To the untrained eye surfing and mountain biking might seem like a world apart but in reality they share many things in common. In some ways a surfer knows more about finding flow, finding momentum, and working with nature and not against it and there is a correlation between finding flow on a wave and on the trails.
Water surged through my hair, white bubbles rushing through channels behind my ears as I pierced my board through a wave. With heavy arms, I paddled vigorously through whitewater chopped up by a strong Atlantic crosswind. Emerging, cold, behind the breaking waves, I opened my eyes and witnessed clouds rolling over volcanic cliff tops, in a dramatic slow-motion parody of the waves that were crashing onto the beach. A kind of view that puts you in your place, sometimes it’s the appreciation of your insignificance, or connection, in a landscape that can help you discover “it”.
I watched the waves peel, their glassy faces regularly reflecting a sunset orange. Some say that a wave is a fleeting embodiment of energy: water molecules move up and down in much the same place, but the wave moves forwards even though it is not a physical object.
I find my hands scooping into the gleaming water’s surface but, now, with full intent and awareness going into every stroke. I look behind and a golden wave is approaching with a lip of white just tickling over its top edge. I am in the perfect position and as the upsurge caresses my ankles, I press down on the board, which responds with a buoyant bounce. In one fluid motion I peel off the board and rise to my feet. I am turning, pumping, the wave is peeling—and I am smiling without realising, without concept of time.