Thoughts & Insights

An Intuitive Science Of The Right Moment

Clouds in the sky and ocean waves are just two examples of visual and observable dynamic complexity.

Hence, for OUBEY, the turbulences experienced when strong winds cause clouds and waves to move about erratically, had always been an interesting and fascinating occurrence. No two waves are identical. No wave is predictable mathematically. A wave’s choreography exists only for a brief instant, is comprised of permanent becoming and permanent change.

Time and again we read articles about the necessity for mankind to progress and control the complexity that surrounds us, despite the fact that really understanding complexity is not a trait thereof. This makes it more interesting to look at surfing in greater depth. Because surfing does not deal with controlling or mastering the wave. Rather it aims at understanding the ocean, intuitively. “A good surfer must be able to read the ocean. He rides the right wave, becomes one with this element of nature and merges with it” states Frédéric Shiffter. He further calls it a “mystical experience”.

It is the wisdom of the moment that sophists talked about, which existentially decides whether a surfer succeeds to glide atop a wave, or whether he tumbles, or even drowns in the whirls, caught by a wave. Hence, anticipation for the right moment, a moment that is unique, plays the deciding role for a surfer. Shiffter calls this “the intuitive science of the right moment”.

Thus, the surfer acts without knowledge, quite frankly because he cannot possibly know. He solely has to rely on his intuition and proper anticipation, because waves act in an unpredictable manner, over and over again, second-by-second. When surfing atop giant waves, as the legendary Laird Hamilton enjoys doing, this intuition can sometimes decide over life and death.

All quotations taken from Frédéric Shiffter’s book “Petite Philosophie du Surf” and the correspondingarte web tv show.