We are all familiar with the negative self talk that goes on in our lives, and unfortunately, that doesn't always stop when we enter the surf. Surfing is such a mental sport, and with so many factors beyond our control, we want to take advantage of the factors that we can control. This article explores 7 common phrases that may go through your head, and gives you a more realistic and positive perspective on them, so that you can become more empowered in the surf.
1. "I don't know what I'm doing and everyone is watching me"
Ok, ok, ok. Firstly, not everyone is watching you. Surely by now you have understood that surfing is a very selfish sport. People are out there focussing on catching their own waves, completely for themselves. It is understandable to feel like all eyes are on you, but remember, this is coming from your own lense of feeling out of place, not theirs.
2. "I don't belong here, this isn't my environment"
Moving on from the last point, I know that it is common for Women to feel "out of place" or like "we don't belong." This comes from the basis that culturally, men and masculinity is very much celebrated in the sport of surfing, but please remember, this is an outdated mentality, only held by those that can not tolerate basic equity of rights.
As a Woman, Man, Donkey or Dolphin, you have an equal right to be out there, enjoying the ocean, and enjoying your fair share of waves. Just because you may be culturally underrepresented as a female, does not mean you do not have the right to catch the biggest (and best) waves of the session.
3. "This is so hard, I will never improve or be able to surf like that person"
Yes! Surfing is hard! And it takes a bloody long time to get good at it, but you NEED to remember, those people surfing really well around you started off in exactly your position at one point. At one point, those people were going over the falls on every wave, at one point, those people had no clue how to read the ocean.
The difference between you and them is time in the ocean and experience. So on that note, stop comparing and start paying attention to whats going on around you!
4. "I'm just faulty, others make it look effortless"
This point carries on from the previous one. Others make it look effortless because for them, it is. They have done it 1000 times, but remember, it wasn't always effortless, they have just had more practice than you.
In their attempts to look effortless, they have face planted so many times. Don't surpass that fact, and give them the credit they deserve.
5. Why am I so scared of everything?
Possibly because surfing is scary? You are in an uncontrolled environment, with so many factors changing at any second, whilst you are becoming fatigued. Take the pressure off yourself and stop trying to deny your feelings, as this only makes them stronger!
It's ok to have fear in surfing, but if you get out there and continue to give it a nudge, slowly this fear will dissipate until you can't imagine experiencing fear in the situation that previously would have terrified you. So take away tip - let yourself have fear, but don't let it erode at your willingness to give it a go.
6. "I am so unfit and it takes forever to get out the back. The ocean is against me"
Yes, the ocean is kind of against you when you look at the physics of currents and waves, but stop taking it personally. If you are unfit, work on your fitness! That may look like joining a gym, doing lengths in the pool, or simply paddling out on a tough day and getting washed in, again and again. Every time you get denied by the ocean, know that it is simply allowing you to grow your fitness capacity. Of course, learning how to properly duck dive and turtle roll will assist you with this, but sometimes the conditions just don't permit us what we want. It's just like life, learn to roll with it.
7. "I can't catch any waves out here, everyone is better than me"
This is tricky, and as crowds become a growing issue it can be hard to catch waves, even for the best of us. I will not ignore this fact, but what I will say, is that telling yourself over and over that you can't catch waves sure isn't conducive of catching waves. Even if the odds are stacked against you, don't give up on the fact that you have to be in it to win it, so head out there anyway, and try and muster just the tiniest bit of self belief, even if only for a second.
With love, Ruby