Life is so full of choices. But death isn’t. (We’re all agreed on this).

Before you die, have a good think about which team you’re on (here’s the part where the arguments start). Most of the religions want you on their team (except the Zoroastrians)... but what’ll each one do for your surfing?

Will you surf more or less if you go all god-y? What is the religion of tuberiding? If you it get it wrong, will you languish in eternal flat n’ onshore-ness?

1. ChristianITY

Christians have a claim on their guy, JC, walking on water on the Sea of Galilee two thousand years ago. Same dude also had long hair and a beard, and liked sandals… all sounding kind of surfie so far! Today, Christian surfers are mainly American, or South American. Hobgoods, Richie Collins, Gabby Medina have all famously thanked Jesus for sending them set waves. However. Christians have historically been the chief persecutors of arts of shred, and tried to ban the Hawaiians from surfing in the 18th century. Unrepentant, they tried to ban me from surfing on The Isle of Lewis, Scotland in the 21st century, due to it being a Sunday, but I went anyway. Ha!


2. BuddhISM

Buddhists came up with a lot of cool shit like karma, levitating, wearing thin floatey, bright coloured pants. Meditation, the lotus position, these are all things known to have increased tube time for some people, mainly in the 1970’s. Buddhists don’t eat meat, don’t drink booze, but are allowed to have sex. These days, it’s hard to find a yoga studio or even a front room that doesn’t have one of those giant three split canvas Buddha paintings staring down at you slightly patronisingly. If you were a real Buddhist, you might have to borrow boards, and if you broke one, you probably wouldn’t say sorry (no attachment to material goods).

This hideous board-to-head happened in Sri Lanka, the only country to have been continuously Buddhist since its arrival in the 3rd Century BC. Somehow, this poor girl garnered some seriously bad karma...

3. Rasta

Rastas have the best street cred of the monotheistic cults. Essentially a brand of Christianity, Rastas believe the Haile Selassie, a 20th century Emperor of Ethiopia to be the second coming of Jesus Christ. They also believe ganja weed grew on the tomb of King Solomon, and therefore must be smoked! They don’t eat meat or drink booze, and love, and I do mean love, reggae. Baldness, warned against in the Old Testament book of Leviticus, is staved off by growing dreads. Dreads can be tricky to surf with, mainly due to weight and getting in your eyes, while the whole surfing stoned vs. smoking after the sesh is one of the world’s great unresolved debates.

4. Hinduism

Hinduism is the religion of much of India, as well of course as Bali, where you have very probably been, and it is also popular in Fiji. It might be the most complicated religion, with a myriad of gods, demons and rites; and it affirms the existence of karma and reincarnation, like Buddhism. While there are many, many different forms, eating beef is no-no amongst all of them. Lamb, pigs, and other land mammals though, are open season. There is no real ‘wrong god’ for Hindus, making it seem like a more agreeable, less commandeering faith. Yoga is becoming more popular than Jesus and Shiva put together these days, and is known to be good for your surfing. Hindus suffer none of the big sexual hang- ups of other faiths, and encourage karma sutra, which is kind of a mix of yoga and very slow sex. Not great if you’re in a hurry for low tide, but ideal on warm flat days when the wind has come up.

Appeasing the Balinese gods with offerings certainly seems to pay off for Kelly.

5. Judaism

The Jews go along with the Old Testament, but draw the line at the whole JC thing and the New Testament. For them, the Big Guy’s chosen one is as yet to make an appearance. They practice genital mutilation for male babies (presumably God made a mistake when designing the foreskin on The Sixth Day), and like the Muslims, don’t eat the pig. The concept of heavy localism was perhaps first seen when God told Abraham that he would create a nation strictly for his peoples. The Middle East has since been troubled by territorial claims, as you’ve probably heard. Many of modern Israel’s population are surfers, although they tend to be some of the less pious members of their society.

6. Islam

The world’s biggest Muslim country is Indonesia, which also happens to probably be the country with the best surf, in the galaxy. Islamic scholars were forerunners in astronomy and maths, things that have allowed for today’s swell prediction models. Like the Jews, Muslims also practice genital mutilation, and don’t eat the pig. Some Muslims are against the use of stringed instruments, which, to be honest, the surf world could probably do with less of. Certainly in terms of Jurgen’s rendition of Redemption Song around the Surf Camp kitchen table, we could all do without that.

The world's largest Muslim country doing it's thing for Sancho end of last year.


Atheists don’t believe in god(s). There is no evidence that any animals believe in god(s), prompting some to rationalize that perhaps gods were, in fact, made up by people.