Life Lessons From Surfing
Ripped body, tanned skin, beach hair, a chilled attitude towards life and lots of enthusiasm…in the ideal world we live in, it is hard to take a person like that seriously. Non-surfers may frown upon a life so dedicated to the ocean and riding waves, but any serious surfer can tell you that surfing is more than a just a sport or a fun activity; it is a way of life. There’s definitely more to surfing than meets the eye. More importantly, there’s so much it can teach you about life.
Surfing is liberating and terrifying at the same time, especially if you’re a beginner. But that’s what makes it so exciting. Even the most bad-ass people say learning to surf is pretty tough. To really learn you have to surrender to the waves not knowing the outcome. You take a number of bad falls and hit rock bottom, literally. But you get back up and keep trying. It requires a great deal of courage and not everyone can do it. Even after learning to surf, becoming better or taking up bigger challenges can be pretty scary. The ocean and the weather are unpredictable. Remember pro-surfer Mick Fanning’s encounter with a shark last year? And let’s not forget the incident that cost Bethany Hamilton her left arm. Nonetheless, they continue to surf. Succumbing to fear and giving up is not something most surfers know.
This is a key trait of a surfer. Gary Sirota said, “There are no more committed people on the planet than surfers. We fall down a lot. We turn around, paddle back out, and do it over and over again. Unlike anything else in life, the stoke of surfing is so high that the failures quickly fade from memory.” For surfers doing it right, finding the perfect wave and achieving that rush and overwhelming feeling is everything. But it takes a lot of dedication. If you decide to become a surfer, you have to first agree to be one hundred percent committed.
Nature is beautiful but unpredictable. One day it will give you the best waves and the next day, despite promising weather forecast, it may give you nothing. Some days you drop everything and hit the beach with enthusiasm and yet, nothing! Surfers know that being impatient and losing it, is simply not an option, so even on bad days surfers know how to forget about it and have a good time while they wait for the waves.
In a regular profession you can call in sick or postpone your work or meetings, but nature doesn’t wait for anyone. Catching the perfect wave at the right time means dragging yourself out of bed and being there in advance. Surfers are on nature’s clock. They rise early and reach the beach before everyone else to catch the best waves that appear at dawn (and dusk) when the temperature of the water equals the temperature of the surface of the earth and there is no wind, which is a huge factor for quality of surf.
When your happiness and life depends of what’s given by nature, you learn to respect it and protect it. Surfers often advocate the protection of environment because they truly understand the consequences of damaging Mother Nature. People who work in places that have no association with nature often forget about the value of Mother Nature and unintentionally (or intentionally) destroy it. Most surfers are deeply and spiritually connected with the ocean and nature.
71 percent of the earth’s surface is ocean and less than 5 percent of it has been discovered by humans. Being in that vast, unpredictable ocean full of mysteries can be pretty intimidating. Spending hours and hours in the ocean on a daily basis teaches you to be humble. It teaches you that as powerful as the human brain may be, there are forces in nature that humans cannot control – forces powerful enough to swallow you and kill you in seconds.