I've known a few surfers in my time. They all have a rather singular quality about them. They are incredibly peaceful. They seem, at least to me anyway, at home in their surroundings and on the planet.
The first surfer I think I ever met was Dan. I met him when I was a kid and we were going to elementary school together. I've looked at the class pictures through the years and noticed that Dan's hair went from brown to blonde over the years. That is the sign of someone who likes to spend time in salt water, waiting for the next wave. I don't know exactly when he took up surfing, but I always found him to be very relaxed. I guess that is what is required for someone who likes to dance on 6' waves.
I can remember the storm of '83 in the South Bay community of Southern California. At the Manhattan Beach pier, they were reporting 12-14' waves. Dan was there. Surfing.
Later in adult life I ran into another surfer. I was working as an air balance technician, one of those mysterious jobs in the air conditioning trade. I made sure that every register in the ceiling passed the amount of air called for in the design of the air conditioning systems we installed. It was very peaceful work for me.
So I get to work early, you know, around 6:30 in the morning. This is my first visit to the building and I have to meet the building engineer at a location in Newport Beach. He's a really nice guy, friendly, amiable and, he's a surfer. So we're having a conversation as he prepares to provide me with access to the office suite I will be working in to balance the air conditioning system. I can't remember the rest of the conversation, but what I do remember him saying is something like this, "Sniff, sniff! Hmm. Smells like it's offshore today."
I asked him about that and he said that he could tell how the wind was blowing by the smell of the air, I was blown away. Now that is awareness. This apparently is true of many surfers. They are so in tune with the environment, that they know the signs of good waves with good shape without even sight of the beach. I guess if they want that wave, they get to know the world around them.
I watched surfers do their thing on big and small waves, in person and in the media. While they are impressive on the waves, they are relaxed and at ease during the interviews. They don't seem all that excited in the conversations that unfold during the interviews. I often have the impression that they are somewhat detached, too. Just a little bit aloof, yet always keen to catch the next wave.