surf at that moment. Instead of working hard to catch the wave and trying to stay as long as possible on the board, we were now working hard, staying long and trying to relax, which might sound odd but relaxing actually makes you more malleable to the water’s movements. It was obviously more of a state of mind than of a fact, we were all beginners and standing pretty tight on our foam boards, still not sure what to expect from all that was happening. Now when I think back at this I see it as a kind of a metaphor. Whenever my mind is relaxed or my posture is, I am better at what I am doing. It’s neither the laying-in-the-lounger-with-a-cocktail relaxation nor the zen-yoga one, it’s just that not hanging too tight on what I am doing actually helps me to do better what I am doing.

‘If in doubt, paddle out.’

Nat Young

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