Freud’s Interpretation of Surf Dreams

I am struggling to figure out why, in my latest surf dream, a Japanese guy I don’t know, borrowed my board, only to return it to me with a huge gaping whole, mid-deck.

In my real life, I don’t know any Japanese living in this homogeneous, honky-heaven beach town I live in.

It doesn’t take Freud to figure out that perhaps the dream is the subconscious fear of a shark attack. It’s only been a few weeks or so since the last fatal shark attack in half a century near here.

I bodysurfed a couple days after the attack. I felt aware of what happened but strangely at peace. Still, the media coverage and my weakness to follow it no doubt affected my psyche.

I’m still trying to figure out the significance of why it was a Japanese guy I lent my board to. I did eat out at a Vietnamese/Chinese restaurant last night. That’s about the closest connection I can muster; however weak.

As someone who considers himself a surfer and spends much time mentally surfing when not in the water, I’m happy with a surf-related dream. I wish every night I dreamt I was vicariously resurrected as the main surfers in Santosha or Morning of the Earth.

I’ve actually had only had a few surf dreams. For something I nearly constantly think about and/or do on a regular basis, I’m actually disappointed I don’t have more surf pipe dreams. But the first one I had inspired me to become a surfer.

The day before I had my first surf dream, in 2000, I was watching the lefts at the IB pier. At the time, I was in a deep depression, having recently gotten out of a long relationship. My enabler had left me.

But at night, a message from my guardian angels appeared and would direct me on a path towards spiritual realization and fulfillment. The divine message was in the form of an idyllic surf scene, with me carving and cutting back as if I were doing it for 10 years. It seemed so real: my skillful, soulful, flowing style; the huge burnt-orange sunset and glassy turquoise water.

The next day after the dream, I called a local surf instructor and scheduled a lesson that day. At the end of the lesson, I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest. I had a headache that I thought would result in an aneurysm. But nonetheless, I was on my way towards a lifetime of aquatic therapy and a new outlook and lifestyle.

We are told by New Age movies like The Secret and its principles of the Law of Attraction that are thoughts become things, so think good thoughts. I’m not so sure I believe whole-heartedly in that philosophy. After all, if that were 100 percent true, there would no doubt me more shark attacks, heart attacks and brain aneurysms. I doubt I’m the only one who jokingly thought their brain would explode from being so fatigued from paddling for two hours for the first time surfing.

And if the principles of the Law of Attraction were always applied, there would be no doubt many more shark attacks as the result of paranoid, yet primordial thoughts about what sea creatures lurk beneath our boards.

I have had two dreams where I have been Indo-style barreled (one standup surfing, the other bodysurfing) even though that’s never happened in real life. I have been covered up numerous times; I’ve never been in a tube long enough to warrant footage in a surf flick (not that that’s ever my goal).

I do hope, however that the dream of being in a perfect barrel is a vision, a portent of things to come.

(But a side of me also doesn’t want to deal with potential staph infection. A note to surf filmmaker Timmy Turner: You have lived life to the fullest; I don’t want to ever risk going into a coma from staph infection of the brain like you did to prove it.)

Until I do find myself nicely tucked away, I’ll settle for the quick cover ups of my local reef break being happy not to be contributing to global warming and keeping things simple and staying stoked since I had that dream almost a decade ago.

So for now, I’ll be tucked away in my comfy bed, awaiting another aquatic divine dream.

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