Popular culture has often depicted surfers as dropouts and stoners – and the general population doesn’t usually equate surfing with deep thought. But when expounding upon the sensations they experience on the waves, or lessons learned from the sport, many avid surfers have come up with astute observations.

The wisdom of the waves is clear in some of the better-known quotes about surfing from surfers young and old. Here is a short collection of some of the best.

On the joys of surfing:

“Out of water, I am nothing.”

“Out of water, I am nothing.” ~ Duke Kahanamoku

“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave.” ~ Paul Walker

“Sliding a wave removes our brains out of the ordinary and slips us into the extra ordinary of being there now… When you enter the domain of an ocean cylinder, that moment, those split seconds belong to the Zen part of just being.” ~ Bill Hamilton

On perseverance and learning to surf:

“When you make a mistake, the ocean gives you an instant reminder. You get punished. If golf clubs could shock you every time you hit the ball wrong, we’d probably learn how to play golf pretty well.” ~ Laird Hamilton

“There are no more committed people on the planet than surfers. We fall down a lot. We turn around, paddle back out, and do it over and over again. Unlike anything else in life, the stoke of surfing is so high that the failures quickly fade from memory.” ~ Gary Sirota

Philosophy of surfing:

“We are the lucky few who get to play in God’s soup and we are better humans because of it.” ~ Bill Hamilton

“The times when you really appreciate surfing are the times you’re really sort of becoming one with nature. Surfing’s as raw of a sport as it gets.” ~ Kelly Slater

“I don’t think anyone gets to the end of their life and wishes they had surfed less”

“I don’t think anyone gets to the end of their life and wishes they had surfed less.” ~ Bradley Hook

“We lay it all down, including what others call sanity, for just a few moments on waves larger than life. We do this because we know there is still something greater than all of us. Something that inspires us spiritually.” ~ Laird Hamilton

Anyone – surfers and non-surfers alike – can find a bit of inspiration and understand some of the wonder of the waves in quotes such as these.