On the North Shore of Oahu there are many beautiful beaches and a few really dangerous ones. Perhaps the most notorious is both beautiful and dangerous: just west of Ehukai Beach Park is Banzai Beach, and just offshore is the infamous Banzai pipeline, a surfing hotspot I remember reading about more than 40 years ago.
A large flat-topped reef near the shore causes ocean swells to stand up tall and curl over themselves like a giant pipe, and surfers with the appropriate mix of skill and daring can “shoot the curl” by surfing beneath the rolling crest of the wave.
Good photographs are hard to get without taking a waterproof camera into the water and floating along side the surfers. I wasn’t that adventurous, but I did manage to get a few shots of successful surfers. Those who wiped out were largely invisible, for the collapsing tube pushes them under, where the greatest danger is from sharp corals and several lava spikes in the area.
I’ve never tried surfing, and I am fairly confident that I never will.
I did, however, serve as a church pastor for 26 years, so I know something about the rush of riding the wave as well as the fear of it’s collapsing underfoot and more than one contact with hidden dangers.
I have rejoiced with several of our students as they experienced ordination to ministry. I haven’t been invited to speak at one of those services yet, but if I am, it will be tempting to conclude the message by shouting “Banzai!”