Philosophy of observing or acting - Izu Japan Surfer

Nikon D80 Nikkor AF-S 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G with texture overlay of original image

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Observe or act?  One cannot do both.  If one has great surfing skills, would one ever set them aside for even one day to be a great surfing photographer?  The surfer above was by far the best surfer in the water the two days I spent at a beach on the Izu peninsula in Japan a few years back.  I have very limited surfing skills, so on that occasion I was content with only observing.  

I find myself wondering, why would one choose to only observe?  Is it entirely due to not being able to perform the act under observation?  Therefore . . . if one can, one does; if one cannot, one observes.  Is that a rigid truth?  

Perhaps one could categorize photography as a powerful act of observation.  If so, then maybe one can both act and observe.  I feel very strong instincts to observe as well as to act depending on the situation.  Perhaps then observation leads to action?  Certainly many people see photographs made via strong observation of a photographer that in turn inspire them to take action, and vice versa.  A strong act inspires observation and thus photography.  This seems to be yet another example of the duality of all existence.