Thursday, January 02, 2014

Surfing with Switchfoot Offers Lessons For Life

 By Jenn Czelada

When I got a call asking if I'd like to come to Jacksonville and take some surfing lessons with Switchfoot, it didn't take a split second for me to accept and pack my bags. Learning to surf was something that has been on my bucket list for years.  Learning to surf with Switchfoot was nothing short of a dream come true.

I arrived in Jacksonville and surfing day began joining some colleagues the band for a delicious breakfast.  Then it was out to the beach to get fitted for our wet suits (and I thought Spanx were tough!).  What seemed like an hour later we waddled out of the changing room in our skin tight suits and headed for the beach. Our surf instructors met us there with a long line of surf boards.  First they demonstrated how to do a pop up. The idea is to do a push up on the board, swing your legs underneath yourself and pop up!  Then the trick was learning how to stay on the board once we caught our wave.  My pop ups were pretty awful, plus I had the added challenge that I couldn't bend my knees in that dreaded wet suit! 

"Oh well," I thought. “It will get easier once we get in the ocean.” We grabbed our boards and got into the water… the freezing cold water.  I was really beginning to appreciate my wet suit at that point.  I paddled with all my might, battling what seemed like 40 foot swells (really just 4 foot "starter" waves).  I finally reached our desired surfing spot, hopped on my board, got flipped off my board and dragged under water by my board and washed up and spit out on the beach!  I felt very close to God, kind of like I was going see Him any moment!  The ocean is a cruel teacher. As I began to assess the damage to my body and ego, l saw the face of Switchfoot's Tim Foreman hovering above me.  "Ready to try that again?" he asked.  How could I say no to an offer like that? 

Tim picked up my board, I picked up myself and we walked almost a mile down the beach. Tim taught me how to duck under the waves as I paddle out.  I was making great time, thinking I was getting the hang of it, until I realized he was he was pushing my board for me. We got to our perfect spot, he spun my board around and said, "Catch that wave."  I tried my fancy pop up move.  Nope, not any easier in the water!  I fell off the board was dragged hundreds of feet by the current.  We repeated that same series of events several more times. Finally on one last attempt, Tim suggested that I may just want to ride it in on my belly with a goal to stay on the board.  I caught the wave… or it caught me.  I slowly started raising myself up to a push up position, then I brought one knee forward and firmly planted my front foot on the board and before I knew it I was riding the wave all the way to the beach.  Success!  The feeling of riding the wave was exhilarating!  I was feeling one with nature, feeling so close to God, but not in the sense of coming to see Him in just a few minutes.  In that moment, I got it.  I understood why surfers do what surfers do…  the challenge, the passion, the thrill of the ride.  

Recently, the guys in Switchfoot took a camera crew along with them as they toured and surfed around the world.  The result of that effort is the "Fading West" documentary they have been showing at their concerts.  If you get a chance to see the movie, you will be treated by some of the most beautiful scenery and enormous waves in the world.  While they were on this world wide road trip they spent time writing the songs for the "Fading West" album, which releases January 14.

John Maxwell once said, "You can't do what I do, until you've done what I've done."  I think that is what makes Swichfoot's music so unique.  They create songs as they create experiences.  They write music while under the influence of the beauty and grandeur of God's creation from a level that few of us will ever see. I had a rare opportunity to surf with Swichfoot, check off an experience from my bucket list and see God's glory from a different angle.  It was all worth squeezing into that wet suit! 

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds like and awesome experience. My daughter and I would have traded places with you in a second!! Switchfoot is definitely our favorite band. It is great to here they are good guys as well. Have a great new year Jen.

-Roger and Madi