“Catch a wave and you’re sitting on top of the world.”
— Brian Wilson and Mike Love, “Catch a Wave,” 1963
The ocean is not a natural habitat for humans. We live on the land. Many people never leave their natural surroundings, the land, to venture into the spaces in which they do not live.
Entering these alien environments requires special planning and equipment. To venture into the air, one needs some sort of flying device. To venture into the ocean, all one needs is a surfboard.
Venturing into the water to surf doesn’t just happen. It takes conscious effort, planning, and knowledge to take the first step into the water preparing to paddle out.
Challenging the ocean is physically demanding, and it can be risky. The ocean can be a rather hostile and dangerous setting?
But something makes the surfer want to go out and ride the waves. Out in the lineup, a force is calling. That force is The Draw.
The draw of surfing is a more powerful force than the forces that ground us on the beach. It is powerful enough to overcome all of the obstacles holding us to the sand.
There are many reasons not to venture into the hostile world of the ocean; the draw overcomes them all. It may be the middle of the winter, with icy water and a cold wind blowing, yet the break is crowded.
It may be double overhead, with 50 yards of white water to traverse, and nonetheless there are those outside and those scratching to get outside. It may be noon in the middle of July with white hot burning sun, but there is a crowd picking the peak. The draw pulls the sufer out into the water to ride some waves.
No other exercise or endeavor produces the pleasant afterglow of a great surfing session. Only a good run can come close with its endorphin release. What is it about surfing that produces and releases such a good feeling hormone? What is the draw, and…