Life Lessons Taught by Surfing


While surfers often get the rep of being airheads or slow on the uptake, there are many life lessons we can learn from them. Surprisingly (to some) what you learn on the water transfers to all areas of your life. From business, family life, and your own personal well-being, there are many aspects one can take from surfing, apply to the specific situation, and see how the outcome changes.

We guarantee you that if you take some of the life lessons that surfing offers, you will get a positive change and reach your goal. Below are five different life lessons you learn on the water that you can directly apply in your life.

Hard Work Pays Off

Surfing is hard work. Not only does your body work hard throughout the paddling, balancing, and wave riding, but it’s hard work to reach the point of simply standing on your board. After all, it takes more than a small amount of persistence to keep getting on the board after being thrown off by wave after wave.

However, if you stay committed and keep your persistence, you will see your hard work pay off. You won’t get out of breath from paddling out. You will see your body tone up, and notice your strength and balance improve. Not to mention, you will feel so accomplished, once you master everything from standing on the board to riding a wave.

Now, in how many aspects of your life can you take that hard work and persistence, and apply it? For students, surfing demonstrates that even though you may feel like you will never graduate, with commitment and hard work you will reach that graduation date. Those going into their own business may be scared or have a fear of failing – much like first-time surfers – however, you will learn that if you put your mind to it, your persistence for success will pay off.

Observation Comes Before Big Actions

Surfers understand that, before jumping in the water, they have to observe their surroundings. Surfers have to pay attention to others in the lineup. They take note of the weather, the water, the tides, and the presence of marine life. More importantly, they do all of this before paddling out.

There are many situations in your life where you need to ask yourself questions and consider every aspect of the situation before making your big leap. Big changes such as moving across the country, accepting a new job, and deciding to expand your family (along with much more) are all scenarios that you shouldn’t rush into. Rather than making a rash decision, you have to examine the pros and cons before making the plunge.

Accept That You’re a Part of Something Bigger

The surfing community is a strong, close-knit one. As part of the lifestyle, you look out for one another and help each other if need be. There is a lineup that you have to respect before paddling out. While you might be solo on the board, you are just one of many in the community.

Spending time on the ocean gives surfers a first-hand glance at all the marine life and plant species that call the water home. Spending time on the water even gives surfers a look at how human activity, such as pollution, has a direct effect on the Earth, and on specific organisms. These are just small reminders that we are not alone, and that our actions and behaviors directly affect those with whom we share the planet.

Remain Present in the Moment

With the busy demands of day-to-day life, it is hard to remain present in the moment. Much like yoga, surfing is an activity that demands all your attention and focus. Along with working out your body, remaining present in the given moment is a great stress, depression, and anxiety reliever.

When you are not present in surfing, it can lead to wipeouts or mishaps with the lineup. In your waking life, if you function on autopilot for too long, you will likely experience fatigue and stress. You may make more mistakes at work or miss out on sweet moments with your family.

However, when you practice mindfulness, or the act of being present, you will feel calmer, less stressed, and – likely – grateful for the little special moments with your loved ones. So, what you learn on the water, you can incorporate into your daily routine. You’ll be amazed at the difference you experience.

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