FreeSurf Magazine Writers, Editors, Photographers and Myself (in the middle).

Here’s What Surfing Can Teach You About Life By: Iva Poshnjari

Hawai’i is exactly what you think it’s like, but ten times better. If you ever happen to find yourself in O’ahu, consider the next few days of your life the luckiest. The ocean is wild, so you’ll have to obey it. The mountains are imposing, so you’ll be intimidated. After all, you’re standing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with the jungle as your backdrop.

When I got to Waikiki, I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in for a week of tremendous learning. Island life comes with its own set of rules, one of which is respecting the locals. If Hawaii is the home of surfing, then we are all visitors here. What I wanted to know is how surfing, the legacy of this island, shapes its culture.

The waves out here bring people together from all over the world, reminding everyone of surfing’s true roots. I couldn’t think of a better group of people to ask than the team behind Freesurf Magazine. If anyone is going to give you an inside look onto Hawai’i’s surf scene, it’s going to be these guys. Freesurf is located on O’ahu’s North Shore and documents Hawaiian surfers, local events and at times environmental pieces. If there’s something, anything surf related and worthwhile they’re on it.

LOCALS ONLY is a phrase that comes with no surprise in any area that gets heavily hit with tourists. It’s safe to say there are some sweet swells in Hawai’i, and not all of them are up for grabs (at least not easily). There’s no doubt that people, pro-surfers or not, have come all this way to get a piece of the ocean. When asked about this divide between locals and tourists, the team agrees that it does exist, and sometimes in the subtlest of ways. This however should not get in the way of riding your next wave. Surfing is a sport that puts us back into a deep connection with the water, and that’s something that should be shared. Chris Latronic, the art director of Freesurf, tells me that at the end of the day “it’s always going to be a positive experience because even if you get yelled at you learn. I learned the most valuable lessons getting yelled at the old locals at Pipeline. You don’t do certain things; it’s the most honest thing”.

Surfing can be exceptionally intimidating out on the North Shore. Surfing legends from all over the world have entered the territory and yeah, the locals will be there. But if we skip past the beginners fear we can really tap into the part of this sport that is truly remarkable. It’s true in surfing and it’s true in life, you are only going to learn the most valuable lessons when thrown into an uncomfortable situation.

This sport carries around the essence of positivity; feeling stoked is a way of life. Tyler Rock, the magazine’s multimedia director, makes this point clear when talking about the energy at surf competitions like the Triple Crown. “It’s more of an individual thing as opposed to a team sport. It’s a humbling thing over all. That’s where that positive vibe comes from.” Surfers consider their days successful if they’ve caught enough waves and have had fun in the meantime. It’s just them against a vast amount of unpredictable water. You’re going to have to stay calm.

The associate publisher of Freesurf, Lauren Rolland, adds that surfing allows people to reach a certain kind of nirvana. If there is anything she would want her readership to take away from Freesurf it would be “whatever it is that you feel when
you’re out in the water or on the wave surfing, carry that with you throughout your life”. Lauren might have a point there. Perhaps the world could use more surfboards. Mahalo.


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