From Lagom #1

Achieving ‘flow’ through surfing

​For San Francisco-based designer Cameron Ewing, getting out on the waves is an important part of his week and he frequently rises early to surf before starting his working day. Here he shares an intimate view of the benefits he reaps from his passion with the sport.

Words Cameron Ewing

Photographs Maykel Loomans

I probably had my first surf when I was 10 or so. It wasn’t until I was 13 that I got my first proper board. I spent that entire summer out in the water just sitting on that board and trying to figure it out. I think it took me another year before I got my first solid ride. After that I was hooked. 

Surfing gets me deep in nature, which is an escape in its own right. It’s part of the soothing, relaxing nature of the pursuit — watching the seabirds flying down the coast, or diving for fish far out at sea. Surfing is front row seat for some unbelievably tranquil and stunning moments in nature. 

So there’s this communing with nature component, but then there’s also the activity itself reading the subtle bumps out on the horizon, tracking their movement as they build and swell and eventually crest — there’s a whole art in just reading the ocean.

And finally there’s the riding of the wave, which changes each and every time. There are a handful of triggers that can activate ‘flow’, and surfing is one them. For the uninitiated, flow is that sensation you experience when you’re focused so acutely on a task at hand (one that is often physical) that everything else in the world just seems to fall away; time slows down and your body and mind feel totally in sync. Some even refer to this state as an optimal state of consciousness. So for me, to be out in the serene Pacific Ocean in this meditative state that is punctuated by bursts of extreme physical activity culminates in a ‘zen-flow’state as you glide at speed across the surface of the water— I mean, it’s just nuts!

Surfing is like a hard reset. It instantly puts life into perspective; any of the nagging issues of the day — meetings, hangups, tiffs — they just all melt away. Getting a surf in before the work day begins just puts me in the right mind set and reminds me of what’s important before hitting the work spot. If I’ve surfed that morning, it feels like nothing can touch me. 

Every session has its own highlights. Whether it’s a manoeuvre I’m working on, a series of cutbacks, getting covered up, throwing spray, beating a section, it’s any number of these micro-moments that probably don’t even last a second (literally). But the pure joy and excitement of the moment can leave you charged for hours, days. That’s what keeps me coming back: knowing that those moments are just waiting to be experienced out in the ocean each and every time.

Lagom #1 cover

This story features in our debut issue, Lagom #1, available for purchase in print or as a digital download.

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