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Back to School: Unexpected Lessons in Surfing

December 31, 2021

Back to School: Unexpected Lessons in Surfing

When the road is bumpy, that’s usually a good thing. I’m not talking about the spilled coffee, the change rattling around in your cupholder, or the check engine light sporadically turning on and off.

I’m talking about the destination. When things get rough, you know it’s a road less travelled. But when you push to the final destination, it always seems like it’s worth it.

The road to surf mastery is long and bumpy—but it’s also beautiful and full of lessons.

In this instance, the destination is surfing, and mastering the art of surfing is undoubtedly a moving target. My road to feeling comfortable in the ocean took many unexpected twists and turns. To make your life easier, I’m here to share some knowledge that I picked up along the way.

 Patience, Patience, Patience

 You can’t dictate the conditions, and the ocean is a whole lot more powerful than you. When you paddle out, make every session worthwhile and remember to smile. Surfing is tough, but I learned along the way that the journey is what makes it worthwhile. So no matter where you are on your journey, beginner or expert, remember that progress takes time. But if you put in the time, it’ll be more than worth your while.

 Learning Can Be Fun?

When I started surfing, I had no interest in the aforementioned “journey”. I wanted to make huge cutbacks in perfect waves every session. Unfortunately, those moments are few and far between—and that’s the beauty of it.

You might not be surfing right away, but remember— just paddling out is always a treat. 

Every wave is a lesson learned, and every lesson is a moment to step back and glean all you can from it. Just because you’re not the best, doesn’t mean you can’t be having fun, and learning a thing or two along the way.

Surfing Is Like the Mafia, Once You’re In, You’re In

 A famous quote from the one and only Kelly Slater, it took me a few years to realize the depth behind this one—but after I did, I couldn’t deny it.

Once you get a taste of this, why would you give it up?

The first time you go, you might not be addicted. Everyone has their moment when they’re totally hooked. Mine happened when I caught my first ‘green’ (unbroken) wave. I was at Indian Beach in Oregon on a board that seemed twice my size at the time (it was only 9 feet long), and conditions were choppy.

But I lucked into a peeler, popped up, and felt the rail of the board dig into the emerald green wall ahead of me, and that was it—I was in.

The “Art” of Surfing

One of the most beautiful things about surfing is how interconnected the surf scene is with the art world. 

Between photography, videography, painting, surf shapers, there are so many creative minds that contribute to the diverse and vibrant landscape of art in the surf realm. Going into most board shops and shaping bays is like entering an art gallery or a painter’s studio, and the depth and variety of creativity in the surf world is both inspiring and mesmerizing.

The beauty of surfing on full display here in the Degree 33 Retro Fish 

I might have started surfing for the sport, but the culture is what has kept me in. The best part? I know there’s plenty more to be in awe of as I continue to explore.

The List Goes On

 I might not know it now, but the list goes on. Just as I was blind to the boundless progression of surfing before I first paddled out, the lessons that the ocean and the sport of surfing and its associated culture can teach me are limitless—and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




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