Sam Bleakley is a presenter, writer and former multiple European Longboard Champion from Sennen, Cornwall. Sam hosts the live broadcast for the World Surf League at the World Longboard Championships, recently held in China and Papua New Guinea. Sam will be talking about his new book Mindfulness & Surfing: reflections for saltwater souls and his film work with emerging surf cultures in Papua New Guinea and West Africa. He will also celebrate surfing with his family in Cornwall, surfing as dance with reference to women’s longboarding, and his explorations of Haiti for his recently completed PhD.
Mindfulness is usually described as an inward-looking process of stopping, reflecting and clearing the mind in learning a discipline of meditation or Zen awareness. Surfing as mindfulness, however, does something a little different. It does not simply take us inside ourselves to find a still centre, but rather orients us within the environment to find place. We are immersed in water and the salt-soaked zone just above the sea’s skin. Mindfulness in surfing is then, paradoxically, a moving out of mind into the world, moving against the grain of inner-directed thought and reflection into an acute sense of what the environment demands of us – where winds, currents, beach shapes, wave types and lunar-tidal movements meet. In this sense, we move from ‘egology’ to ecology and we generate a ‘bodymindfulness’, locating ourselves in place and space.