On this blog, we’ve talked about the things you’ll learn at surf camp in Costa Rica—types of waves, common surfing mistakes, and surfing seasons. What we haven’t talked about yet is the way that learning how to surf can actually change you as a person.
For many, learning how to surf is a life-altering event. While surfing may seem like a physical pursuit, there is a strong mind-body connection. Qualities like perseverance and courage can be born or strengthened on the waves, and carried with you through the rest of your life.
Read on for some of the life lessons surfing can teach you.
Perseverance. Just like with anything in life, you won’t get good at something unless you practice. Beethoven didn’t compose the 9th symphony on his first go, and you won’t ride monster waves your first time out either. You’ll get knocked down (literally—waves can be pretty strong), but to move forward, you’ll have to get back up and try again. Once you’ve spent some time on the water, you’ll see that persistence pays off, and you’ll be too invested to quit. Greatness takes time, effort and perseverance.
Patience. It might be obvious, but you can’t force the ocean to do what you want it to do. Weather, waves and currents are all variables that affect surfing conditions, and all of these things are, unfortunately, out of your control. Learning how to surf means accepting what you can not control and understanding that waiting is just part of the cycle of life. Some days you may wait an hour just for 10 seconds of ride time, only to paddle back out and wait again. But you do it anyway, because it’s worth it.
Courage. The ocean is an ever-moving, dynamic, living thing. And while surf camps in Costa Rica monitor wave conditions and provide expert instructors, it still does take courage to paddle out into the water and catch a wave. Even experienced surfers can be intimidated from time to time, but they know the importance of facing their fears. Wipeouts are a fact of surfing, and while they may induce panic, you must face the fear, let it go, and trust in your knowledge and ability. The challenges you face will be the reason why you continually push yourself and they will ultimately make you stronger.
Presence. Surfers have to be in tune with their surroundings and know how to read things like waves, wind and swell. They also need to be aware of other people on the water and be able to read their signals. Living in the moment, accurately reading an environment and being present are all attributes that many surfers carry with them off the water. Life is a journey, not a destination.
Humility. Never underestimate the power of nature. Even when you’re riding high, the unpredictable nature of the water, and life, can check you and bring you down a notch. Always remember, even with all the knowledge, practice, money and skill in the world, there are some things that are just beyond your control. The only thing you can do is remain humble and adapt.
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