Conversations For Transformation: Essays Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

Conversations For Transformation

Essays By Laurence Platt

Inspired By The Ideas Of Werner Erhard

And More

The Second Coming Of Supersurfer

Waikīkī Beach, Honolulu, O'ahu, Hawai'i, USA

August 10, 2006

This essay, The Second Coming Of Supersurfer, is the second in a group of seven on Surfing: It is also the first in a group of five written in Hawai'i: I am indebted to Kihā "Billy" Pimental and to his son Kalihauhoonaonakealaonapua Kihāpiilani "Kalihau" Pimental who inspired this conversation.

He shouldn't have waited so long. There was no compelling reason for him to. But he did. He had promised himself for years he would surf again. He learned to surf halfway through high school. To say he loved surfing is an understatement. It defined his life. It was the  activity in which he was most alive, most present, most engaged with nature.

Noseride by Miki Dora
When he surfed for what was to be the last time, he had made no conscious decision to stop or to give it up. It was the end of another perfect day at the beach. The last wave of the day obligingly held his Crest  pintail noserider in its firm grip so he could slowly walk to the nose and casually dangle five toes over the front and stay there gently climbing, dropping, and sideslipping  just by rocking his knees right and left going on seemingly forever until he simply ran out of wave and stepped off onto the sands of the beach leaving his surfboard floating in and out on the ebb and flow of the waves as he turned, satisfied, watching the setting sun.

And then twenty years went by - just ... like ... that.

Maybe it was just naïveté. Maybe he was seduced by the notion that a good man does the right thing. He was, indeed, a good man. Yet doing the right thing  didn't leave much time for surfing. The trouble, he realized, with doing the right thing (whatever that may or may not be - it depends on whose interpretation you subscribe to) blindly without any discrimination, is doing anything that way stifles creativity and possibility. Who knows? For whatever reason, twenty years of raising a family and running a business while growing slightly flabby in the belly followed, during which surfing became nothing more than a distant memory, surfacing only in blissful dreams in the dead of nights after sleep came too slowly in the darkness of frustration and hopelessness, and the retreat to dreaming of riding the waves provided a solace which, upon waking, suddenly, fretfully disappeared.

Yet he knew the draw of the freedom of dancing with the waves was only a symptom of a greater malaise, a malaise which found him drowning in the seriousness  of life, unable to fully meet the demands of the people around him who seemed entitled  to their expectations of him.

Then - suddenly - came transformation. Like Hermann Hesse's Siddhārtha, the veils of the false present fell away from him. The opennesses, the freedoms, the boundless expanded moments of pure joy he always had, were there again, only more  so, no longer buried and no longer requiring explanation. The siege of the controlling and controlled mind had ended, its quarry vanquished. Nothing stayed the same.

And so inevitably (it was simply a matter of time) came the day, finally, when he set it all aside and went back to the beach with his surfboard before the dawn ... and waited. There he was, Supersurfer, again wearing the costume appropriate to the current play yet no longer overshadowed by it, now effortlessly able to switch between a three piece suit and baggies.

In the cool, salty morning air he saw waves as he had never seen them before. Before, a wave meant something. Before, waves were expressions of some kind of dharmic  quest. Before, waves were gifts or challenges, even rewards. Now (at last!) waves were ... just ... waves ...

With a few easy strokes he laid into a friendly feathering curl, watched only by a seagull and some other mildly disinterested denizens of the coral reef below.

"My God!" he gasped "My Love!", his heart singing and crying at the same time, "It's been so long ... I've missed You ...". Yet immediately  his body knew exactly  what to do. Loosely hanging back so the curl could lap at his knees, then walking forward slowly, he continued the noseride interrupted twenty years earlier, only this time transformed. This time his art took on a new form. This time it expressed being  not doing. This time it stood for who he really is in the world.

This time it was complete. And being complete, this time it was fully started. And being fully started, this time it wouldn't ever end.

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