Zachary Payne: a bodysurfer from Hawaii who feel in love with poetry | Photo: Chris Rose

I was born in Utah's Salt Lake City Valley and didn't see the ocean until I was 12 years old.

In 1995, my older brother and his family moved to Hawaii, and during my first visit, I fell in love with longboarding and bodysurfing.

I took that new love of the ocean with me to Spain, where I lived for 15 years.

I would travel often to Northern Spain, Portugal, and Morocco to bodysurf.

Ten years ago, I returned to Hawaii with my family and am blessed to be able to work here in Oahu teaching Spanish and Creative Writing.

And most importantly, I'm able to surf daily.

Dominick Nicholas Valdivia's video poem of me bodysurfing Pipeline is from my upcoming poetry book "Waves & Ohana," which will be published in late Spring 2024.

I have previously published the poetry books "Beyond Heroin" and "Termites: The Illegal Occupation of Paradise."

What I love about poetry and bodysurfing is the freedom and creativity of both activities.

I am also a member of the Surf Poets Society.

"Bodysurfing" (2023)

Awaking early
In the darkness, my girls continue to sleep

A dazzling drive
As sky offers cure for drought
Hoping for
No, needing
Yes, it is a necessity 
Required, essential, and life-sustaining

Bare feet on sand sync rhythms 
The swim will harmonize with ocean flow

As I float amongst the other bodies
I know
There will be no accolades
Nor priority given
My best wave
The longest barrel
Mere instances of connection
One with ocean
And for a split second

I am the energy
I am the energy 

And to know
In the end
All of this is meaningless
And for the vast majority
Will not be seen or felt

And in the end
To know
That all of this
Is for my
Soul


Words by Zachary Payne | Spanish Teacher and Bodysurfer

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