What is Your Reason for Surfing?

You just have to work out what your relationship is with the ocean.

Sitting in the lineup

It was nearing sunset, the sun was low on the horizon and had turned the crystal blue waters of Lymans surf break into a body of water streaked with gold. The wind had all but died off and the small swell invited us into a late afternoon wave of surfing love. At that moment I couldn’t have wanted or wished to be anywhere else. Things were perfect as they were.

There were 4 of us out there including a local Hawaiian on a Stand Up Paddle Board. As with everyone, we had met that week, he was friendly, easy with advice on the break and open with local stories. The smooth and casual way he operated the board, told me he was comfortable in the water moving effortlessly around the break. I asked him, how long he had been surfing and how long it took him to manage all surf conditions. His answer surprised me;

‘It’s not about your skill, it’s about your relationship with the ocean, how you read the surf conditions of the day so you can surf accordingly and understanding your reason to surf’

north beach_

2017 has become a year of surfing. I made a goal early in the year to focus on surfing and strengthening my connection to the ocean. I have always loved the outdoors. Being outside is like being home and being in the ocean is like being at home on your favourite couch – once you are on it and in your space then nothing will move you.

So this year has become wrapped up in daily ocean sessions, monthly trips away and really just getting in there and getting my hands dirty and my face full of sea water mixed with zinc and surf board wax and really understanding my ocean environment. I have sat with surfers, chatted with surfers, hung out int he water with surfers and surfed and along the way I have discovered;

  • I have fallen deeply in love with the ocean’s beautiful energy and how it flows and moves you.
  • I have learnt the art of patience and the rewards that come when you sit and watch a surf break  before rushing in and trying to make friends with a break before really understanding how it is working. Waves have a lot of detail which they will reveal to the person who is willing to sit and watch them and quite often your success on the day is in the detail.
  • I have learnt that body surfing and swimming in the ocean provides you with an intimacy with the waves that will only serve to helping your surfing journey.
  • I have developed a deep love of just sitting out on my board and allowing the water to rush past my legs and through my fingertips.
  • I have developed a deep love of my surf board.
  • I have discovered that it’s ok to take the smaller waves and to not be afraid of paddling for the bigger ones. Either way I am good enough to do both and will learn whether I make the line or wipe out.
  • I have learnt that its perfectly ok to sit and watch on the beach and not paddle out to a break.
  • I feel more quiet, relaxed and focused when I am in the water. There is a certain sense of peace that swirls around me and it is like my version of meditation.
  • I have learnt that airlines will not love your board quite as much as you do so pack it and protect it well before a flight.
  • I have learnt that pure joy can be as simple as riding a wave
TC 8
Turquoise Coast

Interestingly enough, the reflection above has only come after the comment from the Hawaiian surfer. For days after that surf, I kept asking myself ‘why are you surfing instead of hiking, mountain biking, trail running, skiing?’

The answer is simply that I surf because;

The ocean makes me feel like a more beautiful, more focused, happier and better version of myself. (maybe I was supposed to be a mermaid after all) It is an environment where I am constantly and will constantly be learning and that in itself I love.

So, when next you are frustrated in a lineup because you can’t quite paddle onto a wave, not having a good surf (is that even possible?) or stand up quick enough…maybe have a think about why you are out there in the first place and what your relationship with the ocean actually is and once you have had a think, adjust your surfing accordingly.