I read a
ridiculously asinine feature on a webpage earlier this week about how all those cool analogies we use for surfing are just rumours. For example, the surfer out there having the most fun is the best surfer and surfing is good for your soul. The author was “debunking” these sayings. Well. We all know how I feel about this.
Firstly, if you’re having fun while you’re surfing, it doesn’t matter how badly you’re doing it. I still can’t surf how I think I should be surfing by now (it’s a constant vexation; trust me) but I’m still enjoying myself. It’s not about being the best surfer out there – because there will always be somebody better. Always. If you think you can only enjoy riding a wave if you’re absolutely carving it up, you’re in the wrong game. Surfing is supposed to be something we do for FUN. Yes, fun.
Secondly, surfing can be soul changing. I’m not saying it’s going to change everybody’s lives if they take it up. Anything we choose to do has the potential to change our souls. But declaring this to be a pile of fibs is dismissive and insular. All my life, when things have gone wrong, I have run to the ocean. The beach just makes me think clearer. The waves are a calming soundtrack to help my mind settle. The water rushing to my toes feels like a perfect symbiosis. It was only natural that I ventured further into the water when my life made me feel like I couldn’t cope. So, yes. Surfing has changed my soul. It’s made me calmer. It’s made me happier. Not to mention fitter since it helped me lose thirty kilograms and combat an eating disorder.
Surfing is like a vitamin to me. If I don’t take it, I don’t feel prepared for my life. Taking time out in the water allows me to reflect on what’s happening, and it reminds me that life’s little problems are just an air bubble under a wave. They rise to the surface and burst after a while.
Surfing is different for everybody. For some, it’s a competitive business. For others, it’s a fun activity to do with their kids during the summer holidays. For me, and probably thousands like me, it’s a revival of our hopes and perspectives. I’ll keep those clichéd analogies thank you.