Surfing and Christianity: Grateful Concept

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Surfing and Christianity go together more than most people might realize. The common phrases pray for surf and soul surfing have always had a deeper, more profound meaning than I first thought. For a Christian surfer, sitting on your surfboard, feeling the churning of the sea as a perfect wave looms on the horizon while the giant orange sun disappears into the other side of the world is akin to a religious experience. Especially when the wave peaks and you drop down the face as if on a rollercoaster. It’s right then that the whole experience turns spiritual. 

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You feel attuned to the beauty of the world as a symbiotic transformation takes place inside your heart and mind as you ride the very existence of God’s intention in Genesis to the very end. Then you paddle back out and do it all over again as a ritual sometimes whispering the Lord’s Prayer or quoting from the New or Old Testament. You feel blessed to be alive at that moment. Grateful and humble. Sun burning your back and cold ocean tingling your hands and toes. In the water with Leviathans and the albatross overhead amongst stainglassed skies and liquid pews rolling in perfect rows from distant places. And as word gets out that the waves are good, you are soon joined by other brethren, sisters and free souls as the session become like mass with everybody thanking Jesus and the Lord and each other, all the while, praying and having fun thanks to God’s love.

The sea is the most perfect church there is if you ask me and I am not the only one to think this. There is very large number of Christian surfers in the world to the point it is now a movement. Which is what you want it to be. The movement, Christian Surfers which started out as a nonprofit in Australia in the 1970s by surfer Brett Davies now has chapters in over 35 countries worldwide including in, of all places, England. A native of Jersey, Cirsty de Gruchy founded a branch of Christian Surfers there in 2006. ‘It is about bridging the gap between the beach, the church and the surfing community,’ she explained. Another Christian surfer, and one of its more renowned members as a former world champion, CJ Hobgood once said he owed his success to God. ‘I’m stoked to be able to thank Jesus Christ for everything,’ he said. He also produced a Surfer’s Bible of which an early version sold more than 60,000 copies – 85 per cent in Australia alone.

Christian Surfers are committed to helping and facilitating, not just the international surfing community, but also to faith-based initiatives and volunteerism such as tsunami-relief and other aid initiatives. They also provide religious services to the World Surf League at their events. According to, their mission is to be a ministry to surfers and a mission for surfers to impact the beach and beyond with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Vision of Christian Surfers is that every surfer and every surfing community will have the opportunity to experience and follow Jesus Christ. At its core, the movement’s goal is that every surfer and every surfing community has opportunity to know and follow Jesus. They also have statements of faith. 

Such as: “There is one true God, the Creator of the universe, including mankind. He eternally exists in the three persons of the Trinity—the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person of the Trinity possesses equally all the attributes of deity.” And: “Jesus Christ is God, the eternal and living Word, who became man, being born into this world through the virgin, Mary. Jesus is perfectly God and perfectly human, united as one person. He lived a sinless life. Jesus died on the cross as our substitute, taking upon himself the punishment which we deserve. By his death, Jesus made a once-for-all atonement for sin. We receive forgiveness of sins by turning to Him in faith. He rose from the dead bodily, and ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father. He is the only mediator between man and God.”

For many surfers who call themselves Christian the chance to combine their favorite past time with prayer and helping others find God is an unbelievable blessing. It is a great way to celebrate God’s love by recognizing his gift to us when he created the Earth and said: “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place.” Many biblical scholars feel this refers to the ocean bed because all of the ‘oceans’ are connected into one single, massive, continuous body of water. In the next verse, these waters are called seas. It is not ironic that where all the seas gather in one place under heaven so do thousands of Christians in ministry. It appears to be part of god’s plan.

So, you think you’re ready to begin your Christian surfing journey, and are excited to get a new surfboard and get to the beach? Are you ready to paddle out into the line-up at Pipeline, or Mavericks? Well, wait just minute. While learning to surf is not that hard, it is also not that easy. Before you go, it would be wise to first research a few things. 

A bit of reading and preparation will not only save you a lot of time and money, but also maybe your life. Take a few lessons, rent a board. Check out the various Christian surf organizations in your area. A lot of them offer lessons and rentals. If you insist on doing it yourself, buy a “soft” board and go to a sand beach with small surf. Be ready for a summer-long commitment. Stay true to yourself and your desire to learn—but have faith too. So, with all this in mind, surf’s up! Get to the beach to learn to surf, but don’t forget your bible. 

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