Dawn and dusk. Magical times, especially where the land meets the sea. Perhaps the best times to surf, from a wind and wave perspective. And then there is the light, either blooming or fading on the horizon, into the reflective mirror of the sea. The huge ocean that is breathing to its own undulating beat is full of life. Perhaps no creature expresses that fullness of life, the joy of living, better than a dolphin as it surfs down a wave full throttle, in perfect balance and harmony, dancing to the music of the seas.

Dolphins are borderland creatures, air-breathing mammals like us, but inhabiting the sea, never to set foot on land. They are, like the mythical unicorn, gateway animals to another world. Also, they help us imagine wonderful other ways of being.   

A Special Connection with Humankind

Dolphin Jump

A dolphin during golden hour surfing the wave gracefully and effortlessly – Los Angeles, CA, USA

Some 200,000 years ago, the first Homo sapiens were fascinated by the playful, vocal and social dolphins that had been surfing the waters for over 5 million years. And did our ancestors envy the ease with which the dolphins navigated their liquid environment?

Myths and legends about dolphins date back to our earliest written histories. Dolphins as messengers of the sea god, Poseidon, playing on the bow waves of ancient sailing vessels. They are portrayed as rescuers of seafarers and friends of humans, with a sense of morality and honor.

Diviner than a dolphin is nothing yet created. – Oppian

Few other animals have that connection with mankind. Still today, we have documented news reports of dolphins coming to the aid of humans in peril. Perhaps, with their keen intelligence, and long evolutionary history, they recognize us as similar beings. And perhaps, they are as fascinated and curious about us as we are with them. Often, they join human surfers to ride the surf breaks.

Dolphins  – Ocean’s Best Surfers

Beach Waves

Soothing waves breaking at the beach during dusk and dawn – Los Angeles, CA, USA

For many, surfing is a spiritual experience. The surfer is perfectly in sync with nature, the ocean, and the waves. He is totally in the present moment, transcending time. Or, to quote champion Irish surfer John McCarthy: “Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven.” Perhaps it is the same for the dolphin, too, an indescribable moment of zen.

Awareness is heightened. Focus is all encompassing. You are one with the wave, one with the ocean. There is only this: just power and presence. The ocean invites the surfer, man or dolphin, to perceive each ripple and each moment as individual, never to be repeated across the universe of waves, rhythms and dances. And to experience, in the same instant, wild exhilaration and total serenity. With it comes incredible freedom and deep connection with the ocean and earth.

The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun. – Philip Edwards

Watch a dolphin effortlessly riding a wave, leaping out of the water in what seems to be sheer delight, it is clear: they are truly the best.   

Ever-Smiling Dolphins – Our Teachers

The turbulence created by breaking waves alters the physical structure of the air and water, breaking apart water and air molecules and releasing negatively charged ions into the atmosphere. These negative ions have a positive effect on mood, triggering the release of “happy hormones” and increase blood flow, as well as oxygen circulation. On their eternal quest for perfect waves, surfers inevitably encounter this altered atmospheric state, as do dolphins as they play across the surface of the seas, and breathe that sea-soaked air. Is it any wonder then that dolphins appear to always be smiling and full of energy?

So, even if you are not surfing, sit at the ocean’s edge as the waves break. Take a lesson from those ultimate surfers and lovers of play and the ocean, and get your dose of magical air.  Breathe deeply, and feel the energy present, here, in this moment of peace and tranquility and eternity. A gift from the ocean and the dolphins. How much else could they teach us?