I have to be completely honest with you—I struggle with idolatry. I know, I know, I’m not supposed to worship anything other than my one true God, but this is a reality I face and have for a while. I idolize surfers! There’s just something about them: the way they walk and talk, their dress and style of music, and how they spend long hours at dawn and dusk riding these foamy creations of God. I love it all! When I lived in southern Cali, I had my opportunity to break into the scene, instead I ended up settling for a sponge board (a.k.a. boogie/body board for those of you lacking the proper surf dialogue). I regret it to this day.
What is it about surfers, and the element of surfing itself that perks the attention of so many? Anyone who has rented an epic movie like The Endless Summer, has visualized him/herself gliding across the white crest at Baja, “toobing” a barrel (a hollow wave) in the blue-green waters of Maui, or conquering the massive walls at Pipeline. Then reality hits the viewers again, and they remember that they live in central Wyoming, where the nearest body of water is Pa Pa’s fishpond. If this is you, I have good news, you can still tap into the culture of surfing without popping in a DVD or taking a trip to Hawaii.
Josh Redd, a twenty-eight year old student, and surfer from Lakeland, FL, has founded an organization titled Surfers of Faith. I recently had a chance to pick his brain and ask him a few questions about himself, his love for God, and his passion for surfing and ministry:
[Relevant Magazine] What are you doing in Lakeland, FL?
[Josh Redd] I am finishing up my BA Degree in Marketing, in which I will be graduating April ‘04.
[JR] Thanks. I am also the sales manager at Havoc Surf Shop, and have been doing that for a few years.
[RM] Where did the idea for Surfers of Faith (SOF) come from?
[JR] Surfers Of Faith was birthed in 2000 right after I was saved. When the Lord came into my life, He gave me a vision and a desire to reach the lost in the surfing community. Once God confirmed that in my life, I then began doing Bible studies with local surfers in the area.
[RM] So, do you guys go out to the beach and surf while you read your Bible? How does it all work?
[JR] At first that was all it was, Bible Studies only. Once more people started getting involved, I, with the expertise of my buddy Chad Neuman, created SurfersOfFaith.com to see if other people wanted to get involved … it then exploded!
[RM] What can people, who want to tap into the site, expect to find?
[JR] I started drawing up blue prints and sat down with Chad and created something that was quite unique, and nothing of its kind around the globe. With Daily Devotionals updated every morning to Global Surf Reports, to Live Chat Forums, to Testimonials from pro-surfers, and with so much other awesome features like, Surf Forecasts, Mission Trips, Calendar/Events, Message Forum, as well as the SOF Store and several other features, this site offers both Christian and non-Christian surfers something more than your traditional surf website.
[RM] I was actually on the site a few days ago, and I noticed that you guys sell everything from mugs to key chains with the SOF logo.
[JR] SurfersOfFaith.com has a cool SOF Store where you can purchase just about anything. The profits made from the store only go towards maintaining the website. From book bags, to hats, to mouse pads, to lunch boxes, one can get hooked with just about anything.
[RM] I didn’t see any boxers with SOF … can I get the hook up?
[JR] That will have to be something we’ll need to work just for you, man!
[RM] I know you spoke in Australia not too long ago at a surfer’s convention. How was that?
[JR] I have spoken at several churches and have traveled/surfed in many countries, but the Australia trip was something else. Last year, I went to the Surf Ministries International convention, where everyone involved is in some type of surf ministry. We came together and talked about different strategies and ministry opportunities on reaching others with the gospel in the surfing community. It was a great experience to speak, and to hear other surfers from around the world share their heart/vision to see the surfing community come to know Jesus Christ in a personal relationship.
[RM] SOF chapters are popping up all over the country. How would one go about starting their own group?
[JR] Currently there are five Surfers of Faith chapters: California, Georgia, South Carolina, and two in Florida. If someone would like to get involved with SOF they can contact me at [email protected] or go to www.SurfersOfFaith.com. There is a lot of opportunity in SOF and we would love to answer any questions someone might have regarding becoming a member or starting a chapter in their community.
[RM] What do the SOF chapters do?
[JR] Each chapter does things a little different, but for the most part each chapter has: weekly Bible studies, beach evangelism, campouts, surf trips and other cool stuff like contests and local concerts.
[RM] Are amateur surfers or non-surfers welcome to join?
[JR] Anyone and everyone is welcome, whether you are learning to surf, passionate about the ocean, surfed for 45 years or whatever—the bottom line is this—Christ is coming and every believer needs to do his/her part in getting the harvest ready!
[RM] How far would you like to take SOF for the future?
[JR] It is an awesome thing to see God move and change lives. God has taken me out of a lot of junk, and He has blessed me with an awesome ministry that is bearing fruit across the country, but it is only because of those involved who share a similar vision. I really don’t know what the future holds, but I do know who holds the future. SOF will soar in 2004!
[RM] Thanks, Redd. Appreciate it, bro!
[JR] Thanks so much for the opportunity to share, man.
[Jared Feria is a published author and the Executive Director of In His Fullness, Inc, an organization that helps men recapture their heart and soul. He can be reached through his website www.inhisfullness.com.]
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