Surfing for some is an escape away from "life," but in reality, there are many similarities of how we live on land, that can be found in surfing. This is both a little disheartening, for those who are wanting to use surfing as an escape, but can be encouraging and motivating for those who realise that lessons learnt on land can follow through to the water. Here are 10 parallels between our surfing worlds and our day to day worlds.
Persistence is the most powerful trait for success.
Anyone of those super successful people like Elon Musk, or Oprah will tell you that their key to success was being persistent. Having the ability to get up after you fall, and keep up drive and enthusiasm to keep heading in the direction that you want is a trait I would not trade for the world.
This is a trait that is also incredibly valuable to have on your surfing journey. In the ocean, we are constantly beat back. We are caught inside on a big set and washed in. We are going over the falls, for the 5th time in a row. We are getting met with bad conditions, session after session. But that stuff is ok - in fact, it teaches you a lot of lessons. The only way that those "failures" are bad is if we let them stop us from continuing to try.
I know this sounds really cheesy and like some motivational video but that is because there is nothing more true. If you can have the perspective that surfing is HARD and there is a lot of trial and error, but remain faithful to the value of persistence then I promise you it will all be worth it.
You have good days, and bad days.
In life sometimes we have the energy to be really positive, focussed and courageous. Other days, we feel hopeless, vulnerable, and fragile.
In surfing, often our mental state will reflect the quality of our sessions. How do you expect yourself to surf your best when you feel like you have been hit by a bus physically and emotionally?
Its best to be accepting of our good and bad days. Allowing them to flow as the "ups and downs" of life - this goes for your surfing too. One bad surf doesn't mean you suck as surfing.
You deal with ALL sorts of people.
In the water there are all sorts of people. I don't just mean nationalities, but I mean different people, with completely different personalities and perspectives. There are agro people, there are righteous people, there are helpful people, and there are entitled people.
Unfortunately, it is not just palm trees and rainbows - there can be power plays and hierarchies in surfing too.
There can be sexism, localism and racism - at the end of the day we all just need to remember - we all enjoy the ocean, and we are all connected through our love of surfing. Next time you see some foul play, try spreading some love (even if its to yourself) rather than letting those vibes ruin your session.
Its about how you look at it, rather than what it is
Sometimes I have had the most fun in the worst conditions. The lesson here is - its not always how the waves are that make a session good - but your experience in the water overall.
If the waves are a little junky, but you are enjoying the sun on your face, and the refreshing quality of the water, then appreciate those moments. Sometimes it is surfs like these that are the most fun, compared to those perfect days with a heavy crowd and pressure to catch waves.
If the waves are shit - focus on other ways to enjoy your surf!
You aren't really in control, even though you think you are - and thats ok.
Its a known fact that we as humans feel comfortable when we are in control of things. In our personal lives we like to keep things in check - our relationships, our jobs, our bodies - but the reality is that factors that we aren't even aware of can hurdle themselves into our lives, disrupting EVERYTHING at any given moment. Surfing in the ocean is similar, and although we can control our equipment, our chosen spots that we surf at, and our own bodies, we cannot control what is IN the ocean, and what the conditions choose to do at any moment. Sometimes the swell can pick up unexpectantly, the wind can change, rips can begin to develop and rogue sets can come and wash us in to shore.
Point is - if we were in control of everything in life it would be a little... boring? Same goes for surfing.
You can be pushed (involuntarily) outside of your comfort zone - but you come to appreciate it afterwards.
Continuing from the point above, sometimes things don't go as planned and we can be pushed out of our comfort zones without choosing to be. We can have a bad wipe out and end up out of breath and suddenly very uncomfortable in certain conditions. We can be washed around rocks, or be presented to duckdive waves much bigger than we know how to.
In life, this is true too. Even if you try and live life routinely, you are always inevitably challenged in someway or another, often being glad that you didn't see the challenge coming until it was over.
Being pushed outside of our comfort zone is not fun. But what is so valuable about this experience is the growth that we gain, the lessons we learn, and the overall feeling of satisfaction and empowerment that goes with leveling up and exploring new territory.
These events leave us as more experienced and wise surfers/ humans. So don't be anti challenge - learn to embrace the hard and the way you look at life will change.
Pure joy is found in the smaller things, rather than big events
When I think about what really makes me love surfing it is the small things. It's the feeling of paddling through glassy water. The drive and anticipation to get to the beach, its seeing my friends in the line up, feeling surfed out, or finally getting a good wave after being pummelled. It is the smell of wax and the reminder of summer, and the crusty, sun bleached hair, giving me the satisfaction that I made the most of my beautiful environment.
For me, this is the same in life. I always seem to think that "when I have that I will be happy, or when I travel to that place I will be happy," but the most joy I find is ALWAYS in the small things along the way. It is not a wedding, its the smaller Netflix nights with my partner and my dogs. Its not a big milestone moment in my career, but meeting and helping all of the individual people along the way.
We often think with surfing that when we get that perfect wave we will be happy - and we will - but don't forget to appreciate all of the small things about surfing that make up your love for it.
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