Copyright © 2016 Mark Kaplan
This eBook and hardbound books are licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This
eBook may not be sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this
book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank
you for respecting the hard work of the author.
The Limitless Series
Making Every Day Count (2016)
The Surfers Life- Fun, Achievement, Spirituality (2016)
Surf Instructions: Beginner to Advanced (eBook)
5 Pod Casts
Table of Contents
The Life of Surfing 9
The Surfing Connection 11
How Does Surfing Take Over Your Body, Mind… 16
Comparing Surfing to Our Lives 18
We Seek Deep Meaningful Peace 20
Pursuing Passions 24
Living Life on Your Terms 28
How Do We Thrive? 29
Seeking Challenges that Make Us Fearful 32
Passions Lead to Flow 33
The Pain of Learning 35
Why Are We Here? 37
What About You is Special 40
Elevate Your Performance 42
Find Your Best Environment 44
Selecting Our Priorities 46
Surfing is a Life Coach 48
About the Author 49
I love introducing new students to the wonder of surfing in my Oceanside Surf Lessons.
But not everyone can travel to see me so I love that people around the globe tune in
daily for my posts. I don’t just write about how to surf. I write about what it means to
have a surfer’s life.
I happen to love surfing and surf most every day. I am fine with teaching surfing
everyday as well, because I am introducing several things to new students. They find
how difficult surfing can be to learn and those that are serious realize they may have to
step up their physical conditioning.
New students learn how to handle themselves in the ocean. This is a wonderful
awareness. At the beginning of the water portion of the lesson, most students are
intimidated by the power of the ocean and how it can move them and the surfboard
around at will. When you learn how to minimize resistance, use your board to help you
go through waves, go over or under them as appropriate, you start losing your fear and
increasing your wonder.
Our body is 70% water when hydrated and the earth is mostly water. Is there any
surprise we feel an affinity for being near the water? Or better yet, in it. There are hot
tubs, bath tubs, swimming pools, lakes, rivers and oceans. Consider how much time we
spend dunking, soaking, and playing in water. We know as much as we need to know
about every body of water except for the ocean. Scientists say it might be the most
complicated phenomena in the Universe.
There are so many things we don’t know including why rogue waves form that take
down oil tankers and giant oil derricks. On average, two ships a week sink from ocean
conditions contributed to natural causes. Not many people survive the biggest waves to
talk about it. In her book, The Wave, Sue Casey sets out to discover why surfers want
to surf the waves that create all this havoc.
Most of us surfers are deeply satisfied with much smaller waves but for each of us there
is this combination of mystery, wonder, unity, and self-discovery. So many surfers enjoy
sitting in the lineup as much as paddling for waves. I typically paddle and ride quickly
until I am tired, but so many of my compatriots like to be in the water for hours.
Surfing is about quick adrenaline strikes to ride the waves and then a rest period. This
works for our work lives as well. I have learned how to really burn mental energy in the
mornings and then refresh until I am at maximum mental energy again. The same
should happen in our days and in our lives. Anything running at full bore all the time,
burns out. Few things work harder for us than our heart and it rests between each beat.
Surfers appreciate Nature and think about it whether they are in or out of the water. This
is a combination of “stoke and “chill” that is often attributed to our culture and carries
over to our lives. We are not just chill in the water, we have learned what is valuable in
life and often live with less stress than others because we often have a different sense
of what is important.
Surfing is often the highlight of a surfer’s day and the rest of the day may be devoted to
what he needs for the necessities. That doesn’t mean surfers don’t want nice things for
themselves and their families. But considering how much stress the world is enduring, it
means something to have a retreat where we can recharge our resources to meet the
Surfing is also a life coach. Learning the discipline to improve surfing, as I will discuss,
involves so many valuable habits and creates a perspective that can give our life the
balance we seek. Millennials, as a group, are starting to express the desire for
experiences over ownership as the world moves towards more sharing and renting.
Nature is available to be possessed by everyone and the spirituality she stimulates can
change our lives.
I tell my surf students I have 4 goals for them in a lesson: water safety, handling a surf
board in the water, having fun, and learning to surf.
What if we were given simple advice when we were young:
Optimize your health
Learn all you can
Make a contribution
Enjoy Your Life
And then we were left to follow our passions. I would have enjoyed a life like that. Not
sure I would have been educated. But I loved to play as a child, had great curiosity, was
very creative, and loved everything outdoors.
Some expensive private schools in the San Francisco Bay area are allowing children
custom educations in grammar school. They allow the children to study what interests
them. What a concept. The children get to focus on their passions and follow where
their curiosity takes them.
After a lifetime of going in the direction my mentors, culture, and society suggested for
me, I have instead wound up following those four simple little directions above. Like
those lucky kids in the custom schools, I go where my passions lead and follow where
my curiosity takes me. I have a perspective of what I don’t like and a better perspective
of what works in life.
On the physical level of the Universe, the smallest particles that comprise all matter are
given similar instructions to the four I listed at the top: Use your energy to optimize your
potential and then share and work together with all the other particles to make the whole
Life in Nature is pretty simple. We have everything we need. Most animal species are
not working all the time. There is a yin and yang. Most living things on earth spend
hours every day in leisure. Everything works and rests, tides build and recede, seasons
come and go.
Sea Gulls at the beach spend a lot of time standing around together looking at the
ocean. I know they are also waiting for beach goers to abandon a bag of potato chips. I
am happy when I see Sea Gulls dive near me when I am surfing to get a fish. I am glad
they don’t depend on human snacks.
I see seals while I am in the surfing line-up looking for fish. Most of them look well fed.
Later they could be observed in the Harbor lying on a dock soaking up the sun and
barking a lot.
Dolphins seem to have the most fun. They travel in groups, often create bait swirrels for
easy dining. Have a lot of sex, I understand. Nurture their young. Leap from the water in
amazing acrobatic maneuvers and surf anytime the waves are breaking.
Where has man gone wrong? We are the masters of the Universe and yet we often live
as though we are the slaves of an unknown force. We stress about so many things.
Instead of living in an amazing world, we are spending more money every year
defending against terrorism, fighting cyber-crime, struggling with health, propping up
economies, and cleaning up the earth.
While there is abundance all around, we often live as though there was scarcity. There
doesn’t seem to be enough affordable food, medical assistance, worthwhile jobs, and
loving behaviors. We seem trapped by wanting so many things we can’t have.
Yet, we could have a life full of meaning and filled with more things that are important to
us. We could have priorities that create some happiness every day. We can have great
health, enjoy our passions, be kind to other people, contribute our expertise, and make
our environment a place in which we enjoy living.
If I had a dry land surf lesson for kids to begin their lives I might say:
Make learning a life time endeavor
Make your health, fitness, and spirituality a priority
Work with your best tools to master a niche
Share what you learn with others having the same interests
Start with your passions and build your life from there
Develop a portfolio of interests
Stay connected to Nature
Nurture your relationships
Express yourself sharing your unique value with others
After years in the real estate business, I decided to find something new to explore. Life
can take a lot out of you. It starts robbing you of spontaneity around the age of 5. We
need to spend time finding the life that nourishes our soul.
I developed some new goals: Maximize my health and fitness to feel the best possible.
Master work that matched my talents and inspired my imagination. Contribute as much
as possible with my learning and experience to the world at large.
After a while, I added some more goals. Minimize stress. Live within my means. Only
pursue interests for which I have passion. Include my connection with Nature each day.
Find the path that both matched what talents I could bring to bear and ways that I could
make the most inspiring contributions.
I found a few things I loved. I love eating healthy. I exercise daily which currently
alternates between surfing, road biking, running on the beach, and the gym. I write
every morning. I find inspiring photos and attach philosophy for my Face Book friends. I
seek ways to spread the fun of surfing to everyone interested. I pursue my goal of
raising our consciousness to improve our civilization.
Consider how you focus your activities. How many are about survival and how many are
about enriching your life and fulfilling your potential? Each day we have time for several
pursuits, even if they are just a fraction of our day. We can start with our thoughts.
Let’s say everyone began their early years with an endeavor like surfing. We surfers
learn that Nature can be intimidating, but we can learn to work with the forces. We can
develop skills that can harness these forces as we have great fun. Our potential to
challenge bigger waves requires risk and courage, but can be accomplished with
discipline and dedication. The ocean is a piece of the Universe that connects us to the
The ocean is an ecosystem where Nature and surfing join together. We respect other
surfers and wait our turn to ride great waves. We learn from each other how to improve
our skills. Our goal is to stay safe and use etiquette to protect the safety of everyone.
We enter the water with the desire to fully express our love of this recreation. Surfing is
All humans on our planet should apply these same criteria to their lives. Everyone has
equal rights. Everyone prospers if everyone prospers. When we develop our special
talents and share them with others, everyone can advance together. We should enter
life and exit life with everyone covering everyone else’s back.
Of course, not everyone experiences life like this. We learn there are levels of authority,
power, privilege, and affluence. We are trained to serve with little emphasis on finding
our personal uniqueness. We are taught to obey and comply. We can get caught up in
all the rules. We spend a lot of time escaping the pressures. We’re not always living life
on our terms.
As adults, we spend a lot of time in compliance so that society has order. The work
place and government have their rules so that the people at the top can fulfill promises
to the stakeholders. We start to find that it takes a lot of hours just to fulfill our
obligations. How did the dolphins get their life and how did we get ours? Are we the
superior species? We seem to have the yin and forget the yang.
Aaaah, thank God for surfing. It can start as a core for understanding what makes life
special. The requirements and the connection might give us insight on how to make the
rest of our life just as special.
“Ultimately the Inner Game is about Unwrapping and Enjoying the Gift of Life”- Timothy
The Life of Surfing
We each have a portfolio of interests. Experts say, our portfolio of interests will become
a larger part of our lives in the future as we seek some of them to earn income. More
people are seeking lives that have meaning. We have been in the habit of toiling to find
the promises we expected early on. We follow the education and job path. We are
becoming more willing to drop the drive to wealth that has become more elusive.
We have grown up in cultures that guide our behaviors. The media certainly influences
what we think. Our struggle for survival and security devour our time and sometimes our
souls. Our need for connection and community strongly effects our drives. Then our
need to relieve stress seems to play a role and determine if we follow positive or
Outside influences strongly affect what happens to us internally. Stephen Covey has
said we should build the inside and let it manifest outward. This short book is about
building the inside first and letting it manifest into happiness and fulfillment. Find our
happiness and focus the gratitude to help others. Use our talents and knowledge to help
others find meaningful lives.
Surfing is a complete package. In it, I have found a way to express many of my goals. It
can be a model for finding pursuits that include all our important values. It is a
development of the physical, mental, and spiritual. And it is the most fun you can have
when you are into it.
Life can also be about finding the most rewarding path. People with passion are
unstoppable. The energy that is created from a vision supported by commitment and
dedication incorporates the life force that powers the Universe.
Extreme athletes take a path in which they risk their lives to find the unity they know
exists with all things. Extreme athletes use many environments in Nature to develop
their skills, challenge natural phenomenon, enlist their peak performances and find their
“white light” as Jeremy Jones, extreme snowboarder, says.
We can all find our “white lights” in life. The extreme athletes chronicled in “The Rise of
Superman” by Steven Kotler seek their purpose getting into “flow”. Finding our purpose
seems to evolve when we prioritize certain values; treasure what and who we are; grow
our talents, have gratitude that we exist and share our knowledge with others so that
everyone rises together.
Surfing is a perfect blending of man and Nature. In surfing, man and Nature become
one. Waves are an expression of Nature’s ability to create through chaos and
disruption. Waves are fueled by wind and are at the effect of more influences than
scientists admit knowing. Man can jump into this mix and develop the most skill he can
muster to blend with the chaos that results in the beauty of waves.
Our lives are the same. We are jumping into a crazy mix of circumstances and looking
for the best answers. While most of us surfers are content riding 6’ waves, some feel
the need to ride 100’ waves. The beauty of surfing is that those who succeed don’t
create scarcity for everyone else. We don’t rise to our potential on the backs of others
denying them the opportunity. Our success shows others how they too can be
successful if they desire to follow. I give away my knowledge every day for free in surf
Our lives are meant to blend with the forces of Nature because physicists show us that
all is one. We are Nature. It is not just something outside of us. It is a shame we get
locked into unfulfilling patterns and behaviors. We become detached from this unity
extreme athletes live to experience. We are not separate from anything or anyone.
We can live in the “flow” or the “white light” extreme athletes say they have in the
perfect moments. There are many paths and passions in which people find their
meaning, flow, and white lights. No need to let them have all the fun. Surfing shows a
way to the unity. Use it as a guide to find yours.
We can combine our spiritual connection with our physical connection to all things. We
can find much deeper rewards than just our toys and daily pursuits. If we turn everything
upside down and begin with our connection and work outward, we might see life in an
entirely new light.
“There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all
poets, all musicians; we have only to open up to discover what is already there. “- Henry
The Surfing Connection
Surfing is a connection. It connects directly with the power and wonder of Nature. In the
chaos and disruption of Nature’s daily activity, she creates wind over the oceans. The
wind moves through the water causing water particles to circulate.
The water doesn’t travel. The wind moves through it. When the circulating water
particles driven by the wind energy hit an object like a reef or shore bottom, the
circulating particles become unstable. They form an elongated shape with a peak that
becomes too heavy and topples forward.
In different places, these falling peaks create waves of many sizes and shapes. Every
day they are different. Why? The natural chaos and disruption that are natural to the
Universe play out before us on our beaches. Few things in Nature are the same every
We could certainly observe our lives and know that chaos and disruption effect
everything that happens to us. We often call it fate. Fate assumes there is a
preconceived plan, but most scientists would say that our fate is the result of thousands
of interactions that elude predictability.
Even in the military they say every plan falls apart as soon as the first shot is fired. Mike
Tyson said a boxer’s plan falls apart after the first punch in the face. I have had a few
punches in the face in the form of life experiences that changed everything and
probably so have you.
Control is an illusion. Having a strong spirit, to me, is life’s most valuable asset. Spirit
comes from faith. Faith comes from trust that inspite of the chaos we observe, there is
an important meaningful life available for each of us.
My life was going according to plan until at the age of 19 my family was killed in a plane
crash. This causes a little disruption. I knew immediately I had two choices; succumb to
this tragedy or move forward. We are faced with these decisions often with various
degrees of magnitude. Losing a job, a relationship, an important life, our health, or
serious injury can make us question the meaning of life and maybe even ask, why me.
We need to have a sense of ourselves as being totally independent and yet in
relationship with everything else. Science has shown there is non-locality in which
everything that was in contact once remains in contact. Before the big bang, everything
was in contact. Many scientists say that before the Big Bang there was consciousness.
We should try to grasp the significance of consciousness in the form of Universal
Intelligence. We have special ESP with our children because they share our DNA. We
gain this ESP with our mates and closest friends. The truth is, we potentially could have
this with everything that exists if we become more open and aware.
It has been proven that our consciousness often knows when something is going to
happen and warns us with little voices. This happens to me so often I pay attention to
every little voice that warns me to do something. The little voice is always right. It knows
what is going to happen soon.
What is the Voice? The voice is intuition. Carl Jung defined intuition as “perception via
the unconscious” and the Voice is the end result of that perception— the unconscious
mind broadcasting its perceptions to the conscious mind.
Dean Potter, famous soloist rock climber who has reputedly climbed the impossible
says of the voice: “Right before I have to make a move, the Voice tells me what to do.
And it’s never wrong. When the Voice tells you to do something, you do it: right then,
don’t think, no questions asked. Not listening to the Voice is what’ll get you killed. I
learned that really early in my climbing career.” Steven Kotler- “The Rise of Superman”
On a less mortal stage than soloist rock climbing, surfers pay attention to that voice
when they see waves, and snowboarders listen when they see the lines on a mountain,
and business people listen when there is an opportunity.
Opening our consciousness in one realm can lead to us becoming more aware in every
realm. Consciousness is even how you can measure our civilization. Our civilization is
often rated a zero. Why are we at level zero? Because we kill each other and destroy
our own environment. 125 species are dying every day, over 30,000 a year.
It is evident we need to raise our consciousness and help everyone live meaningful lives
and reverse what we are doing to our own environment. One of the reasons we remain
at level zero is we see ourselves as separate from everyone and all things. We have a
lot of work to do.
We can begin to fulfill our obligations to each other and the planet when we can
experience more connections. We each have the natural obligation to fully explore our
potential and find the unity. Extreme athletes have an advantage of reaching the “flow”
state that creates the feeling of unity with all things. They have an advantage because
they have practiced their skills, peaked their adrenaline, entered an area of risk, and
need perfect or peak performances to survive.
“Surfers frequently report becoming one with the waves; snowboarders become one
with the mountain. ‘It was like I reached a place where clarity and intuition and effort and
focus all came together to bring me to a higher level of consciousness,’ says
professional kayaker Sam Drevo, ‘a level where I was no longer me; I was part of the
river.’” -Steven Kotler
You are missing some of the most exciting experiences of life if you are not having
these peak moments. In deep contemplative states, Tibetan Buddhists report “absolute
unitary being,” or the feeling of becoming one with everything, while Franciscan nuns
experience “unia mysica”, oneness with God’s love.
Surfing is made possible by an expression of Nature acting in a mix of influences to
create waves that break on our beaches. A surfer can die in these waves and it has no
effect on how Nature continues to play. When we enter the ocean, we assume the risk
and surrender to the forces. Our preparation, dedication, inspiration, and love of this
environment help us blend into a phenomenon we can experience each day.
You might see the parallel in learning to surf with what we might face in our daily lives.
Each day we leave the house there is an assumption of risk. It might be in travel, it
might be in our work, it might be in the risk we take to make a difference. If we want
something special, we face the risks. If we want to perform at our peak, we learn,
prepare, and practice. To improve our skills or lives, we have to risk something; maybe
it’s our lives, maybe it’s our comfort zone; for some it’s both.
The more we prepare, the bigger challenges we are capable of facing. They could be
physical, emotional, intellectual, or spiritual. The goal for an extreme athlete is to enter
with confidence and find the state of “flow” to triumph in his challenge. An entrepreneur
can experience the same feelings. One entrepreneur said starting a new business is like
jumping from an airplane and then putting on the parachute.
Brian Tracy, motivational speaker and sales guru, makes the point that when we
become totally clear on a goal or our purpose, we harness Universal energies to make
our goals actuate. Once we clearly envision the result we want, our subconscious
reaches out to the greater intelligence to find our solutions. Every successful scientist,
inventor, musician, artist, athlete, and entrepreneur will attest to this fact.
Consider your life. People have wonderful lives and yet they are not frequently what
they expected. When we first started imagining how we would live and what we would
become, it is often not what happens. The problem often is that our mentors steer us
toward the wrong realities.
Our mentors (parents, culture, society, teachers) emphasize separating ourselves and
using rote skills to achieve success. We often find the gap that can occur between
material accumulation and a peaceful soul. Losing our soul could be more responsible
for all our self-destructive behaviors and harmful addictions than anything else.
We learn to separate ourselves when we should be learning to fully integrate. We learn
to step over others for success instead of sharing and helping everyone rise together.
We chase the accumulation of goods for happiness instead of learning to make the
largest selfless contribution possible.
In truth, when you see how people become successful and happy, it is often when they
make a contribution out of their passions. Others resonate with these contributions and
good fortune befalls the givers. They began with a commitment to improve the lives of
others. We often experience the results of scientists, inventors, entertainers, teachers,
authors, musicians, and entrepreneurs who want to change the world.
I would love nothing more than a global population saying my work improved their lives.
My surf posts are read globally and people download my digital surf products. Each of
us can have an impact in this age of connectivity. We start with the intention.
Steven Jobs created devices that made lives different. He built a brand that made lives
easier and more fun. If people didn’t see the value in green machines and lower carbon
footprints, Elon Musk’s Tesla would not be as popular. It is now the largest selling luxury
automobile in the U.S.; born of the intention to improve the environment. We’ll see how
he does with solar energy and batteries to store energy.
Stevie Nicks waited on tables and lived in a crowded apartment with lots of other
musical aspirants. Luckily, Mc Fleetwood needed a guitar player and Lindsey
Buckingham said he would only join if Stevie Nicks could be a part. Her passion to
express her life experiences resonated with her audiences. As the world’s top selling
album producers, Fleetwood Mac did change the world of music. How did a young girl
who survived by waiting on tables help make this happen?
Famous poets and painters find the same experience. They may starve all their lives. Or
they find a truth in their total commitment to understand themselves and their lives that
bring others along. We each have that in us. We have the opportunity to find out who
we are and express what we see as our truth. It may not be anyone else’s truth. The
real question is whether we have the courage to commit to sharing what we love. I am
sure I could find your button that would have you expounding effusively about
something you love.
Surfing is certainly a personal expression. Millions share the experience in their own
way. There is every shape and size of surf board imaginable. In surfing, we commit to
values we have found that are meaningful to us. Most of us enjoy our private pleasure
and share our experiences with our compatriots. Some take it to the higher levels as
they become professionals or extreme athletes. This can be the path in almost any
interest. I took the route of becoming an instructor.
This is an excerpt from “The Surfers Life”
If you have comments or questions please email me:
markap12 at gmail.com