Saturday, March 9, 2013

Soulwindsurf? What is this?

Although athletes may achieve
more due to the zone feeling,
it may come without any special efforts
and top results!
Is it a new technique of sailing? Or, is it about surfing on something different, not on water? Those are the most frequent questions asked by windsurfers when I mention soulwindsurf to them. However, after a few sentences almost everyone can intuitively grasp the idea. Namely, the term might be new, but everyone who has ever felt that irresistible urge for wind or exhilaration when the board planes and the water foam sprays around it, unmistakably knows their own experience.

A couple of year ago I wrote one longish essay about “inner experiences” during windsurfing (it was re-published on the Croatin extreme sports web portal Adventure sport and it was very well received among windsurfers).

How to explain what soul-windsurf is? I will try to do it with the help of the modern concept of the zone – a special psychological state in which athletes, men and women, accomplish the best results.

The zone is a state of perfect mind/body coordination. The mind is calm, and the body does exactly what is needed to efficiently fulfil the taks. All body and psychological resources are focusedon on only one thing: to maintain complete balance and maximum efficiency.

Under a different name, ancient people talked about the zone, as for example some North American natives who could run hundreds of miles without a breake. Modern marathon runners tell us about the same magical state in which they do not feel effort any more. Michael Jordan in basketball, Pele in football, Martina Navratilova in tennis – these are just a few names of top athletes who own their success to frequent and continuous experience of the zone. For those of you who wish to know more about it, I strongly recommend an excellent book by John Douillard: Mind, Body and Spirit.

Most windsurfer are recreationists. Top results are not that important to them. The fact that the experience of the zone is connected to an unbelievable pleasant feeling inside – that is what is important! On the subjective level, when you enter the zone, you feel some kind of ecstasy – a great pleasure not known from ordinary experiences. Of course, when you step out of it, you long for it. If you do not experience it for some time, than you feel an even greater urge to feel it again; you want it back and you will do anything to experience it again…

When you enter the zone, you feel some kind of ecstasy –
a great pleasure not known from ordinary experiences.
Well, if this reminds you about the need for drugs… hm, it is almost like that, but, of course, in a positive way. Some scientists think that the state of zone is caused, or at least accompanied by a strong current of endorphins – neurotransmitters that are known for inducing a great sense of bliss.

You have certainly noticed that, among windsurfers, there is a large number of those positive fanatics, and that their urge is a lot stronger than among practitioners of other sports. Why is this so?

Adrenalin is one possible explanation. However, it cannot explain everything, because there are much more extreme physical activities out there, and they do not cause such strong “addiction”. The real explanation is that windsurfing creates a zone much more directly than any other physical activity! In that sense, windsurfing is the most beautiful sport ever invented!

It is about the combination of many factors like balance, surrenedering, effortlessness, cooperation with natural elements and so on. If they are combined in the right way, they very quickly produce that magical state recognized by every windsurfer.

However, soul-windsurf is not just a description of an already present situation. Recognizing and awakening the experiences might help a faster and more frequent entrance into the zone. That is the very purpose of Soulwindsurf site: put the attention to those experiences with the purpose of making it happened more offten and faster.

However, there is something more. Inner experiences of the zone do not depend so much on the results, but results are dependent upon the experinece of the zone! That means that although athletes may achieve more due to the zone feeling, it may come without any special efforts and top results!

In different words, if you do the right things, the zone will come at the very beginning of windsurfing; it will be yours independently of your ability to do front-loops; it does not matter if you are a speed champion, race winner or you are just windsurfing for your own pleasure.

When you smile, the whole world is smiling with you!
That is the real meaning and purpose of the soul-windsurf idea. It was very well expressed in the letter of Matt Jennkins (Boards 07/2007) when he writes about Hawaiian mana – natural element of excellence – comparing experiences of windsurfing giants like Josh Stone and windsurfing beginners.

This year I tried to teach some of these principles to beginners. So I held a test course in windsurfing, with the idea to create the zone from the very first moment of windsurfing. I think I succeeded, and I also learned a lot in the process – next time it will be even better!

I believe that windsurfers and other windlovers will recognize their own experiences. It is great to see that this can belong to an ordinary person who is just trying to learn how to windsurf!

However, what you evidently recognize is the similarity with our common need for wind and windsurfing. If we are not on the water for a long time… ah, it itches very badly, something missing, as if we are separated from something very important…We have to go on the water, again and again and again…

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