Sebastian Steudtner has stunned the world with his abilities, but maybe even more amazing is what surfing can teach us about God.
If you’ve ever been caught in a rip tide, you’ll certainly gasp at Sebastian Steudtner’s ability to turn one of nature’s most frightening marvels into sport. A viral video of Steudtner surfing in Nazarre, Portugal, was shot last year by Javier Goya of Ura Films and has received over 1.7M views. The “Big Wave” ride was Steudtner’s submission into the 2018 Ride of the Year Award, a competition put on by the World Surfing League.
That’s not all that’s remarkable about this surfer, however. Born and raised in Nuremberg, Germany (not New Zealand or Hawaii or even the Jersey Shore), he first tried surfing at the age of 9 while on vacation with his family and was instantly hooked. After he begged his parents to pursue training, they consented to send him to surfing school in Hawaii at only 13 years old. Now, at 24, he travels the world giving inspirational talks, serving underprivileged children and sharing his message: “Anything is possible. Believe in your dreams and find the courage to make them a reality.”
While Steudtner’s athleticism and message are compelling, there’s something even more profound about his mesmerizing accomplishments. Dr. Peter Kreeft, best-selling author and Professor of Philosophy at Boston College and avid surfer, can attest to the many analogies of the spiritual journey found in surfing:
The key elements in the symbolism are pretty clear: I, the surfer, am—myself. The body with which I surf in the sea symbolizes the soul, with which I “surf” in God. The sea is God. The beach is the approach to God. Surfing is the experience of God, or the spiritual life.
Dr. Kreeft has even appeared in a short and written a page-turner of a book on the subject, both of which anyone with a love of the sea — surfer or not — will find profoundly insightful.