Friday, May 15, 2009

Surf Fridays!

Happy Friday everyone and I hope everyone is feeling great! Gosh I feel like I've been away for a long time. Sometimes life gets busy and all the fun things you want to do, you kind of have to put off. But not for long, right?

I can't wait to tell you about a surfboard I've ordered which will be shaped in the coming weeks. A little dream come true. I'll keep you in suspense just for a short while and will share more very soon.

Today is going to be fun because PLuv is having a giveaway of a wonderful book! Two of them in fact and they are signed by the author.

Jaimal Yogis reading Saltwater Buddha

I met Jaimal Yogis at his book reading in Half Moon Bay a couple of weekends ago, and he struck me as being a really great person. Jaimal is an award winning writer who has penned articles notably for San Francisco Magazine and the next issue of The Surfers Journal. His home break is Ocean Beach and he is currently touring California with his first book, Saltwater Buddha.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading his autobiographical story about discovering oneself through Zen and surfing. There is a lot of wisdom in this book, as well as some great stories from his journey, including running away from home to learn how to surf.

When Jaimal was sixteen, he left his parents the following note:

Dear family, please do not worry. I am somewhere in the world and I will call you when I get there. I had some dreams that led me to believe that I need a change and I could not make it here. I'm sorry. I took some money from Mom's credit card and I apologize. I plan to pay it all back when I get settled. I love you very much. Jaimal

He went to Maui. Tales ensue.

He started as "a white boy who couldn't surf". Even while studying at a monastary, he started to become in his words, a Surf Nazi, a fanatical surfer who woke up at five AM every morning, surfed twice a day and yelled at a kid who dropped in on him. This is one of my favorite parts of the book because he candidly admits what a lot of us have gone through.

Surfing becomes your life, your religion and in Jaimal's words, " my confusion I was twisting it into something unrecognizable, mistaking the method for the goal, the means for the end. I guess it happens all the time, to religious fanatics of all stripes."

"I knew very well I wasn't enlightened. And the day I screamed at the kid, I finally understood that I was carrying my surfboard around on my head and it wasn't getting me any closer to freedom. In fact, it seemed to be making me into an asshole."

Jaimal surfing Ocean Beach

There are so many good stories in this book and I can think of several more I want to tell you about, like when he surfed a gnarly break with a balls out Aussie and wasn't sure if he'd make it out alive...or a beautiful section where he took a job as a caregiver for a man and they laughed while passionately discussing their different viewpoints on religion...or when Jaimal got on a commercial fishing boat during winter conditions in Montauk for his thesis...or got wedged under some boulders surfing in Brooklyn.

In the book, you come to understand how important water is to Jaimal. He writes, "Upon his deathbead, the Buddha spoke these final words: All things are impermanent. Work out your own salvation with diligence. Ridiculous as it may be, I see myself doing just that as I flail around on the sea, gliding on the fringes of our blue world."

You don't have to surf or be a Buddhist to enjoy Saltwater Buddha. Leave a comment and we'll put Devo to work next Friday, May 22 to pick the two winners.

Aloha! I'm feeling so much Aloha that I want to say it again the way the Hawaiians do... A lo - HA!


6ftnperfect said...

sign me up!

Andy said...

Oh great, now I have Dick Dale playing in my head. (Maybe that's a good thing)

Sharon said...

Ommmm is where the surfboard is?!

Toddy said...

I'll throw my name in the hat. I love chancey contests.

serviathan said...

Me too.
Am going to order this book from Amazon next payday anyways.
May as well enter.

Shari said...

I'm not much for surfing, but I'm all for finding the zen. :0)

Thanks Jamers!

Rik said...

From surfing to zen and back again..A great read Right to the last wave in...mahalo Jaimal

Tiny Bubbles said...

Nice blog. I love the photos. Check out my surf shot at Ho'okipa. Man I miss the ocean, but I'm stuck out in OK for the rest of the year.

Jonathan said...

Interesting to hear of an author who seems to have a serious understanding of Buddhism instead of the surf-linked platitudes that can so easily be dredged up.

julezzz said...

I read somewhere that humans start out life as fetuses composed of 99% water. As adulthood is reached, the human body is 60-70% water. If we die a ripe old age, we'd still be about 50% water. The human brain is made up of 95% water, blood is 82% and lungs 90%.

In other words, we exist mostly as water. It is integral, like the air we breathe.

A mainland friend recently pointed out to me that you can actually SEE the ocean in the the people who spend their lives dedicated to an interaction with the sea. The sparkle in their eyes is bordered by the deep lines of a sunny squint...the tanned, sculpted, freckled shoulders...the salty-bleached hair. You can feel their eminating stoke...and feel the healing power as your feet push off the shore onto your board, a refreshing rush of salty mist on your face, paddling out, spiraling beneath the foam...then ultimately sliding along the surface, exiting the terrestrial realm to co-exist as an aquatic being...riding the energy...

We are all brothers and sisters with a common passion. Yet somehow the attitudes of separatism and selfishness breed in the cesspools of mental, emotional, and spiritual stagnation. Much like the necessity of movement and flow for healthy stream systems / estuaries, our positive energy must circulate and flow to transfer and the blood in our veins. We must resist a stagnant state, and stagnant attitudes...integrate with that channel of least resistance.

Flow together.

No matter where we are geographically, LIVE ALOHA.

The ocean and the land offer so much. It's integral to our lifestyle. How are we honoring the mana / power / life force...respecting...appreciating...and taking responsibility / stewardship? In the Hawaiian language we call it "malama"..."pono". Human culture was once collectively and intimately privvy to the intelligence offered by nature. Why did we separate ourselves to such degrees?

How are we manifesting our intentions...takin it to the next level...taking ACTION to preserve and protect that which we love? Whatever our medium for expression...writing, painting, singing...even just talking story...these are all tools to set those intentions in motion.

Thank you Jaimal for facilitating the awareness, sharing your experiences, and perpetuating the flow among the varioius communities you have reached. Mahalo and shout-out to da Pineapple luv, as well...

“Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
- Margaret Mead

"Ho'okeep it real".

nm said...

i want in!

i had heard of this book...but wasn't really interested in it. BUT...the enthusiasm of your post makes me want to give it a looksee.

nice work.

ashley said...

sounds like a good read! i want in on the giveaway!

Jess said...

Ooooh I love your giveaways, they are so good! This book sounds really, really good.

Pick me Devo. :)


Kate said...

put my name in the virtual hat please!

Flying said...

"a surfers quest to find zen on the sea" ...
it must take a lot of practice not to be affected by the crazy level of testosteron that you find on any given break from early dawn to late dusk ...
even when you go for a surf in the best mood ever, you usually bump into a guy that will spoil the moment, sometimes the entire day.
Surf is probably the most beautiful quest in the world. It can also be the most ungrateful.
Sorry I had a bad encounter, should I read the book or what ?

kate said...

devo, pick me! -i need a dose of zen inspiration. and besides that, pineapple luv always suggests the best books!

Carson said...

Looks like an enjoyable read. And as my writing buddy and I have noted, there are a shortage of good surfing stories so this is a welcome book.

seamouse said...

Me too please.

readysteady said...

if shameless begging counts for anything pick me pleeeeeeese. i love pineapple, artichokes, saltwater & books... & danced to devo at my school formal!

Ramsnake said...

I had thought that this is actually why water is so important
I would love to read Jaimal's take on it.

Anonymous said...

Actually local people hate the Don Ho schtick of phonetically saying the word Aloha. But if it makes you happy by all means!

Jamie Watson said...

Hey anon - thanks for letting me know that. Appreciate it. I swear I've heard that in Hawaii before...and it sounds so happy! I like the word and meaning no matter what. It's probably the best word in the universe.