More than just appearance, a surfer’s lifestyle is about balance.
Surf has become one of the most famous sports in the past decade. A sport that is now part of the Olympics and has brands like Mitsubishi eager to have their images attached to its athletes changed people’s general notion of what surfing is.
Even so, there is still a stereotype associated with the surfing lifestyle that people seem to hang on to. The Californian bleached hair, laid back attitude and the “I don’t care for much” look, often connected with surfers, is now more than ever an outdated concept.
When you spend some time with a surfer you realize that surfing can be a mindset or a lifestyle for those who make it a habit to be in the water and have the need to feel the connection with the ocean. But searching for that connection constantly, surprisingly, teaches us quite a lot about life.
Timing is everything
When in the water a surfer has to wait for the perfect instant to paddle into that incredible wave. This has to become almost natural for the surfer, since being a few seconds off means losing the wave.
In a world where everyone is rushing and anxious, being able to wait and feel the right time is quite a rare and life-changing practice.
Mindfulness is a new concept which consists in being present and focusing all your attention on what is happening right now. People feel so disconnected that there are actually people making millions with coaching, books, and lectures about how to learn to be and concentrate at the moment.
When surfing presence is everything, it requires a lot of focus and attention to detail to succeed and become better every day.
Resilience and humility
The ocean can be quite unpredictable, from the condition of the water to the sea life, you have to be prepared for unexpected changes.
A powerful force of nature, the sea has a way to keep your ego in check reminding you how small you are in that immensity. Understanding your limits and listening to your fears is essential.
A great example of resilience and humility is Bethany Hamilton, a surfer who lost her arm from a shark bite when she was 14 years old. Right after she healed she was back into the water. She is now one of the most recognized female professional surfers. “My love for surfing helped me overcome my fear of sharks,” she told The New York Times, perseverance and resilience were the main keys for her recovery.
Failure and success
You can be a beginner learning how to surf or a pro surfer trying to ace a maneuver, it is very probable that you will fail a great number of times before you achieve your goal.
And one thing we learn about life is that failing is inevitable. But, the way you deal with failure will define who you are and, possibly, your chances to succeed.
Surfing teaches us that failing is part of life and if you insist it will also teach you how to deal with it to turn the fear of failure into fuel for your persistence and success.
Surfing can instruct us to live a life to the full. It also shows us that fear is normal and stepping out of your comfort zone can be very frightening until you give it a try. Also, the moment you decide to do it you will only focus on that instant and naturally forget about the fear.