Though the iconic illustration of a surfer is one of a peaceful individual living a simple life, the reality often requires some sacrifices and a lifestyle quite removed from that as viewed by non-surfers.
Actually, living a surfer’s lifestyle is not about how exactly you appear; the things you wear or simply getting a surfboard tucked under your arm. It is just about a mindset, commitment to the ocean and accepting the fact that almost everything needs to take second place the instant the waves start to roll in.
People who have fully committed themselves to surfing usually tend to do this in one of two ways – by relocating to the ocean and surfing at a devoted break day in and day out or by giving up the usual trappings of life and traveling the entire world in a continuous search for the perfect wave.
Either way, most people will likely find themselves having to live frugally with the intention to achieve their goal and, for a nomadic surfer, will have to accept living without most of the luxuries and benefits that are regarded as the norm.
This also includes relationships, possessions and all other things which are generally used to indicate security and stability.
A modern surfer is also a citizen of the world. He needs to know before he goes. Therefore, if you want to live the ultimate surfing life, tick the following boxes:
1. Know the ocean: learn what the wind is, and how it affects the ocean before it starts making waves;
2. Eat well: fast food is surfing’s worst enemy. Design your own diet, and include fruits in your daily habits;
3. Exercise your body: ask a professional to delineate a surf training program that can fit into your weekly agenda;
4. Study the weather charts: improve your surf forecasting knowledge, and anticipate the best swells;
5. Read surf books: it might sound strange, but surf literature will make you a better surfer;
6. Surf more: establish a surfing routine, and don’t let winter stop you from catching waves;
7. Don’t follow the flock: surfers tend to surf where other surfers are surfing – watch the waves, and make your assessment;
8. Travel and search new waves: plan a surf trip, build your own hierarchy of surf spots, and establish a personal wave quality scale;
9. Respect others: surfers think surfing is a spiritual, blessed sport, but they can be greedy and voracious when it comes to catching waves – showing respect is teaching respect;
10. Stay true to yourself: don’t imitate, don’t mimic – just let your mind and soul tell you what to do in the waves;
Surfing: to become a fully devoted surfer, you need to travel, read books, study weather charts, and surf all year round | Photo: Shutterstock
Surfing often teaches us lessons about living life to the full. For instance, fear is normal. We’re only human. Undertaking something new, something you have not done before is frightening. Until you give it a try, at which point you are too occupied doing it to be afraid any longer.
If you think about surfing or dealing with anything new in life what’s the worst thing that can happen? A massive bruise on your thigh? A black eye? A chipped tooth?
Those things are a possibility but very much preferable to relaxing on the beach and just seeing everyone else have all the fun. Giving things a try and dealing with your fear will give you renewed courage in all aspects of your life as a surfer.
Any time you surf, you usually push the limits, attempt something new and make mistakes. When you experience a wipeout, it’s frightening – you’re pushed underwater, you can’t distinguish up from down, and you can’t locate exactly where your surfboard is.
But generally, you pop back up again and live to try again. Surfing is like life: when you experience setbacks, just get back again on your board and paddle back out to the break to get another go.
Relax: you’re going to have wipeouts, judge the wave wrong, make mistakes or get trapped on the wrong side of a big one. It’s tough, it hurts, but it definitely happens to everyone; it’s termed a learning curve.
For surfers who have decided to live outside of conventional lifestyles, surfing is not considered as a sport – it is a way of life and in some cases, possibly, a religion.
Even for some of those surfers involved in the competitive circuit, contests are seen as a means to finance their surfing addiction.
For those completely immersed in a surfing lifestyle, surfing is an addiction. It will forever be difficult to see a beach scene in a movie without figuring out the ocean in the background for waves; exotic, calm beach scenes suddenly appear unattractive mainly because there is no surf.
This is why… only a surfer knows the feeling.