The Nature of Surf ...

Web Publication by Mountain Man Graphics, Australia in the Southern Winter of 1995

Ever gone for a walk along the beach? Ever listened to the restless sound of the waves? Ever just sat and watched the waves break and the breakers roll through to the beach? You dont have to surf to have a love for the ocean. You only have to have a love for the nature of the surf.

Invigorating; pacifying; tempestuous; restless; calming; UnReal; raging; peaceful; terrifying; beautiful; inspirational; relaxing; anti-dehydrational; thought provoking; complex yet simple; emotion provoking; elemental; cool; hot; refreshing; ancient; Ever-A-Changing; Ever-The-Same ...

These are only some of the attributes of the Ocean's border ... the breaker zone, or the SURF. It represents the place in our terrestrial realms where the cosmos meets the earth. Read on - and you will see why ....

Surf is a manifestation of the Eternal Cosmic Energy

The "Life" of the Ocean and its Seas stretches back through many Eons, to the time after the creation of the Earth. It is ancient beyond the days of man. And in all this time, in the passage of every day between today and the "First Day", the surf has been breaking on the shores of our lands.

Why is it so?

Well this is a story of the elements of nature and how they all combine together to play their part in the creation of the phenomena which we humans call "The Surf".

To start at the begining, it is the sunshine which is the "PrimeMover" and the "EngineRoom" of the Earth's Global Environment. Although there are other sources of energy to be considered in the overall picture, the primary source of energy for the Earth and all its "Eco-Systems" is the simple sunshine. I refer to the sunshine as the element of "FIRE" or the "Cosmic Fire". The sunshine "flows" and sets up temperature/energy differentials within the atmosphere and over large spans of the Earth's surface. This in turn is responsible for the creation of the winds, which represent large masses of AIR as they move from the hotter (more energetic) areas to the cooler (less energetic) areas.

The winds in turn prevail over large stretches of the oceans, and this is responsible for the creation of SWELL. In the same fashion, when partaking of a cup of tea or coffee which is too hot, and you blow on the surface of the liquid to cool it, the setting up of little "StormWaves in a TeaCup" is fairly similar ....Out on the distant stretches of oceans which extend and cover over two-thirds of the earth's total global surface, the swell waves are the emanations of the energy transferred from the wind, which is turn is an emanation of the energy transferred from the sunshine.

The swell waves may travel great distances over the surface of the ocean before breaking. In some cases storms in the south pacific will send swell thousands of miles away up to the NorthEast Pacific to become big surf for the US West Coast. In other cases, on the great southern tracts of sea, under the "Roaring Forties" - the prevailing Trade Winds that consistently blow along the Fourtieth Parallel - the waves can travel around the entire planet (and sometimes more than once) before the prevailing local conditions capture their freedom and turn them towards the continents of land.

A cork in the path of a swell waves on the ocean's deep will describe a circular motion, and does not move forward as a result of the waters that move beneath it. Swell waves travelling from a remote source on the deep ocean do not interact with the cork other than to move it about in near perfect circles. On the deep ocean, wind and ocean currents will move the cork over the surface of the earth, but the action of remotely sourced waves of swell will not.

You could then say that swell waves are the agent used by nature to distribute and transfer energy away from the areas of prevailing high wind. The swell on the ocean's deep, far from land, is seen to be a "TRANSFER of ENERGY".

From distant breeding grounds well over many horizons of the deep seas, the swell can travel to us. It is the resistance of the continental land standing in the path of this Energy Transfer which creates the final story in the phenomena we call surf.

As the depth of water deceases approaching the coast - the EARTH of the sea-bed, the circular transmission of this energy on the surface of the ocean is impeded by the approach (from the depths) of the ocean bed. This has the effect of flattening the circle (which would be described by a cork or boat) to a more elliptical shape. When the depth of the water beneath the SWELL approaches the height of the swell, the elliptical motion commences to "BREAK", and the energy of the swell is released to create what we all know as SURF on the coastal beach breaks, point breaks, reefs and bomboras.

This simple manifestation of Nature keeps thousands of Surfers around the world in a relatively happy frame of reference, and provides a range of emotional and inspirational counterpoints to millions of others.

When you journey to the Oceans' Borders, the sounds and sights of the SURF express an elemental freedom in the Outer World. OftenTimes, there is a reflection of this peace and freedom recognised in the Inner Worlds. Echoes in the valleys of experience, recognition of footprints on the paths of the heart and the tracks of the mind. Ancient beyond human reckoning is the Nature of the Surf, and yet even the Surf is young when compared to the "Life" of the sun.

It is for this reason alone that I employ the term "Eternal". Compared to the life of a human being, the life of the sun is (as far as I am concerned) "ETERNAL". And to those who would rather replace the word "ETERNAL" with a number of billion years using the traditional western scientific notation then I say to you .... go right ahead, do what you will for it is your way, and who am I to oppose your way. I will be content in giving MY respect to things as I see fit to accord it. For this is one thing that all have discovered about the surf ..... you either learn to give it respect, or you simply just do not survive.

The watersand the winds and the earth are ancient - and the skies are eternal. We are small, transient and seemingly insignificant in comparison to the natural world around us. Yet the nature of the worlds around us and the nature of the worlds within us is the one nature - and we too are of this nature. Do not under-estimate this ... do not cease the contemplation of this basic fact. For we dwell in a terrestrial ecosystem, which is open to the supply of natural resources from the cosmic environment ...

While the fire of the eternal cosmic flame is clearly the primal and central energy source, all of the elements of nature combine to create the manifestation known as the SURF.

And so, my friends, it is with each of us - for just as we sure have our terrestrial nature so we also surely have, at the center of our being, our more cosmic nature. The path of our wanderings by the sea-shore can give us plenty to think about and reflect upon concerning the nature of nature - for it is also within ourselves - both the terrestrial and the cosmic ... remember the eco-system.

In conclusion to this article entitled "The Nature of Surf", I will leave with you a sensible approach to survival, and something to think about until the journey is taken up once again, at some other where, and at some other time .....

Definition of the Nature of the Elemental Human Senses of Survival:

The Nature of the Elemental Human Senses of Survival

ElementHuman SENSE:Environment "Source"
EARTH The TOUCH of Earth {Food} Terrestrial
WATERThe TASTE of Water Terrestrial
AIRThe SMELL of Air {Breath}Terrestrial
FIRE {Vibration}HEARINGCosmic
FIRE {EM-Light}SIGHTCosmic
.......... Echoes within Echoes - DayDreams within a Dream

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