Why I Love To Surf

Image: Ben Brown

For many, the concept of chasing waves up and down the coast, or ultimately around the world, checking forecasts, putting on and taking off a tight unflattering neoprene onesie, and then sitting in the ocean waiting for waves may seem like an absurd idea, let alone fun. For the few but rapidly growing members of the population, this concept seems like the only reasonable way to live life. For us, the salty ocean, burny red eyes, dry crusty hair, burnt faces and sore shoulders is the most satisfying feeling. For ages, people who don’t surf or have any affiliation with the ocean ask , ‘Why do you do it?’. This is my attempt to answer that question:

It’s Fun

This may seem obvious. But isn’t this a goal for everyone on a daily basis? To have fun? Especially if you can do it through something that you love. Even when there is no swell, I still love to be in the ocean whether it’s snorkeling, paddling or body surfing, as long as I get my dose of the ocean I’m having fun. And I’m happy.

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You are Riding Nature

This thought blows my mind every time that I think about it. You are literally riding the Earth’s energy in it’s most raw and natural form. The water molecules that are beneath you have traveled millions of kilometers across the surface of the Earth and you are the lucky one that gets to ride that particular wave and feel it’s energy beneath your very own feet. Pretty amazing if you ask me!

Image: Tanika Hoffman

Every Wave Is Different

No wave is exactly the same. Each time that we ride a wave, there are different water molecules that are part of it’s make-up that is different to the last one, even though they might have looked the same. It never forms exactly like the last one, it’s smaller, bigger, thicker or shaped completely differently. Even on the breaks that seem to churn up unbelievable replica’s of each other, each and every wave is different.

Image: Clare Acheson

It’s a Great Workout

What could possibly be better than getting an all body workout whilst doing something that you are absolutely in love with. Nothing! So many times surfing has saved my lazy bum by providing me with an alternative to going to the gym and doing the same bloody routine over and over again, whilst looking at guys whose vests barely cover their nipples and appeared to have missed leg day every day for the past year. Whilst surfing, I hardly recognize that I’m doing exercise and wait, what’s that? A double bonus? I don’t have to look at guys in wife-beaters with a double nip-slip, just neoprene wetsuits (which is sometimes not the dream either). Personally, there is no better feeling than getting into bed at night unable to lift my arms above my head, whilst proceeding to slip into dreams of perfect waves and beach days.17570_302173110389_451622_n

Friends For Life

Let’s be honest, there is no such thing as an empty spot anymore. Waves that used to be hidden secrets are now being published in magazines and social media which immediately draws an insta-crowd. Since there is not a lot that we can do about it, we might as well make friends in the water and trust me, the conversation never runs dry (see what I did there). To share friendships with people who share the same passion in life as you provides endless opportunities for campfire stories that take you into early hours of the morning as well as providing you with lots of road trippin’ buddies. After all, everyone needs some of those.

Image: Keegan Foreman

True Love

The ocean for me is my true love. It scares me, it irritates me, it gives me beatings on a regular basis and yet I keep coming back for more. I seem to have this problem where my surfing is extremely inconsistent, one moment I’m feeling on top of the world and surfing great, and the next time I surf, I look like I’ve never surfed a day in my life. Having quite a competitive nature, particularly with sport, this is extremely frustrating and causes me to want to hit myself over the head with my board several times or scream so loudly underwater that any shark who happened to be in the water is now gone. However when the next wave arrive and I’m back on my feet, I’m once again in love. This is what draws me in, the challenge of knowing that the opportunities are endless and limits do not exist, the bar just gets set higher with each step of progress I make. No matter how bad my surf was, it always makes my day better. For me, that is true love.

Image: Ben Brown

It Makes Me Happy

Happiness. Pure bliss. Stoke. All of these words are immediately associated with the word ‘surfing’ in my head. Apart from the fact that it makes me happy to be in the water, the state of being ‘stoked’ is a real thing, not just a surfer’s term for being high on life. Taken from one of my favourite surfing websites, the Inertia, Steve Andrews wrote a blog post titled ‘8 Life Lessons Learned From Surfing’ and helps to further explain the concept of being stoked with the help from Coastal Watch worker, Bridget Reedman. So let me break it down: when a wave breaks, water molecules are obviously moving quite fast and as they get tumbled around in the white water, they hit against each other. These actions aid in breaking apart the water and air molecules, altering their molecular structure releasing charged negative ions into the water and air. Scientists believe that these negative ions that are released enhances our mood by releasing endorphin’s and serotonin, which if course is our happy hormones, also released by doing exercise and eating chocolate…so I hear. This process is also prominent in other extreme sports such as snowboarding, skiing and so forth. So how’s that for stoked!