Learning to Surf and the 6 Lessons It Has Taught Me
Surfing has taught me much and brought me more than I would have initially thought. In this quick article I will list off quickly six lessons surfing has taught me while in Bali.
For me, the ocean has never been my friend. Fears of what lies beneath has been an underlying problem of mine for my entire life. While growing up an hour from the ocean in New Jersey. The murky ocean waters always were scary as fuck. Why? The unknown. That is why.
One point I would like to include is, surfing has taught me how to accept failure and that will be a common theme throughout this post. Hopefully you can transcribe and utilize my lessons in your daily life too. These lessons are from my perspective and may be entirely different for you!
Let’s kick it off, for I’m sure you are wondering how the hell surfing can teach you anything in regards to life and accepting failure. Or maybe, how obvious these next six reasons will be so you can be like, “wow, this blog blows cause it’s so obvious”. Either way, look forward to reading your opinions, below!
1 – Paddling Out
Something that you don’t think about too often as a newbie to surfing. Or at least I didn’t. The waves are coming in and sometimes you aren’t able to get over them before they crash. This is a must to get to your point of catching the “better” waves that are slightly out further and to make sure you aren’t surfing on the beach. So, theres a few options, 1 – let the wave literally crash on you, 2 – flip your board over and have the wave go over you and 3 – dive your nose down and pop up on the other side of the now passing wave. For a noob, option 2 and 3 might as well be option 1. When you’re new, you literally have no idea what the shit you are doing and watching people can only take you so far. For being crushed by waves time and time again happens regularly. Either you give up or, keep paddling.
What I learned? To get to where you want to go, most of the time, you have to go through a lot of crashing waves.
2 – The Waves;
First off, you have to catch a wave to surf one, right? Ya I think thats the point. Anyways, when starting you have no idea what you’re doing and “reading” waves may seem easy but, let me tell you now, it’s not. Time after time, I swore that this was going to be a great wave and time and time again, I realize I just wasted a ton of energy to fail.
What I learned? Don’t jump into anything new and think you will be able to do what others spend their whole lives learning.
3 – Standing Up
Like life, standing on your own two feet can be difficult. Now just try adding adding motion into the mix instead of just standing. As you learn to even get on a wave or “catch” one, you now have failed forward to the next step, standing up. I ended up standing up the first day out, but; during the process, I failed, a lot. And during this process, I had to figure out a way to succeed. To stand up. I opted out of getting an instructor, for me, I knew I could do this without if I was able to push through the mental and physical barriers saying I couldn’t. First catching the wave, micro success. Second, standing on my knees, another micro success. Third, on my own two feet, actual success. What I learned? There’s more than one way that will ultimately get you to your final goal.
4 – Balance
Great, you’ve stood up! Badass! Am I gnarly now? Boom, I am now swirling in a solid six foot wave being tumbled like a rag doll. So yes, even after standing up, like in life, you need to learn balance. And like in life, you need to feel the moment and flow in the direction that best fits your needs. The main word being flow. Push too hard right and you get swallowed up by the curl. Push too hard left and you’re now out of the wave and missed your chance. Finding balance in anything is never easy and in time, I’ll learn more and more about how to balance properly with surfing.
What I learned? If you can’t balance you won’t be able to ride a wave. Learning it is a must. I’ve found finding you balance on life’s wave is a must for I want to surf for a long time!
5 – What’s Underneath
One of the things I (now) love about surfing is that there are many times during your sessions where you are just waiting. You can take a breathe, you can relax, and sometimes, especially during sunset, it’s absolutely fuckin breathtaking. It’s hard to fail at waiting, honestly, but; it has helped me conquer a major fear of mine. Actually, a few. But one being, the fear of the unknown in regards to the ocean. For me, this is kinda personal but, fuck it, right? I have almost always been afraid of sharks and the idea of being bitten and/or killed by one is one of my all time fears. THANK YOU JAWS! Fuckers and the downfall of my 90’s childhood.. Anyways.. while sitting and waiting, for me, ya thats when all the fears start to kick in. Catching my wandering thoughts looking for a shark fin, or any type of odd ripples of water near you, I can’t see whats below me, a solid swimming distance away from the shore, and I am as far out of my comfort zone as it gets. At this point during every time I am surfing, I have to learn to accept my fears and work past them.
What I learned? Even when you are on top, don’t worry about what’s below for you are only in control of yourself.
6 – Surfing Mother Earth
So you’ve decided to fail a lot and go surfing for the first time. You’ve got your board, you’ve beat all those waves and paddled out, moved past the unknown, you’ve read the waves, caught one, stood up and learned to balance yourself. Now what? The fun part! Surfing mother earth’s energy aka the wave. It’s what we all want to achieve and do, however; in the waters, theres normal people swimming everywhere, theres other surfers, there random objects like massive logs in the water.
What I learned? When riding high, be sure to keep your eyes open to your surroundings.
For me, surfing has brought me more than I would of expected, including how to accept failure, and life lessons that I am happy to have shared today. I hope you are able to utilize these 6 lessons from surfing and bring them into your own daily life. Have any of you surfed before? Have you learned anything from it? Share in the comments or on any of my social channels!
P.S. Thanks to Taylor, my loving partner in crime, we get to see this awesome video above!
Thanks for reading and, all the best,
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