“Stoked” is one word in the surfing vocabulary with great durability. It’s been fresh for decades and not every surf word can claim that. Words like righteous, cosmic, hodad and bitchen have been used and are way past their prime. “Stoke” keeps its freshness, and it’s central to the surfing experience, to it’s soul. The bible has no such word, but one like it: joy.
You find this word ‘joy’ a bunch in the New Testament. It shows up to remind us that life is not meant to be a death march, but a life-dance. Most New Testament writers were Jewish in background, which meant that although they wrote in Greek, the thought in Hebrew. So when the spelled out chara (that’s Greek for joy), they must have mentally referenced the Hebrew words for joy. Actually, there are a bunch of ‘em:
Simchad literally meant “bright and shiny”—think of that blazing winter sun, squinting out into it as you scan for set waves on a sheet glass afternoon.
Rimnah means “shouting” which is great fun when you are on the shoulder of a set wave that a buddy lucks into. A perfect thing to do as you watch him pull in. Masos means “leaping”, which in our present era of aerial surfing seems very appropriate. And “gil” is not describing the breathing apparatus for fish, it describes “moving around in circles.” Like a dance, or a rodeo flip. Put them all together, and you got joy. Or the way we describe it…stoke.
Joy is God’s idea. It is intended to be the mark of a Jesus follower, a Jesus surfer. When Paul insisted that his Philippian friends “Rejoice in the Lord always.” he repeated it again for emphasis. Bring it to life, this bright and shining, shouting, leaping, running around in circles kind of life. And bring it to surfing. And bring it especially when you may not feel like doing it. Be willing, for that is really all that God asks of you.
And then see what happens. Most line-ups are desperately in need of it. Most lives are too.
I Thessalonians 5:16: Be Joyful always