Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Post: Mormons Don't Surf!



Have something to say? Anyone can submit a guest post to Modern Mormon Men. Just send us an email with your post, a post title and a paragraph of introduction (on yourself).

Big D is a stay-at-work dad who spends his early mornings surfing, his days building strategic advertising campaigns, and his evenings professionally repairing surfboards on the side in San Clemente, California. He is a husband to an amazing wife, a proud father of three, and a cultural mormon who enjoys reading the writings of our country's founding fathers. You can read Big D's first guest post here.

“Ponce DeLeon sailed the ocean 
in search of The Fountain of Youth, 
when all he had to do was jump over the side of his ship.” - Skip Frye

My own mother recently referred to me as a “bum.” I guess she felt warranted giving me that title because of the accumulation of several things; my personal spiritual beliefs, my association with particular friends, as well as my incessant need to find fulfillment in an activity she’ll never comprehend. Of course these are all assumptions as to the reason why. You see, I’ve spent most of my life setting goals and acquiring accolades that, in general, people would think are about as far away from “bum status” as possible. Accomplishments like being an Eagle Scout, college graduate, 10-year business professional and small business starter, CPR certified, married, and a father of three all come to mind. But I guess those things were overlooked before deciding my newfound classification.

You see, I have a deep affinity for the ocean and oftentimes spend countless hours chasing surf and riding waves. I’m basically the guy sitting in a business meeting thinking about water displacement off the tail of a surfboard instead of focusing on expanding strategic marketing initiatives. But many times being labeled a “surfer” comes with a particular bum status stigmatism. Maybe that’s where the whole thing originated, but I digress.

I don’t know where my passion exactly came from, as my family history is nowhere near littered with “water people.” Believe me I know, Mormonism and family history go together like a Daktronics scoreboard and a water polo match. I guess I was just simply destined to blaze a different trail ... sort of like a modern-day Joseph Smith who surfs, but minus the extra wives.

I find a level of comfort, peace and just an overall general solace in the ocean; more so than I do in sacrament meetings, however I won’t sit here and say in a horrible cliché that, “the outdoors are my church!” However, I must admit that I’ve missed many church meetings enjoying the beauty and experience of God’s great blue ocean. One must note that surfing and religion have intermingled occasionally throughout history. Ancient Hawaiians would regularly pray for good surf and engage in chants and dances with the intention of pleasing the sea to increase wave size. My kind of people!

Surprisingly (or not surprisingly), many Mormons spend their free time chasing waves. I spend lots of time surfing with members of our stake, quite frequently see my old bishop out in the water, and the church even released an “I'm A Mormon” video featuring a recent female longboard champion.

In fact, the Mormon influence has been felt on surf design well back into the late 1950’s courtesy of Bob Cooper, a devout Mormon and stylish surfer. Throughout the 50’s and 60’s, Bob shaped for some of the biggest names in the industry. Legendary companies such as Velzy Surfboards, Yater Surfboards and Morey-Pope Surfboards to name a few. He was also the creator of the Blue Machine, a board that featured a round bottom, wing-tip nose and a fin just offset the stinger (the stringer is the centered, thin piece of wood which runs from nose to tail increasing the overall strength of the board.) The board was extremely advanced for its time - enter The More You Know music here.

Considering that some have dated the activity of surfing back a couple thousand years, I often wonder if Jesus was just out for a quick session when the apostles saw him walking on water. I mean, just imagine for a minute ... a bunch of fishing tradesman with a limited education and an overall unfamiliarity with the activity, all of a sudden seeing a guy walking back and forth on the curl of waves ...

Other MMM Posts

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...