Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Wednesday 27 October |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Emilina of Boulancourt
Aleteia logo
home iconLifestyle
line break icon

Video of surfer riding 115-foot wave goes viral … and reminds us of a spiritual truth


WSL Big Wave Awards | YouTube | Fair Use

Sarah Robsdottir - published on 11/13/19

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 film 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.

Read more:
“The Sea Within”: A Philosophy of Surfing


Read more:
5 Inspiring Catholic retreat centers by the ocean

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Philip Kosloski
Meet Sandra Sabattini, a newly beatified 22-year-old
J-P Mauro
How St. Jerome’s pun made an apple the “forbidden fruit”
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio replied to John Paul II’s letter with a miracle
Theresa Civantos Barber
St. John Paul II’s perfect advice for lasting love in marriage
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
4 Steps of prayer to learn from today’s Gospel
John Burger
Member of the singing Von Trapp family dies in Vermont
Marinella Bandini
Exclusive: Carlo Acutis as seen by his mother
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.