Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan:
But surfing always had this horizon, this fear line, that made it different from other things, certainly from other sports I know. You could do it with friends, but when the waves got big, or you got into trouble, there never seemed to be anyone around.
Everything out there was disturbingly interlaced with everything else. Waves were the playing field. They were the goal. They were the object of your deepest desire and adoration. At the same time, they were your adversary, your nemesis, even your mortal enemy. The surf was your refuge, your happy hiding place, but it was also a hostile wilderness—a dynamic, indifferent world. At thirteen, I had mostly stopped believing in God, but that was a new development, and it had left a hole in my world, a feeling that I’d been abandoned. The ocean was like an uncaring God, endlessly dangerous, power beyond measure.