This is sage advice coming from Rabbi Nachum Shifren, aka "the Surfing Rabbi," who keeps the Torah in a cloth bag under the lifeguard stand while he's out on a wave hanging ten, his long beard blowing in the spray. The Surfing Rabbi believes that surfing is an act of prayer, and he's not alone.
In his memoir, West of Jesus, Steven Kotler sets out to find the origins of a very particular surf legend about a surfer called "the conductor" who can control the weather with a human bone. In doing so, Kotler ends up exploring why surfing - not tennis, archery, softball, or NASCAR - is unique in the sense of spiritual fulfillment it provides the practitioner.
"There have been many theories about the spiritual nature of this sport, and most involve some form of watery communion. At the far end of this spectrum are the surfers who believe that since the ocean was the place where life began on this planet, the act of riding on a wave allows the surfer to momentarily connect with this living memory. In Jungian terms, surfing gives the surfer access to the collective unconscious of the planet."
The author's quest takes him from his California home to waves in Mexico, New Zealand, and finally Hawaii. Whether or not he solves the mystery of the conductor becomes insignificant because Kotler, in a short 266 pages, has by then taken the reader on a survey course in spiritual thought that ranges from neuro-chemical theories of how humans are hard-wired for mystical experiences to Taoist thought and why over 70,000 Australians polled list their religion as Jedi.
A surfer himself, Kotler crafts brilliant descriptions of waves and explanations of the mechanics of surfing. In the following passage, he gives the reader a brief lesson in wave anatomy:
West of Jesus is a book about surfing in the same way that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a book about motorcycles. If you liked the latter, I'd highly recommend the former for the way Steven Kotler explores questions of belief from a nontraditional stance and provides the reader with plenty of source material for further investigation.