The Surfing Athlete

I have said for the longest time that the two hardest things to do in any professional sport is to a) hit major league pitching & b) read a defense and go through progressions quickly as an NFL quarterback. All of that changed recently when I got into a heated discussion with a friend of mine over a different type of athlete: surfers.

In a recent article, surfing legend, Kelly Slater, was being touted as the greatest athlete in the world. I had taken umbrage to that notion because I had a hard time seeing surfing as competitive in the same sense I see figure skating, diving, or pretty much anything in the X games; they all are  judged and given points on style more than anything. Granted, there are degrees of difficulties in each event but to me it’s not true competition in the purest sense of athletes going mano a mano.

The more I stopped to think about surfing the more my mind began to change as far as them being great athletes. The amount of dexterity and balance they must have to succeed is extraordinary. Their stamina to constantly swim back and forth is probably only rivaled by long distance runners. And even though surfers don’t really challenge each other (as I stated earlier) they battle against the greatest competitor anybody can face: Mother Nature.

Every sport has a risk of injury; some more than others. But no other sport commands my greatest respect, now, than surfing. It may sound cliché but there is no bolder truth that no wave is ever the same. Forget about other dangers that lie beneath the surface such as coral, rocks, and marine animals. It’s the constant changing of waves and their unpredictability that surfers must adapt to on the fly. What amazes are surfers like Slater who have such a deep understanding and respect for their craft and nature that they become poetic in their movements. As soon as a prose is spoken, a wipe out could make it all seem like gibberish. That’s the beauty and danger in surfing that a lot of us neglect to see.

Thanks to my friends who surf (Andrew, Brandon and especially Chad), I have a deeper appreciation and respect for them and the other athletes who take to the waves.

4 responses to “The Surfing Athlete

  1. I think all sports have their degree of difficulty. I don’t think that any one sport can be compared to another so therefore neither can the athletes. As far as the most athletic athlete is concerned I think that is a matter of opinion. Please do not get me wrong I think surfing is a very difficult sport and it has been something I have always wanted to learn how to do. With that being said, it is all a matter of opinion because I don’t think Robinson Cano (2nd baseman for the Yankees) would be able to catch a wave and ride it for more than 10 seconds. (even though he grow up in the Caribbean) At the same time I also don’t think Mr. Slater would be able to hit a round ball coming at him at 90mph. (with a round bat might I add) Just like Hines Ward (plays for the Steelers) wouldn’t be able to keep up with Ronaldinho (if you don’t know who he is stop living under a rock!) on the soccer field (or Fútbol) for 90 minutes (don’t forget any stoppage time) and vice versa. Please keep in mind though that’s why these people are called professional athletes because they are the best at what they do in their respective sport. So who is the most athletic is all a matter of opinion

  2. Me and the homie had a discussion along those same lines. I was a bit more hard headed because I have bias for sports like football, baseball, basketball, hockey and yes, fútbol. I was pretty much writing off surfers as non-athletes but it definitely takes skills to ride out, get on your board (without falling) and riding through a great wave. I finally had to admit that it is exactly an athletic thing to do. Why you gotta come at me like I don’t know who Cano, is? Aren’t you two both Puerto Ricans? LOL. JK. Thanks for the great comment, btw. Don’t forget to subscribe. ;)

  3. I was thinking more like gymnasts. Soccer players are bums. They walk around most of the time during their games. LOL, just kidding bro. I’ve learned to appreciate and respect them all.

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