Vans US Open of Surfing 2014

Vans US Open of Surfing 2014

What inspires you? What puts a smile on your face? What do you believe in? Who do you believe in?

surfing and smiling
Surfing a great wave makes me smile!

For me, it simply comes down to surfing and music. Surfing and music you see, live together in perfect harmony. That’s why for so many years, live music was a huge part of the US Open of Surfing. Surfing has influenced such a big part of the history of music from the legendary classic songs and surfing lifestyle of the Beach Boys (well accept Brian Wilson as he didn’t surf – ha), the entire genre dedicated to the surf rock style and sound, to modern day music that is inspired by the metaphors of surfing and the ocean’s waves (see my Surfing and Wave playlist). Music is also a great foreplay and post cuddle for an action packed, adrenaline fueled surfing sexion!

Since the riots of the 2013 US Open of Surfing event, organizers thought that the live music part of the event should be removed in order to prevent chaos and keep the event focused on surfing. I thought that was a bad move on their part. I realize that crowd control was a factor in removing music from the event as the bands that have played in recent years have drawn large crowds, of which a majority probably doesn’t follow or participate in surfing or embrace the true surf culture. However, perhaps they should have changed the live music format, inviting local/regional bands to play who were active in the surf scene and had a smaller following, to create a more intimate event that that kept the focus on surfing, but still included music. I have to admit, that would have aligned with my agenda a little better, ha! I do have a lot of songs about surfing and my “Surfer Boys” song was inspired directly from the amazing performance of the professional surfers at the US Open of Surfing event.

I decided I was going to keep music a part of this event regardless! I brought my portable speakers and played my “Surfer Boys” song as a promotional tactic while watching the surf competition, walking through the event crowd, and even hovering around the autograph area where several pro surfer guys were signing autographs. I even stuck a couple pro surfers with my let the sunshine in promo sticker. I was determined to keep the music included in the event and it’s normal to see people pushing their agenda at this event (sponsors pushing products in their booths/retail stores and people selling Red Bull and Hawaiian leis on the beach), so I was shamelessly participating myself as well.

Sticking people like a porcupine and jamming my tunes in the crowd watching the contest - shameless self promotion :)
Sticking people like a porcupine and jamming my tunes in the crowd watching the contest – shameless self promotion 🙂
pro surfer boys autograph signing US Open of Surf
Jamming my surfer boys tune while these pro surfers signed autographs – I managed to snag an autograph too!!

However, I did feel shame when I saw the Bible fanatics marching around on the beach in front of the surf competition using their scare tactics and telling everybody they were going to hell. To me, that was just scapegoating stereotypes of people, similar to how the event organizers just blamed the music for the riots. The Bible fanatics just assumed that everyone watching the US Open of Surf competition did not believe in God or Jesus, like they do (in a twisted interpretation of the Bible). If the Bible thumpers would try and talk to people on a one on one basis and get to know them casually vs. stereotyping the crowd and using scare tactics, they might find out that many out in the crowd are indeed Christian. Even for those who weren’t Christians in the crowd, I would love to know anyone who has converted to Christianity using those scare tactics. Those types of people give Christians a bad name.

Religion is defined as “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods” or “an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group” (via Webster’s definition). I grew up and have a Christian family and my uncle is actually a preacher. For me, I’m not much of a person for the “organized system” and “ceremony” type ritualistic acts of the Christian religion. That’s why I’m not a regular church goer. My preacher uncle had always said it’s not about religion, but about your personal relationship with God/Jesus. However he is a preacher and his livelihood is based on getting people to attend church regularly. Many people do need the community support mechanism that is built into a church environment, but as my “Finding My Own Way” song alludes to, we all have our different ways of getting to that personal relationship with God.

I believe in God & Jesus, but surfing and music are my religion. Surfing and music are activities that are very important to me and those activities are my “organized system” that put me in a more spiritual frame of mind so I can connect with God via his direct creations that are so prevalent when you surf. When you are out in the ocean surfing, you are humbled by the ocean and the power God gives it and you are amazed at God’s beautiful creations while you are sitting out there just taking everything in while waiting for a wave. Music is another way I connect and become more spiritually focused towards God. As Switchfoot said in their film, Fading West – “Fiction is able to sneak past the watchful dragons of religion – it becomes more powerful to speak in poetry that the song goes straight to the heart, whereas the #’s of the math of it, will never be able to reach it.”

After the US Open of Surfing I went for a surf of my own at Upper Trestles on my way home to San Diego. I had been waiting awhile and no waves had come when I looked up into the sky and saw a huge rainbow, almost a full arch. That is something you very rarely see in Southern California, let alone have the opportunity to surf into. Shortly after I saw this rainbow, a really great wave came up and I caught it. I rode that wave straight into the rainbow, directly at the shore with my hands up in a victory cheerleading pose and a huge smile on my face for that whole ride and for several minutes after.

The professional surfers at the US Open of Surfing scored and ripped on some amazing waves that day, but I felt that I literally got THE BEST wave of the day. The rainbow I surfed right into I believe was a sign from God, who knows that Surfing is my Religion!!

Surfing into a rainbow
I need to get a new GoPro camera, this wasn’t the rainbow I surfed into, but it looks a lot like the one that I did surf into!

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