Surfing is something that cleans your mind, an addiction, and something we always seek.
Have you ever woken up in the morning and just felt like it was a bad day? Maybe you “slept on the wrong side of the bed” and now your whole day feels messed up. What do you on days like this? Maybe nothing. Just wait until the day is over and hope tomorrow will be better. Some people might resort to drugs or alcohol. Everyone deals with it differently. Surfers go surfing. No matter if it is a good or bad day, there is something about catching a wave and being in the ocean that clears the mind and makes any day better.
It all starts as your feet first touch the cold ocean water. You feel a little shiver run through your body from your feet, up your spine and to your head. A sudden shock on the senses. As you work your way out to sea, the rest of your body joins your feet in the cold water. Slowly you adjust to the temperature. As you start paddling out, a wave breaks outside. You duck dive, dipping your head under the water for the first time. Instantly any hesitations or thoughts are washed away. When you come up for a breath, it’s now just you and the ocean.
Depending on the conditions, your first wave might be right away or you could find yourself sitting on your board for what seems like forever. Once that wave comes, you paddle for it. Just as the wave starts to pull you up and over, you pop up to your feet. There is a burst of acceleration and you begin to glide across the water. Nothing else matters except that moment and that wave. You are stoked. Quickly you paddle back out to catch more waves.
Sometimes surfers get caught up in surfing like it’s a drug. An addiction starts with that first wave and keeps growing as you surf better waves. The more you surf, the higher your standards become. Every session is fun, but there is an indescribable effect of surfing a perfect wave. Everyone’s “perfect wave” is different. For someone who just started surfing it could simply be an unbroken wave. For a die hard surfer who has been surfing for their entire life, it might be a XXL wave or a perfect barrel. No matter your level, when you surf that wave you are stoked. Once you catch a perfect wave, all you want is more perfect waves.
I started to see my standards for waves change over time. The more I surfed, the more I just wanted perfection. I mean what can I say, it is a surfer’s dream to surf perfect uncrowded waves. Day after day I found myself hoping for perfect conditions. It was rarely perfect, but I surfed each day, no matter what it was like. Oddly, I found that I did not feel super excited unless the conditions were good. This got me thinking, why should I spend so much of my time waiting for surf when I could be doing something else. Then it dawned upon me that no matter what the conditions were like, I was always happier when I got out of the water than when I got in. Even surfing crowded, windblown surf in the rain was worth paddling out. Surfing is much more than just surfing great waves. It’s about having a good time. It doesn’t matter how good you are or how small your board is. Just as long as you keep the stoke alive.
Then when you experience those perfect conditions, you feel alive. Stoked in a way that only a surfer understands. Whenever I am lucky enough to have an amazing wave or awesome session, I am reminded why I spend so much time focusing on surfing. I have yet to find anything like it.
This is why surfers are known to sacrifice so many things in order to surf. Being in the ocean and catching waves improves your life, both mentally and physically. There is such a significant, long lasting effect that is worth whatever it takes to surf more waves. The weeks of canned beans and rice, torrential rains and winds, hiding in your tent. No matter the cost, the waves are worth it.