Riding Giants

4 09 2008

I’ve gone surfing a few times over the last 6 years and each time I’ve felt like I could just spend the rest of my life riding waves. And after each time, upon leaving, the desire subsided. Until this last one a few months ago (and I’d only been in the water for a couple of hours). For whatever reason, this time it stuck.

Now I’ve never followed surf culture or was ever in the know with what was going on in the surf world. I knew 2 names: Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton. And that was just from reading Outside and Men’s Health Magazines. So seeing as I went to bed dreaming about surfing every night, waking up to the smell of the ocean (inside my room, nowhere near the ocean), I decided to look a little more into surfing, just in general……..okay yes, to appease the surfing gods who called to me:0

As I started learning more, I found myself more and more drawn to what Laird Hamilton did and was about (namely Big Wave riding). I think we all have natural tendencies towards different aspects of physical endeavors. There are those who are drawn to short, fast, tricks and technical and then there are those who are drawn to big, far, sometimes still fast, more endurance like. I fall under the latter, hence the attraction to the big wave stuff. I have never seen big wave riding or really had any true comprehension of what it meant. Until one evening I decided to take a look. I went to the all knowing, all seeing Youtube and typed in Laird Hamilton. There was a clip entitled “Laird Hamilton: The greatest big wave surfer to have lived?” I clicked on it and was subsequently stunned into a state of shock. With each passing minute, my eyes got wider and my jaw dropped further. I must have sat there for 10 min afterwards, not moving. Over the next few days, I watched it a couple more times. Same thing happened.

I was so deeply affected and moved by it. After some time of sitting with it, I came to the understanding why. It wasn’t the big wave riding itself (although that in and of itself, blows my mind) but what big wave riding means. It is representative of the immensity of our capacity as human beings. The wave itself is the raw, powerful, limitless energy available to us in our daily life. Riding that wave is having the courage to face, accept and move WITH it. And the only way to do so and survive is to be centered, focused, calm and present to each second of the ride. Why does it take such courage? Because the bigger the wave, the bigger the wipeout (when it comes). So if the wipeout is so bad, why try? Because when you’ve tapped into your capacity to ride the giant, you’ve also tapped into your capacity to handle the crashes.

This is what big wave riding has come to mean to me. And in this year of needing to be challenged, of going to my “edge”, of joyfulness, of adventure, of not rushing it as I do so, of facing the “wave”, it was the perfect theme to match it.

I leave you with the clip. Watch it. Enjoy it. Draw inspiration from it. Go find your Giant………and Ride it!





4 responses

11 09 2008
Ryan Hurst

As a wave rider myself I too am fascinated with the ocean and its shear power.
I absolutely love this clip and have watched it many, many times.

Thanks for bringing it back to my attention.


12 09 2008

Haha….This clip has got almost 3 million hits and there probably still hasn’t been that many people who have seen it, just those of us who have each watched it a thousand times;)

Thanks for visiting Ryan and all the best in your moving on to the next stage of “big waves”:) Ride Strong, Ride Long!


8 11 2008

Wow! So inspiring! I love, love, love what you said here: “when you’ve tapped into your capacity to ride the giant, you’ve also tapped into your capacity to handle the crashes.” The crashes is what I’m always the most scared of, but this perspective that you shared helps remind me that if I can ride the giant of life, then I also have the capacity to make my way through the crash and come out on the other side.

4 08 2009
Humble Before the Giant « Dare To Evolve

[…] year was “Riding Giants” coupled with developing the quality of Joyfulness . And it was funny, because as I was […]

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