This article was contributed by Jess Signet. Jess is an avid surfer and keen blogger who has spent the last 3 1/2 years (and counting) exploring every corner of this incredible globe and doesn’t plan on slowing down any time soon…
5 Reasons to Learn to Surf
Anyone who’s been out in open surf knows the feeling: the excitement, the adrenaline, the buzz! From the moment you slide your wetsuit on till you collapse on to the sand at the end of the day, the experience is unmatchable. Whether you’re a beginner or you’re aiming to become professional, the joy of surfing and the excitement it brings never really fades.
However, there’s so much more to this unique and wonderful sport than just the enjoyment of it. The effect it has on your body, mind and soul and the lifestyle it gives you is one of wonderment, adventure and connection. Spending time in the great outdoors, being good to your body, socializing with other awesome suffers: it all adds up to make the surfing experience what it is. For newbies trying to decide whether they should put the hours in to learn, if these five reasons don’t convince you, then nothing will!
1. It Keeps You Fit
Both mentally and physically, surfing is a godsend for your body. Finding a sport that you love doing while getting fit at the same time is basically winning the jackpot, and most surfers fall into the category. Alongside an all-round toning, catching waves significantly improves your core and leg strength, as well as doing wonders for your balance. Popping up is a great arm and upper body workout, and swimming against the waves is the perfect activity to get the blood pumping and improve your aerobic and anaerobic fitness. The best thing about it is that you won’t even know how much physical exertion you’ve had until you fall, panting, onto the sands at the end of your session.
Surfing is also good for your mental health! A 2010 study from California State University showed that getting on your board every day for a few weeks could dramatically reduce your stress and anxiety. Surfing also provides a great exercise in mindfulness, as you have to be constantly aware and adapting to changes in the ocean
2. You Get To Travel
The surf tour is one of the highlights of any surfer’s life. Beautiful coastline, gnarly swells, sun, sand, sea and, of course, the magical surfboard—what more could you want? There are so many incredible surf spots all over the world. From Wakiki, Hawaii, Kuta in Bali or Byron Bay in Australia to the world-class professional favorites such as Santa Cruz in California or Teahupoo in Tahiti, the surf trail takes you all over the world and allows you to see so much of what our stunning planet has to offer.
When you’re not on the board you’ll get plenty of time to explore the local surroundings and get to know the culture as well as bumping into endless streams of like-minded people who have come in search of the same wave that you’re chasing. The surf lifestyle belongs on the road so find a group of friends, load up the campervan and head towards the coast! The benefits you gain from traveling in this way are one of the best reasons to pick up a surfboard in the first place.
3. The Adrenaline of Success
Like most sports, surfing is goal-orientated. Whether you’re looking to simply stand up, master a kickback or even get some air, you know what you have to do, and it’s just a case of try, try and try again until you master it. However, when you do finally find yourself hurtling toward the shore at an unstoppable full speed or landing firmly back on your wave after pulling off your first backside roundhouse, the feeling you will experience is truly the thing that keeps you coming back again and again and again.
There’s nothing nice about being thrown off early and plunged into the water, only to have to swim all the way back out through the influx of oncoming waves to be able to try again, but for the twenty times you don’t succeed, the one time you do makes it totally worth it. A 2013 study showed that setting and achieving specific goals meant you were less likely to be depressed, so focus on the trick you want to do and nail it! The reward will be unmatchable.
4. One With The Waves
There’s so much to be said for spending time in nature, and let’s face it, you can’t really get more into nature than being in the ocean. Having a career, or even just a hobby, that can take you out of the office, onto the sands and into the water can do wonders for your health and your happiness levels.
It’s now been proved that getting a good dose of sea air is great for your sleep cycles and serotonin levels. This is because the air particles close to the ocean are charged with negative ion particles that speed up our body’s ability to absorb oxygen and balance hormones. Similarly, getting out in the sun has numerous positive healing effects such as increasing vitamin D levels and balancing our endocrine system.
However, it’s not just the scientific benefits of nature that make spending a day in the water a fulfilling and enjoyable experience. There’s something almost primal in humans that thrives off being in such a sparse and natural environment; life in the ocean does wonders for the body, mind and soul combined.
5. The Post Surf Chill Out Session
No matter how great your surf session was, the post-surfing experience is just as important. Whether you head down to grab some food with friends to stock up on some well-deserved calories or go straight home to soak in a warm shower, throw on some sweatpants and curl up for a movie marathon, chilling out after a long day catching waves is a testimony to how fulfilling learning to surf can be! The sense of satisfaction that you get as you settle down to re-cooperate is the signal that let’s you know that your day has been worthwhile and a success!
Be sure to let this moment really sink in: skip your chores, spend that extra half an hour in the bath, binge-watch Netflix – you deserve it! There’s a couple of great surf movies, such as Bella Vita, that will provide amazing inspiration to motivate you to get back out in the water at the next possible opportunity. However if you’re planning to watch during a surf tour, you’re going to need to use a VPN to get around geo-blocking as Netflix blocks content when you’re overseas.
Learning to surf is a life-changing experience! The effect is has on your mind, body and life is truly incredible. If you have any stories of your early surf experiences or want to share other reasons why people should learn to surf, then be sure to comment below and join the discussion. Happy surfing!