“Surfing gives you very elemental illustrations of broader truths by serving as a microcosm that we can grasp”

"Turn-on Tune-in Drop-out" — Timothy Leary, 1978; Photo Credit: Art Brewer

“Turn On Tune In Drop Out”: Timothy Leary, captured by Art Brewer, in existential chat mode, 1978.

– Steve Pezman, surfing sage, The Surfer’s Journal Publisher, and then SURFER Magazine Editor in conversation with countercultural icon, Timothy Leary, in 1978 (1,2).

Just one articulation of why surfing means so much to us. There are many lessons in surfing that we take ashore for life after the ride.

How to balance the fearsome view of a story-high barreling wave and the urge to ride it?

Brock Little's gasping drop during the Eddie Aikau at Waimea Bay (1990). What can we learn from this? Photo Credit: Erik Aeder

Bated-Breath: Brock Little during the Eddie Aikau, Waimea Bay, 1990. Can we learn from this? Photo Credit: Erik Aeder

Life is inconsistently peppered with critical moments, crossroads, dilemmas that test our confidence, courage, and resolve: illness, trauma, loss. Often, we find ways to avoid these moments. Dropping-in serves as a model for confronting anxiety. A thorough understanding of the psychology of dropping-in can lead to a more engaged and contented life.

Dr. Greg Dillon is a psychiatrist and dynamic psychotherapist with a special interest in the uses of experiential therapy, particularly surfing, as a visceral and metamorphic point of access to intra-psychic processes. He has written and lectured on his theories for Psychology Today, and is working on a book and seminar series called Surf-Head, exploring the lessons of surf and sea towards a better self understanding (3).

Dr. Greg Dillon

Dr. Greg Dillon (USA)

How can I learn more about this topic?

Dr. Greg Dillon will lead the workshop The Surfers Head at Conference 2014 and explore the Psychology of Dropping-in during the Country Soul section of the Surfer’s Academy on Saturday 13th September 2014.

Full Conference and Day Tickets available at: http://www.surfingdoctorseurope.com/registration/


1. Pezman S. Dr. Timothy Leary, The Evolutionary Surfer. SURFER Magazine. Jan 1978, Volume 20 Number 8

2. Episode 035 – Steve Pezman of The Surfer’s Journal. Surf Splendor Podcast.com. [Podcast Posted Online April, 2014; Accessed August 26, 2014]

3. Dillon G. Fantability Vs. Viscereality…Oh, and Surfing. Surf-Head: Psychiatry in Waves. Psychology Today. [Published Online January 13, 2014; Accessed August 26, 2014]



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