So, I'm going to preface this with the following: If you dislike sentimentality or think people shouldn't ever show their feelings, get out. I don't mean to be harsh, but I just anticipate—because so many people on this site are assholes—that people will try to come in and tell me how much of a ***** I'm being or whatever. I don't care. I wanted to share how I feel about surfing with people who might appreciate it.

I also want to know if anybody else feels the same way and I want to hear your stories, so please post them.

Anyway, surfing for me has really been an important part of my life. Now I'm not saying I live in a hut on the beach and don't work and surf every single day. I'm not saying that. But it's been important for me, and here's why:

Surfing was a family thing for me. My mom and dad both surfed back in the late 60s and early 70s. Since I was born, every moment of free time my family could squander was spent in salt water—fishing, sailing, boating, and surfing. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad anchoring up in a cove on our sailboat and throwing a board overboard for me to paddle around on.

My dad taught me how to surf from the beginning, paddling around coves, pushing me into foam on the inside on a soft-top right up until I was surfing right there with him. I've had amazing experiences with him, like surfing right amongst a giant school of cow rays that surprisingly made an appearance this far north a few summers ago. It's one of the best feelings to pop up on a great wave and realize that your dad's right there next to you and high five him as you trim up right next to him. I've had the time of my life surfing with my dad and I know that I'll carry that with me for life, long after he's gone and I can only hope that one day I'll have a kid to share the same passion with. It's a memory thing for me. Nobody will ever be able to take away those memories of great waves and high fives and hugs and family. I have the waves to thank for that . . .

Being out in the ocean just clears things up for me. I get out there and any heartache or problems just seem to become so much less important. Sometimes I'll just be completely down and wonder if life is even worth living but then I'll get out there and realize how much I love life, and the memories surfing triggers makes me remember how much people love me and it makes it all better.

I know I probably sound like a complete ***** right now, but I don't really care. Surfing's just helped me so much in my life and I don't really think most people who aren't surfers understand it.

Does anybody else here feel the same way I do, or am I alone in feeling this way? I really do want to hear how surfing has impacted other people's lives.