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I believe in the power of surfing. True, I’ve never actually been on a surfboard, never seen one up close, but I have done these two things: 1. I’ve seen Pointe Break so many times I quote Bodhi unconsciously. 2. I’ve met Michel Bourez (met him via a gnarly chat over Skype, as the pro surfer, ranked sixth in the world by the ASP—he lives in Tahiti. And yes, I’m from a small, landlocked town in the south, and I used the word gnarly). If you aren’t a surfer, YouTube Michel Bourez. Man, woman or child, sports fanatic or bookish non-swimmer, you’ll thank me. Have you done it yet? It’s important. This request is not lazy writing, it’s necessity. No wordsmith could reduce this Tahitian’s balletic charnel encounter with the waves into the English language. So now you’ve seen him surf. Guess what? He’s even more rad off the waves.
For Bourez, I’m willing to accept the pop culture adage that every lifestyle blogger and yoga teacher is touting these days: how he does one thing is how he does everything. How Bourez surfs is how he lives. Powerful. Graceful. Balanced. Efficient. Energetic. Connected to his body. Connected to Nature.
I’ll stop gushing and give you words straight from the surfing surfer’s mouth: “The water is our friend, you know? It’s the reason we surf. We use the waves to push us, to gain speed. It is such a good thing to spend some time in the water and just respect it because we are part of it when we are surfing, you know?”
His “you know?” may be the most genuine call for identification I’ve ever heard. He really wants us to know. And the sound of his voice is worth another gander on YouTube. His Tahitian accent blends Caribbean legato with the intelligence of those refined French vowels. Mix these cadences, resounding his humble awe for the ocean, with his elation for just having a baby boy (three days prior to our interview), and his Herculean patience for teaching this interviewer about barrels, the most basic maneuver of surfing, and you encounter that same serene explosive strength Bourez exhibits on his board. (For those other surfing neophytes out there, barrels are when the surfer glides through those vortexes of water; it’s the reason surfers surf.)
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