We too often fail to tap into the essence of our sport. I think this helps…

Like any seasoned sailor worth his own salt, I’d been to the most of the wind meccas of the world. Maui, Garda, Hood River, Baja, Tarifa and beyond.

I’d raced in world championships, Olympic trials, stood on podiums and agonized in defeat.

But nothing quite could prepare me for the paradigm shift ahead.

The road to Jericoacoara is not an easy one. It’s about as far removed from the modern world as possible. San Francisco to Miami, then to Fortaleza and finally a 5 hour drive north along the barren coast. It sits south of the equator on a remote stretch of the NE coastline of Brazil facing out to the Atlantic. But once you’re here, the magic happens.

Countless pilgrims come here every year, pirouetting themselves down the coastline riding liquid roller coasters, propelled by the gale force breeze and abundant sunshine. I was no different. Walking down the sandy streets of Jericoacoara after the first days’ down-winder, I recognized myself in every perma-grined, sun-drenched, board short wearing wind warrior- tired and salty after a full day on the water.

We were all here to find a connection with the wind, waves and water. The big draw in Jeri is the down-winders.

The coast extends as far as the eye can see and so do the waves. I’d come from a racing background where the goal was to get around the course the fastest, making the fewest mistakes.

You’d follow a set of rules within a limited playing field. The objective “was to become a ‘master-player’- who is perfectly skilled at the game and who can play it as if they already know the outcome,” according to James Carse of Finite & Infinite Games.

Now, the game, if you can call it that, was just to enjoy the ride & find the flow in the present moment. There was no winning or losing. This was the ‘anti-race’ where the most turns, cutbacks & gybes comes out with the biggest smile.

This was a fundamental shift in thinking. For the full story- check it out.

Steve Bodner