Thank you for your cover article “Totally Awesome” (July 5) regarding how Scott Claassen integrates surfing into a spiritual experience. The spiritual surfing experience is actually a common theme among dedicated surfers, and it’s a key reason why the Surfrider Foundation exists.
While extremely difficult to articulate without employing metaphors (please see Barbarian Days by William Finnegan for what many consider to be the best description so far), the act of surfing can impart a deep connection to the environment through unique and dynamic experiences that only a surfer can truly understand. Surfrider members greatly value this experience and are willing to fight to protect this when necessary. The local chapter has worked tirelessly on an all-volunteer basis for decades to protect these types of experiences in their own “house of worship.”
Imagine if a developer wanted to tear down a church, temple, or mosque in order to build a mansion or cookie-cutter neighborhood — thereby impairing or sometimes even completely destroying the spiritual experience. There would be hell to pay (pun intended).
Surfrider faces analogous challenges, as this type of spiritual experience does not receive sufficient weight within the scoring system applied to environmental impact reports. Since beaches that produce waves of spiritual significance are currently under the threat of inappropriate development in our local area (e.g., zoning rules had to be modified), perhaps Mr. Claassen and his flock would be willing to work with us to protect our common spiritual experience.