1. Ultimate Wave Surfing

    04:24

    from Province of Saint Joseph / Added

    3,937 Plays / / 2 Comments

    Camera: GoPro HD Surf HERO Edit: iMovie 11 Location: Rockaway Beach, New York Surfer: Father Kevin Gabriel Gillen, O.P. "The wave is a magical instrument. It's the fundamental force of energy throughout the universe. It's the fingerprint of God. So when I surf on a wave, it's a foretaste of heaven." Dr. Peter Kreeft, Boston College. When there are waves, I spent my day off surfing in my hometown of Rockaway Beach. As you can see from the video above, I sometimes surf on a waveski with a paddle to propel and ride on the waves. Some surfers have a disdain of the tow-in-surfing; stand-up paddle boards and waveskis; preferring the purist attitude that surfing is about nothing but the man, the board, and the sea. Laird Hamilton, one of the co-inventors of tow-in surfing, explained that it was the only way to catch the monstrous sized waves such as those that can be seen a Peahi (Jaws) off the coast of Maui and the coastline of Tahiti. He also has called stand-up paddle boards a return to an old, traditional Hawaiian way of surfing. Hamilton does not speak about waveskis but thankfully no one in Rockaway gives me a hard time about it. Although I've surfed some pretty good size waves, it is still hard to imagine taking off on a 30- 50 ft wave. Being caught in the falling lip of a wave can send surfers underwater so deep and so fast that the pressure change breaks their eardrums and the capillaries in their lungs. Dismemberment, fractures, or broken bones from contact with the ocean floor, your board or from the seething force of whitewater are so common that Hamilton stopped counting his stitches after a thousand and both of his feet are disfigured from broken arches. The sea can certainly be dangerous but she has a way of getting into your blood. Everytime I moved far away from the coast I always experienced a deep longing to return to her. In Chesterton's book Orthodoxy he describes a man who sets sail from England in order to discover a new land. He accidentally gets turned around and returns to England, thinking it is the new place he had sought to discover, and finds himself looking at familiar things as if seeing them for the first time. Chesterton's story of discovery is a metaphor for his own spiritual odyssey and my own. After the sudden death of my sister from aplastic anemia I set sail in search for a new land. I moved into Manhattan from Rockaway, to work as a stockbroker, hoping Wall Street would be my Promised Land. I remember driving to the beach one morning and hearing a song on the radio by Simon and Garfunkel and could never get it out of my head afterwards. The lyrics are based on a narrative poem written by Edwin Arlington Robinson in 1897. They say that Richard Cory owns one half of this whole town, With political connections to spread his wealth around. Born into society, a banker's only child, He had everything a man could want: power, grace, and style. But I work in his factory And I curse the life I'm living And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be, Oh, I wish that I could be, Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory. The papers print his picture almost everywhere he goes: Richard Cory at the opera, Richard Cory at a show. And the rumor of his parties and the orgies on his yacht! Oh, he surely must be happy with everything he's got. But I work in his factory And I curse the life I'm living And I curse my poverty And I wish that I could be, Oh, I wish that I could be, Oh, I wish that I could be Richard Cory. He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch, And they were grateful for his patronage and thanked him very much, So my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines read: "Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head." Although Richard Cory was a fictional character, I had met several Richard Cory's in Manhattan. The question that I kept asking myself was, "Do I still wish that I could be Richard Cory?" That same weekend that I was home my mom dragged me to Sunday Mass. In the homily the priest told the story of a man named George. George was born in Waterville, a very small town in Upstate New York. His parents were poor immigrants but told George every day, to study and work hard and he would fulfill the American Dream. George was self-educated, worked very hard and in 1884, George played a leading role in transforming photography from an expensive hobby of a few devotees into a relatively inexpensive and immensely popular pastime. In 1888 he perfected the Kodak camera, the first camera designed specifically for roll film. In 1892, he established the Eastman Kodak Company, Even after the 1929 market crash George's wealth continued to grow. George had fulfilled the American Dream. He was rich, richer than a king and like Richard Cory he too went home one night and committed suicide. Every time I saw the stock quote EK travel across my computer screen at work or in the news paper I thought of George's life. I knew if I continued to make money and success the center of my life I would never be satisfied. It is as if our hearts have a tiny hole in them and no matter how much we fill our hearts with the good things of this world, they become empty again. That tiny hole in our hearts can only be filled with an infinite amount of beauty, of truth and goodness. Augustine learned this lesson before the year 400. "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, O Lord" During my journey I had been looking towards eastern mysticism and I was surprised to discover so many priceless gems in the last place I ever expected, in my own backyard. A surfer also had a major influnence in showing me the wonders of my own homeland. In reading several books by Peter Kreeft I recognized that he not only had this same love for the sea but he had a even deeper love for God and this enticed me. I had always enjoyed the major holidays like Christmas and Easter but considered them to be along the lines of Thanksgiving Day, a nice tradition in which family and friends gathered and that was it. But I had a deep love for the sea and even sensed God's presence by the shore. I began to wonder if I was missing something. I found in his writings the most satisfying answers to the problem of pain and the key to happiness. He introduced me to unique thinkers like Einstein, C.S. Lewis, Socrates, Thomas Aquinas and even a Philosophy of Surfing. I began discerning a priestly vocation and studied philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio. After a semester in Austria I worked on a fishing boat in Alaska for the summer. Afterwards I joined a small missionary order and had a novitiate in the desert of New Mexico. I was then sent to study theology in Kenya and Italy. After being ordained to the priesthood in Subiaco, Italy I continued to study under Dominicans at the Angelicum in Rome and eventually transfered to the Order of Preachers. A few years ago, I was assigned to Saint Catherine of Siena Church, right across from (MSK) Memorial Sloan Kettering. If someone had asked me, "Where is the last place in the world you would want to live?," without a doubt I would have replied, "68th Street between First and York." For me, that address was Ground Zero. I had lost my sister Maureen at MSK and I didn't want to step within a ten block radius of the place. It was a valley of tears. Yet the cave where Jesus was laid after Calvary was also the last place anybody close to Him expected to find joy, and yet the stone was rolled away and both the cave and the cross were seen in a different light that Easter morning. The cave was transformed by the light of the Resurrection. I now look back with wonder in how Providence allowed for the transformation of the darkest place of my life into a place I now cherish. When I left my last assignment at (MSK) Memorial Sloan Kettering, to serve as a chaplain at NYU, there was some sadness. Ironically, I am deeply grateful for this sadness. I was sad to go but grateful that now it is a place that I miss. It is not an exaggeration to say that death is the ultimate wave that we all must ride. My years at MSK have helped me to come to a deeper realization of the victory that was won on that first Easter morning. Having given Last Rites many times, I have seen certain individuals approach this moment with an incredible amount of grace and serenity. They all had one thing in common, they didn't try and paddle in on their own but had a radical trust in God's power to tow them right through it. They had a light in their eyes which could never be extinguished. Although I still marvel over what Hamilton has accomplished in big wave surfing, it is the ultimate wave riders that I hold in awe.

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    • kodak collection slash obsession part 2

      01:57

      from jack schwitz / Added

      here are some more clips of kodak greatness, again shot with the canon t2i.

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      • Kodak Collection slash obsession part 1

        01:40

        from jack schwitz / Added

        Here is a decent beginning to my kodak collection slash obsession. Shot with the Canon T2i

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