An Interview with Evi Tsape

An Interview with Evi Tsape

A world-class athlete in windsurfing, Evi Tsape started windsurfing in 2001 and only 5 years later, was competing in the PWA (Professional Windsurfers Association) World Tour. She competed internationally in wave and freestyle championships between 2006 and 2011.
Her highest rankings include 5th Overall PWA Wave in 2009 & 2011 and 2nd Gran Canaria Super Session Wave 2008. She also holds the Greek national champion title in waves and freestyle, ranked 1st woman in 2009 and 2013.
After a car accident in 2014 where she suffered a tibial plateau fracture, Evi is no longer active as a competitive athlete.
Since her early days on a windsurfing board, Evi has been an ambassador for the sport of windsurfing on Greek television, magazines and radio stations as well as greek and international print, internet publications, blogs, and websites.
In 2008 Evi organized the first “windsurfing girls camp” in Greece, aiming to introduce more girls to the sport of windsurfing and inspire them to get better at it. Between 2008 – 2011, her camps had a total of 300 participants, a record number for Greece.
Evi is a certified windsurfing coach since 2011 and has a total of 9 years experience coaching children and adults in windsurfing. She is also a certified personal trainer, having earned her diploma in London, UK. She is starting her third University degree in the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens as we speak.

You can learn more about Evi on her official website here.

We caught up with windsurf Champion Evi Tsape, who gave us some insights about building – and ending – her professional career on the water.

 

As a pro-Athlete what do you think a new-comer in the sport needs to do in order to be successful in competition windsurfing?

I think this question misses the journey from being a new-comer in any sport to becoming a competitive athlete in that sport. One has to go a long way from starting windsurfing to being a competitive windsurfer, an athlete. But supposing someone knows they want to be a successful athlete right after their first sessions, they need to have a vision of what they want to achieve and the commitment to do what it takes to get there. I call this “finding your why”, as I believe that any successful athlete knows (or should know) their “why”. In order to be able to physically, emotionally and mentally do everything required to excel in your sport, your heart needs to beat about the sport. I have been playing sports since an early age: I started with competitive swimming, moved on to volleyball, then windsurfing… And in between those I tried other sports too, like tennis and basketball. When I first got on a windsurfing board, aged 20, I thought to myself “Wow, this is it!!!”. I had discovered a sport that gave me joy, a sense of freedom, a sense of meaning, something I became increasingly passionate about.
I think to find your “this is it” and then your “why” is the only way to be able to set clear personal goals and relentlessly pursue them, no matter what. Without knowing your why, there are always going to be things that will hamper your commitment, confidence and focus towards your goal. Also, in order to be able to achieve anything extraordinary, you need to be able to design a lifestyle that is congruent with your goals and adjust along the way. Although every sport has certain “skills that you need to develop to excel in it”, the point is: even if there is a “destination”, you don’t know when or if you’ll reach it or whether it needs to change during a certain season based on your circumstances, plus your goals certainly need to be modified at times. If you don’t have your why, you are lost; you need to trust yourself, have a feeling of what you need to do and you need to want it really bad. So, you need to find your why, design your lifestyle based on that and be “connected” to your pursuit every single day and every step of the way.

How important are the weather conditions and how can someone become better in mastering them?

If the question refers to new-comers to the sport, the magic about windsurfing is that the first thing a new windsurfer needs to learn is how to “read the wind” (which direction it’s coming from and how strong it is) and how to get the feeling for the equipment (how to control the sail, in which course relative to the wind, how much power in the sail they can handle and how). If they are learning in choppy water it’s even more challenging, because they also need to manage standing up on the board whilst they are trying to figure out how the sail works. Personally speaking, I try to take weather conditions “out of the equation” for a beginner in windsurfing; I always train beginners in a wind speed of 1-8 knots and flat water. I teach the beginner how to pick up the sail and get going, how to be able to “read” which course to the wind they are sailing in, how to control power in the sail, how to turn and go back to where they started. I go from simple to complex and from easy to difficult. As they learn, I give them more information and more difficult tasks and have them sail in, increasingly, stronger wind.
I view the process of becoming good at the sport not as learning to master the weather conditions, but as learning to feel what’s happening to your equipment, becoming one with your board and sail and getting the “feeling” for the wind and waves, being able to “read” and foresee what’s happening or is going to happen. Another magic thing about windsurfing, besides the fact that it’s practiced on the water which is ever changing, is the fact that- as opposed to other sports – there are only a few predictable & fixed parameters for the sailor. The sailor needs to constantly adapt to ever-changing parameters such as wind direction, speed, power in the sail and state of the water surface. You need to become one with the elements. There are several life skills to be learned through becoming a good windsurfer and one of my favorites has to do with the fact that windsurfers need to constantly adjust based on what’s happening: “The pessimist complains about the wind, the optimist expects it to change, the realist adjusts the sails”. In my opinion, learning how to be a “realist” in life has many advantages, as opposed to being a “child” and always complaining or a “daydreamer” and doing nothing about your circumstances. Sailing teaches alertness and courage and all windsurfers who have passed the beginner/intermediate stage know what it takes to be able to master the equipment, to get proficient at knowing what’s happening and adjusting accordingly.

What you think is the greatest challenge that an athlete has to face during a windsurf race?

I think that competitive athletes, especially those at the top of their chosen sport, all face different difficulties which have to do with maintaining a top and steady performance in all races. The difficulty of maintaining a consistent level of performance whilst competing has significant differences among sports. Windsurfing is one of the hardest, as conditions never stay the same. Even if you regularly train in the competition venue, you can never simulate exactly the conditions you will be facing at the time of the race. Whereas for example, a high jump athlete has to learn an 8-, 10- or 12- step approach before they take off and get over the pole, in the water you can never simulate and calculate in such ways. I cannot automate and re-iterate the moves (jumps and wave riding) that I will have to do during one of my heats. The only thing I can do is get proficient at the various moves I will be performing and make sure that I am “in the zone” when my heat starts, so I can feel which wave to choose, how to place my body, how much to press on my feet and how much to pull or push the sail depending on the pressure I am feeling in my hands. This is never the same. I need to be able to be totally engaged in the process of what I am doing, so as to become one with the equipment and the conditions.
The biggest challenge I had during my competitive career was that I couldn’t reproduce the same level of consistency during my races as I could whilst training on the water preparing for the race. This was mainly due to the fact that my competitive career in windsurfing was rather short, so I didn’t have enough competition experience to be able to handle the stress during a race and I also wasn’t making a living out of it, I had to keep a normal job as well. The fact that I was working meant I didn’t have the time to focus on mental skills outside learning and practicing moves on the water, working on my race psychology / how to handle stress and I also didn’t have the opportunity to take part in many races so as to train myself to be able to learn how to operate under fear, stress and the general vibration of a world championship. I think the greatest challenge for an athlete is mental readiness; how to do what they know best under demanding conditions and against high-level competition. You need to do a lot of mental work so as to be able to stay in the zone for a whole day of racing and keep your focus no matter what.

Windsurfing has often been associated with male athletes, yet women are a key part of the sport. Do you feel there are any significant differences for female athletes, either in their approach, or abilities ,to windsurfing? Were there any obstacles you faced, or perhaps things that came more naturally to you than might have for a male athlete?

Indeed, there are more male athletes than women in the sport of windsurfing, probably because more men pick up the sport of windsurfing than women do. So, yes, I assume there are differences in the way men and women approach the sport, because there certainly are no differences in ability. On a beginners’ level, more men think they can make it than women do. Most people see windsurfing as a difficult sport. One of the reasons for this is that a lot of people that are into the sport try to “teach” their girlfriends, friends or relatives with improper equipment, in unsuitable conditions whilst lacking the qualifications to actually teach someone! When someone gets on a board that’s too small, and tries to pick up a sail that’s too big, in unstable sea or weather conditions, they get a completely distorted view of the sport; the average person thinks they could never make it.

Windsurfing is far more of a technical than a physical sport; although one does need a certain amount of physical abilities to get good at it. I’ve seen many women who never get past the “beginner” stage, not because they can’t do it physically, but because of their mindset. They think that since they can’t do it the first time, this sport is not for them. Or they never try in the first place, because of the belief that “windsurfing is out of my league”. As I mentioned, windsurfers themselves are partly responsible for this (especially as far as women are concerned; women are the ones who mostly fall into the “my boyfriend tried to teach me” paradigm). In the end, more men go to the beach to try windsurfing, more men get through the beginner stage to become advanced windsurfers and then athletes. It’s only a matter of mentality though, and breaking through the different stereotypes that men and women are taught as to what they can and can’t do.

Speaking of myself and other female athletes in the top of their game (not only in windsurfing, but in any sport that involves the development of technical skills), I believe one thing we have in common is this: toughness and a desire to pursue our goals no matter what. A belief in ourselves. We set the bar high, and jump over it. We are ready to try something 1,000+ times until it we achieve it. In my view, there is no fine line between athletic accomplishments for women and men, at least in windsurfing. Men and women can perform the same manoeuvres in the air and on the waves. Yes, men are bigger, stronger and faster. This means that they can hold bigger sails, control bigger boards and they also have an advantage in strong winds. They jump higher and they can land their manoeuvres more “cleanly”, or combine more difficult manoeuvres and perform them more explosively, but they are still doing the same manoeuvres more or less. Yes, there are some manoeuvres that even elite level women can’t do in windsurfing; elite men are more impressive and more consistent on the water. All this is due to their genetics and hormones, nothing more. In a technical sport like windsurfing, all that a woman needs to develop is a certain level of kinaesthetic learning ability, will, perseverance, self confidence, and the motivation to achieve. This is the only thing that separates women who get good in windsurfing and those who don’t. It’s their mind. Simple as that.

I personally don’t see the point in many of the stereotypes about sex differences that are constructed and reinforced in our culture, not even in sports where there are proven genetic and hormonal differences between the two sexes. Girls can do anything that guys do and in sports they face exactly the same obstacles when they need to adapt themselves in order to face ever increasing challenges. When it comes to doing forward loops and back loops and sailing in 2-5 meter waves, both men and women need to have the same attitude. Guys are scared too, you know. You can’t even consider trying to learn the forward loop or the push loop if you are too scared or if you can’t approach it with the right mentality. And this is the same whether you’re a man or a woman. I personally didn’t face any obstacles compared to men whilst getting good in windsurfing and then competing on an international level. In fact, I could never understand why there weren’t more girls doing it. To me, it’s just a mental thing; the amount of willpower one possesses and how one employs it in everything that they do. The fact that I could get so good so quickly in a male-dominated sport made me realise that I am different, special in my own way. Knowing who I am and having done this journey through competitive windsurfing is still empowering me as I journey into the unknown future. Attitude is everything!

 

Looking back at your windsurf-life and tracing your memories, which was the most important thing that influenced your path?

What influenced my windsurfing career the most was definitely meeting Yiannis, who was my boyfriend and partner between 2003 and 2010. He was my role model, my mentor, my partner and he also coached me in windsurfing – although the latter part didn’t work out as I needed it to. I don’t believe that someone can be your coach and partner in life at the same time unless both sides clearly define their needs and boundaries. This is hard to make happen; I have met successful couples that have managed to do it but I don’t think this can last long; you need to be doing it full time and be 100% committed to it. Despite that, Yiannis is the one who influenced me the most in windsurfing; he is a guy who built his lifestyle on being able to windsurf and become really good in the sport. We shared the same passion for the sport and whenever I found myself losing connection or not trusting the learning process, all I had was look at what he was doing. I am grateful to him for that.

 

“On the water, you don’t win with your body, you win with your mind and your soul”

“On the water, you don’t win with your body, you win with your mind and your soul”

Nikolaos Kaklamanakis talks about perseverance, and the joys and difficulties that new athletes face.

One of the most popular athletes in Greece, Nikolaos Kaklamanakis is a three-time Mistral class windsurfing world champion and a gold medalist at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Sailing. He won silver at the 2003 World Championships in Cádiz, Spain, behind Przemek Miarczynski of Poland. In the 2000 Summer Olympics he took 6th place, and in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Kaklamanakis won the silver medal, finishing just behind Gal Fridman of Israel. Four years later, in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games he finished 8th in the RS:X Men Sailing Race.

In addition to full-time watersports, Nikos has recently taken responsibility for fellow Greek windsurfer Byron Kokkalanis’ bid for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He also is a sought-after motivational speaker and leadership trainer for executives, community groups, and organizations.

We caught up with Nikos recently to hear his thoughts about the joys and difficulties of starting a new sport, and how athletes learn to persevere.

As an Olympian, what advice can you give to aspiring athletes who aim high? How can they meet their goals?

Before someone asks ‘what’ and ‘how’ to do something, its better to ask ‘why’. Understanding our deepest internal motivations is the biggest factor in achieving success, and, likewise, the strongest force that keeps us going in the face of difficulty and failure. Knowing ‘why’ is the most important tool we have as competitive athletes – why do you love this? Why does it make you happy? Why do you expect to change your life (through this sport)? We will represent our country all over the world, and the bigger the ‘why’ is, the better we can stand up to the challenges we’ll face and meet the goals we set.

Was there a time during a race or a training session that you faced a dangerous situation due to weather conditions?

There were lots of times that I felt exposed and at risk in the water, especially since I rarely had a support boat or a team alongside me during the years I was training for the Olympics. Most times I relied on my wits and self-confidence to get through the tricky spots; the truth is you never win in the sea with your body, you win with your mind and your soul. There are a lot of locations that are known for their difficulty – Australia and South Africa are notorious for their wicked currents. I remember getting caught completely alone in a 30-knots wind – there was no room for error because even one broken screw or torn line would mean the end. Talk about being at the edge! I never felt that training was easy. Its dangerous and scary, but the fear is something that can drive you forward provided you don’t let it take control of you or panic. More than once or twice, fear has been my good friend and guide – through the danger, rather than into it.

To what extent can a windsurfer conquer the wind?

I’ve heard a lot of people say the weather wasn’t with them, or they were unlucky – but I believe you make your own luck. Of course, sailing and windsurfing are probably the most difficult to control for, and that’s the beauty of the sport, that those ever-changing conditions mean no day is ever the same – “everything flows.” There’s no other sport in the Olympics like sailing, nothing else compares with it. To win at sailing you must become ‘one’ with the natural environment, you can’t go against it. I’ve tried to explain this so many times, both in the Safe Watersports campaign and in events and talks I’ve given, how important it is to understand yourself in relation to the sea. You can’t go against the wind – you can only go with it or stay alongside at a beam reach or a broad reach. For me sailing teaches us about greater things in life, and that’s why it’s so unique. Sailing has helped me develop both my IQ and my EQ – its made me a better human being. Presence of mind – clarity – and the ability to adapt to highly variable conditions opens up your horizons and allows you to confront the unknown. For athletes of other sports, the conditions are far more predictable and fixed – the bar is a specific height, the lane in the pool is one length, 100 kilograms is always 100 kilograms. Sailors don’t know what we’ll confront, maybe a hurricane came through a couple of days ago; maybe there’s a full moon and the tides will change suddenly; maybe a swell I’ve never seen before (and never will again).

Presence of mind – clarity – and the ability to adapt to highly variable conditions opens up your horizons and allows you to confront the unknown. For athletes of other sports, the conditions are far more predictable and fixed – the bar is a specific height, the lane in the pool is one length, 100 kilograms is always 100 kilograms. Sailors don’t know what we’ll confront, maybe a hurricane came through a couple of days ago; maybe there’s a full moon and the tides will change suddenly; maybe a swell I’ve never seen before (and never will again). On the sea you have to live totally in the ‘here and now’ – that’s the biggest lesson of all. Beyond that, a sailor has to be humble, flexible, and above all understand that the sea is always bigger than you, and unless you can live in the moment with complete respect and all your senses open, you won’t find the answers you need. You have to adapt – you have to have all your senses tuned to the environment. Nature never makes mistakes – and we must always be listening and following her lead. They say, in order to ‘master’ a sport, you need more than ten thousand hours. It took me five years to hit my first ten thousand, and I’ve been in the sport for more than thirty years now! But ten thousand hours is the break point – it’s enough to finally understand how the ‘invisible’ forces of the world work – the wind clock, humidity, barometric pressure, warming currents – and to really absorb those forces into your senses. When you reach a point where you hear, taste, feel, smell and breathe the forces of nature, that’s when you can really attune yourself and become ‘one’ with the land and seascape. The word ‘attune’ is easy to say but harder to actually do – and sailing forces you to live with your senses wide open to nature. A rain cloud, a slight change in barometric pressure, a shift in the currents from the waxing moon, can alter someone’s place in the Olympics or any other race. You can go from sixth to first – or the other way around – in a heartbeat. It’s not the strongest or fastest athlete that will win, it’s the one who knows how to read the signs of nature and understand where they are taking him.

Describe a day where you’re training for an important race?

On an average day in the theoretical leg, I’ll get ready for the day by setting out my course, and reading work by other athletes – not just surfers; I have a big collection of stuff that helps me focus and prepare. I also take a long look at the parameters, and draw up my objectives and criteria for the event. Then I’ll get ready for the water and start a warmup – it could be intermittent, or a speed test, or some combo of these. Sometimes I use video to review also. I’ll spend between 3-5 hours in the water and then another 2-3 hours at the gym, so it’s a full 8-hour day of practice. But training doesn’t end there with the physical part, because I have another 2-3 hours of reading and prep – studying the aerodynamic and hydrodynamic rules, maybe watching more video – in order to correct some small factor that might make the 1,2,3,5% difference towards Olympic excellence. If you throw in time to sleep and eat, you’ll see that it’s really a full time job, no joke.

Based on your experience, what are the most challenging things for a beginning windsurfer – what factors hold them back or cause the greatest difficulty?

I think the most inhibiting factors for new athletes are the lack of intrinsic knowledge of the sport and its conditions. The feel of the water and wind, like I said before, take time to absorb, and if you don’t have this gut-feeling its hard. I think a GoZone device can really help people who want to start a sport like windsurfing (or sailing or kite). No one can build a thousand – let alone ten thousand! – hours of experience into one or two weeks in order to get a basic level of comfort and competence, and in the beginning you need some kind of help and stability to learn the signs, and the feel of the wind. You need the right person to coach you, and some kind of objective source of instruction – like GoZone – for when they can’t be next to you. In my opinion that’s the most crucial thing – because some people will be scared in the water, and some won’t understand the wind. It’s super important to start with the very basic stuff – just like in school. You don’t start with fifth-grade, you start with first. Everybody has to take the chance to learn and grow.

How do you see the IoT industry affecting watersports and windsurfing in the near future?

I think of technology as my partner in the sport – my senses combined with technology are a winning combination. We are all learning more and more – via technology – every day, and I’m on the internet all the time to discover new ideas and new developments and new strategies. Sailing has taught me that you should never stop learning – never stop digging inside yourself and asking new questions. So I try to find the answers from my world and from technology both.

Nikos Kaklamanakis is OLYMPIC GOLD  [  Atlanta 1996 ] and SILVER [ Athens 2004 ] MEDALIST. 3 times WORLD CHAMPION [1996,2000,2001 ], 2 times VICE -WORLD CHAMPION  [1995,2003 ] 1 time Bronze medal at the worlds [1992 ]. He took part in 5 Olympics [ 9th in ’92, 1st in 96, 6th in 2000, 2nd in 2004, 8th in 2008 ].

He was also at the top 6  at the World Championships for 12 consecutive years and from  2004  he holds ”the Record ‘’ of BEST OLYMPIC WIND-SURFER OF ALL TIMES [olympics and wORLD championships combined ]up today  [based on the results above ].

He was the FLAG-BEARER for Greece in 2000 [ 1st athlete to enter the Olympic stadium of Sydney ] and last but not least the LAST TORCH-BEARER  LIGHTING THE CAULDRON AT ATHENS 2004 OLYMPICS.

Today he feels equally at home talking to the highest business leaders as a Motivational speaker-Leadership trainer or young school children as a social responsibility.

He is recently in charge of Windsurfing Greek Olympic Campaign for Tokyo 2020 of Byron Kokkalanis .

Ιn 1997 he sailed on his Windsurf from Sounion to Crete in 2 days, in order to support Athens olympic Bid 2004 and to promote Greek Turism.

Ιn 2011 he sailed 300 miles in the Aegean sea on his windsurf, to inspire Greeks and especially kids at schools to act upon their dreams.

The “Fathers” of Windsurfing (infographic)

The “Fathers” of Windsurfing (infographic)

Although the original patent for the windsurfer was granted to Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer, a deeper look into the history of the sport reveals the several men played pivotal roles in the invention process. Here’s a look at five guys whose curiosity and pioneering work helped bring us the modern windsurf board and rigging.

 

Richard Easthaugh

1946-49 13-year old Australian Richard Easthaugh builds a variety of iron canoes with sails mounted on a split-boom. Although he rode these sitting down, the split-boom concept featured prominently in later designs of the windsurf board and rigging. Easthaugh’s design was credited in a patent dispute in 1984, effectively proving the invention much earlier than the accepted Drake/Schweitzer version

Newman Darby

1948-49 S. Newman Darby builds a rudderless sailboat with a handheld sail mounted on a universal joint

1963 S. Newman Darby & Naomi Albrecht shift the concept to a surfboard. Their design features a universal mount with a square-rigged, kite-shaped sail controlled by the rider who stands with their back to the lee side

1964 Darby and Albrecht test the first version of their “Darby Sailboard” & found “Darby Industries” to manufacture the craft.

1965 Darby publishes a promo article in Popular Science magazine

Patent papers are started but not filed

Plans for a 12’ “longboard design” are drawn, but ultimately shelved

DIY plans are sold through the classified ads in Popular Science magazine

1966 Darby publishes an article in British magazine A.Y.R.S that leads to European orders for the sailboards.

Declining revenues lead the company to drop the sailboards and manufacture other products. Sailboard products were begun again in the 1980s.

Peter Chilvers

1958 12-year old Chilvers invents and produces a sail-powered board while living on Hayling Island, England

He sails this craft for pleasure but does not produce any for commercial purposes

1970s Chilvers founds the Windsurfing Center in London’s East End to promote windsurfing and sailing to underserved kids

2007 He leads a major redevelopment effort for Hayling Island to become a windsurfing and sailing destination for watersport tourism

Jim Drake and Hoyle Schweitzer

1964-1967 Drake & Schweitzer experiment with various ideas for an upright sailboard that combines the maneuverability of a boat (including rudder and centerboard) with the universal-joint concept necessary to control the sail while standing

1967 They produce an improved version of a sailboard with a modified racing sail and a wishbone boom

1968 Drake and Schweitzer file for a patent, which is granted in 1970

Schweitzer and his wife Diane found the company Windsurfing International to manufacture and market their products. The patent belongs to the company.

1973 Windsurfing Intl. registers the trademark “windsurfer” and launches its product as a “one-design” class

Drake sells his share of the patent to Windsurfing International

1970s The sport grows rapidly, especially in Europe. Windsurfing International produces boards that are based on a Malibu Surfboard design and feature computer-cut sails, an innovation in manufacturing for the time.

1980-87 Windsurfing International & Schweitzer aggressively try to protect their patents. The many court cases result in a gradual loss of patent legitimacy, and ultimately the company ceases operations.

Aloha Spirit:a deeper meaning people who live for the water can understand

Aloha Spirit:a deeper meaning people who live for the water can understand

Have you ever wonder why aloha spirit is a salutation very popular among to people who do water sports! Is just a salutation or there is something more? And who else could explain better the deeper meaning of the Aloha spirit other than the Aloha InternationalCurby Rule has done an extensive research and has written a great article about.  Let’s dive together to Curby’s article to find out the deeper meaning of Aloha Spirit.

From here starts the article originally posted to Aloha International :

For those who follow the path of Huna, or are fortunate enough to live in Hawai’i, it is common for us to use the word Aloha. We use it in greetings and farewells and in expressing love. But the word means even more, it is a way of life.

Besides these common meanings, the word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights describe an attitude or way of life sometimes called “The Aloha Spirit” or “The Way of Aloha”.

The spirit of Aloha was an important lesson taught to the children of the past because it was about the world of which they were a part. One early teaching goes like this:

Aloha is being a part of all, and all being a part of me. When there is pain – it is my pain. When there is joy – it is also mine. I respect all that is as part of the Creator and part of me. I will not willfully harm anyone or anything. When food is needed I will take only my need and explain why it is being taken. The earth, the sky, the sea are mine to care for, to cherish and to protect. This is Hawaiian – this is Aloha!

As the child grew, the need for a fundamental code of ethics was taught. This code is found within a deeper layer of the meaning of the word Aloha. The code is derived from one of the acronymic meanings of Aloha.

A, ala, watchful, alertness 
L, lokahi, working with unity 
O, oia’i’o, truthful honesty 
H, ha’aha’a, humility 
A, ahonui, patient perseverance

The kahuna David Bray interprets this code as “Come forward, be in unity and harmony with your real self, God, and mankind. Be honest, truthful, patient, kind to all life forms, and humble.” He also stated that to the Hawaiian of old, Aloha meant “God in us.”

So far, within Aloha, we have found an explanation of our place in the world and a code of ethics to help us with our interactions in the world. The only thing we are missing is our “prime directive” while we are here, and that too can be found within the root words that make up Aloha.

alo, 1. sharing 2. in the present 
oha, joyous affection, joy 
ha, life energy, life, breath

Using Hawaiian language grammatical rules, we will translate this literally as “The joyful sharing of life energy in the present” or simply “Joyfully sharing life”.

But another layer of meaning can be found by factoring in the meanings of the roots words in aloha. “A” means “to burn” (figuratively, to sparkle) and it is also the name of mold found in souring foods. “Lo” is short for lo’o and loa’a which mean “to obtain or procure”. Together these indicate a transformation of energy (burning, sparkling, souring food), a product of an energy transformation (the mold), and an effort to get or obtain something. To me this sounds exactly like consciously manifesting or creating. This brings us to another translation of Aloha. “To consciously manifest life joyously in the present.” This is our prime directive.

Another translation of Aloha gives us the a prime method of acquiring the Mana or spiritual influence, to use in manifesting. Breathing in the present moment. Awareness of your breath and correct normal breathing increases Mana and concentrated breathing increases mana even more.

I have always had a Big Cosmic Question about our existence, which is much easier to contemplate when broken down into smaller parts. The parts are Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Aloha has answered three of these, so far. Who, of course is you and I. What, is the conscious creation of your Reality. When, is Now, the Present Moment, that place between past and future, which is the only place Reality exists. The answer to Where, is Nature. The answer to Why, is because we are here to cherish, protect and take care of this being we live upon, the Earth.

I will explain.

The Hawaiians have no word for “nature” as in the sense of “being outside in nature”, but they do have a word for “world” or “Earth”. The word is honua and it also means “background” or “foundation”. The ancient Hawaiians did not view nature as being something separate from themselves because nature was their reality. So, Where is in Nature, the foundation of our physical world.

To find the answer to Why, we must look deeper.

If we look at the root words in honua we find the word ho’onu a. Some of the meanings of this word are: 1. to give generously and continuously; 2. to indulge as a child; and 3. surging, rising in swells, as the sea. So, a deeper meaning of honua is that the foundation of our physical reality, Nature, is continuously and generously giving to satisfy our needs and fulfill our wishes. But here is also a meaning of give and take. Just as the rising swells of the sea recede to gain renewed energy, Nature must also “recede” to renew Itself and give strength to the foundation of our reality. So, just as Nature gives of itself to us, we must give of ourselves back to Nature.

This truth can be found in one the tellings of the creation story about Papa and Wakea, the prime Earth Mother and Sky Father.

“From the first union of Papa and Wakea, comes a male child who is born prematurely. The child is dead at birth and is buried. From his body grows a shoot that Wakea names Haloa. This shoot becomes the first taro plant. The next male child to be born is also named Haloa in honor of his dead sibling and he becomes the prime ancestor of mankind”.

Let me explain the meanings behind this story.

Haloa means “long, waving stem”. This first taro plant represents a staple of the Polynesian diet, but also all plants that grow on this earth. Haloa, also means “long breath” and on an esoteric level, “everlasting cycle.” The life and death cycle of plants sustain all creatures, including us. Plants are a source of food and medicine, and they produce the oxygen we breathe. The first human is named Haloa in honor of these plants and to remind us to honor and tend the “everlasting cycle.” The gift of life passes from a human to the plants and then back to humanity.

This story tells us that the quality of our existence is ultimately tied to Nature. Nature’s continuous transformative cycles of water, air and growth are necessary for existence. Nature is an embodiment of the meaning of Aloha, and vice versa. It is no coincidence that Aloha and Haloa are re-spellings of each other. It is in Nature that we can discover the wonder of our existence here on Earth. Where else but in Nature is the spirit of Aloha easier to experience? Its beauty is awe-inspiring and energizing and draws you into the present moment, not unlike the feelings brought on by love and joy.

Nature is also where we can gain the wisdom to make responsible choices if we approach with Aloha in our heart. With an attitude of Aloha we can gain from the wisdom of the wind and the wisdom of the water and the wisdom of the soil and the wisdom of the trees and learn from the truths and revelations presented by the non-human community.

So, we’ve seen that Aloha is indeed a way of life, an attitude and it even contains guidelines to help us in our lives. It is most definitely a “word to the wise.”

In closing, I’d like to bring to mind another old saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and point out that Aloha is a perfect example that in the Hawaiian language sometimes the opposite of this saying is true as well. So, the next time you greet a friend with “Aloha,” hold its meanings close to your heart and think of the picture you’re painting. It is indeed a beautiful world.

Article reposted with permission from Aloha International.

GoZone IoT – Welcome to the Internet of Surf!

GoZone IoT – Welcome to the Internet of Surf!

GoZone is excited to announce the development of an IoT-powered social network to connect the surf, sail, and paddling communities. We are a team based in Thessaloniki & Athens, Greece, made up of windsurfers and outdoor enthusiasts.

 

Windsurfers, kiters, sailors, paddlers, SUPers – we all share one thing – love of the water. Most of us have some sort of device that we use to track our progress and our stats, and so a network based on watersports makes perfect sense. The GoZone network will harness the connectivity of these devices to bring together watersport enthusiasts of all ages and levels.

 

In addition to the network, GoZone’s own sensor-based system for tracking and training is currently in the pre-production phase. The patent-pending device is based on the wind-clock, and it also functions as a valuable supplemental tool for instructors and training schools. With the help of our Angel Investor,  the first prototype is in alpha testing, and we are ready to launch a crowdfunding campaign.

 

We believe in harnessing the power of the watersport community to gather valuable data, and mobilize in the interests of conservation. There are so many issues that affect the health of our water. From ocean plastic to inland-waterway pollution zones, windsurfers, kiters, surfers, sailors and paddlers all have a direct interest in helping to correct the damage and restore our ecosystems.

 

GoZone’s greater vision is to connect everyone who lives for the water. More than just a social network and a sensor-device, the GoZone surfnet is a connected community of boardsport enthusiasts, from all over the world, young and old. It allows members to post data from any device, share stats and experiences, make connections, and much more. Together we can build the Internet of Surf.

 

Get in touch, and stay tuned for more!

 

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