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Bill Rosenblatt has lived a professional life full of responsibility, dedication, and hard work. In the midst of being former mayor, teacher, owner of his own private practice in addition to co-founding of the Jersey Shore chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and serving for 6 years on Surfrider’s National Board of Directors, this Harvard graduate remains an avid waterman seeking solace in the oceans of New Jersey. With a perpective unlike many others, Bill shares “Some Thoughts” on living a stoked life by recognizing that we (surfers) see things differently. You can read more of Bill’s writings on his blog at http://surfingthewavesoflife.blogspot.com/

In my “day job,” I’m a psychologist. It’s gratifying being able to help people deal with the tough issues they face in their lives. I really enjoy having the chance to try and help folks cope. I must say though, it’s taught me quite a bit about just how lucky I am, and just how fortunate it is to be able to live a “stoked life.” I credit that perspective, to a great extent, to being a surfer. As a surfer I’m perpetually stoked. I know what it’s like to be in a state of exhilaration and excitement, to feel high on life, passionate, connected to nature and to others, filled with gratitude… to feel totally “stoked on life.” 

One of the things I do when I see a new patient is gather information about who they are and what their life is like. I always ask about their passions, hobbies, and those things that they live for, that make them feel stoked. It’s so sad that all too often people don’t have a clue as to what I’m talking about. They react with silence and blank stares. So sad that some people don’t have anything in their lives that they are passionate about. Nothing, like my surfing life, that fires them up. Certainly they aren’t living a stoked life at all.

As surfers we all know lots about stoke. You know the feeling we get anticipating the swell that the forecast models say is heading our way. We know what it’s like to be frothing to get to the beach and into the water. Not much can compare with the feeling of dropping into the pit, making that bottom turn and pulling in to a barrel. How about the feeling of exhilaration from a gouging cutback, busting and landing a killer air, or even walking the nose? Stoked indeed!

It’s not just the temporary rush we get from surfing that helps make us, as a whole, a stoked tribe. We have an intimate relationship with nature, with the tides, winds, and the ocean. We travel and get to see the world from the perspective of other cultures. We don’t take things for granted and know just how temporary, how fleeting, life can be. Come on, you know all too well how the wind can change on a dime and ruin an amazing session. You’ve experienced the pure joy of catching that small window when everything comes together perfectly. We cherish our moments of confluence when it all comes together. We love being part of, as Nat Young calls it, the “surfing tribe” Some of your best memories are of things you and your friends have done in the surf, waiting for surf, on trips, or just hanging together.

If you are not living the stoked life, living with excitement, passion, and gratitude you might ask yourself why? We are lucky to be surfers, blessed with the possibility of seeing things differently, of living our lives in the moment. We all can “live a stoked life” if we try.

Photo by Cyrus Sutton

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