By Franklin Heredia
A sport. A form of artistic expression. A philosophy of life.
All of the above.
Not long ago,
The common perception of surfing was summed up to being a water sport where you perform turns and maneuvers taking advantage of the force of a wave, on a board (according to Wikipedia).
Recently in the year 2020, surfing debuted as an Olympic Sport in the town of Tokyo, Japan, despite the fact that there is evidence from archaeologists and historians about its origins more than 3000 years ago on the coasts of Peru, and in Hawaii for 500 years (thanks to the Polynesian culture). It was not until the beginning of the 60s of the last 20th century that it became popular on several continents, including of course the South American region where it has great importance on a socio-cultural level in countries such as: Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Additionally, among the most prominent, but on a smaller scale with a significant upturn in recent decades are destinations such as Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador.
ITS INFLUENCE ON ART AND CULTURE
Today, the existing intersection between surfing and the realm of art extends into areas such as popular culture, commerce, music, fashion, language, and personal development. We see this through our daily attitude and even our spirituality (in line with oriental thought), since we link the way we perceive the waves to life itself: the representation of a perpetual, transformative and dynamic movement.
IDENTITY AND LIFESTYLE
Each surfer has a unique style, the desire to surf the best waves possible makes us dependent on rapidly changing conditions.
"When you ride a wave, it's an expression of how you perceive the world and nobody rides a wave in a similar way."
Getting to understand the movement of the ocean (tidal changes, the influence of the wind, currents, etc.) for a unique connection with nature and with oneself, is to adopt a lifestyle in communion with the environment, which in general, leads us to adopt healthy lifestyle habits, thus allowing us to continue enjoying this connection for a long time. That is the magic of surfing.
PREJUDICES AND CONTRAST
Despite such wonder, at some point in its recent history surfing suffered a deterioration in its image due to the social transformation experienced in the 70's - 80’s. We see this today even where surfing is not established as part of the local culture in some parts of the world.
From artificial waves created in locations without access to the sea to video games featuring the sport of surfing, today surfers are considered athletes who take care of every possible aspect that affects their performance in the ocean (nutrition, psychological, training, etc.). In all this they challenge the impossible and achieve the most daring acts on a board, from acrobatics aerials to riding waves over 40m high.
But the most beautiful thing is witnessing how the lifestyle and philosophy of this wonderful sport is shared with new generations from an early age, ensuring not only the continuity of the sport but also its connection with nature and the environment in general.
Surfing is .. Life!