Sunday, May 26, 2013
The surfer stereotype is as well-worn as an article that begins with the sentence, “The (insert noun) stereotype is as well-worn as (insert noun).” The truth is that not all surfers throw up a shaka (don’t ever shake the shaka to a Hawaiian), listen to Sublime, or live in flip-flops. Take it from me, a surfer who has a dislike of all three. However, when one compares my deviation from the “norm”, I’m pretty much the stereotype incarnate when I stand next to Orthodox Jewish surfer Meir.
Surfer and writer Gai Shtienberg followed Meir for six months, documenting what it means to be a righteous member of the Jewish faith and a righteous member of the lineup. What was clear to Shtienberg, and anyone else that read his piece on The Inertia was that it’s not all that difficult to have a deep, if strict, faith while at the same time carving overhead faces at sunset. It’s startlingly easy for us to think that people of the Orthodox Jewish faith would have a desire to throw on a wetsuit and paddle out. Unfairly, we cloister them as much as they seem to cloister themselves. The truth is, if people love it they’ll do it no matter what potential barriers they may come in contact with, both socially and religiously.
As long as the sea and the waves fascinate me so much, I will keep on surfing…together with studying the bible.”
Now living in Jerusalem with a wife and six adopted children, Meir is still finding time to get a session or two in per week. While the waves may not break as consistently in Jerusalem as they do in the Philippines (where Meir went for his greatest surfing excursion), Meir is living proof that you don’t have to give up your passions just because you have other responsibilities. If my article a few weeks ago about how to get off your butt to start surfing didn’t convince you, well then allow Meir’s story to get you shredding.
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