Things I’ve learned from surfing

Last year I learned to surf. Too early for photo sessions yet but I can catch a wave and ride it all the way to the beach (if I don’t get wiped out along the way). Oh what fun, but not only. I’ve realized there are many lessons for life hidden in the surf.

Sometimes, the best thing you can do is wait. On a not-so-good day, when conditions are not good you paddle around, make dozens of failed attempts to catch a wave – and nothing for tens of minutes or even hours. Then, out of the blue a beautiful clean wave emerges, and you better be ready for it. It may be the last one that day, week or even that year.

Pick your battles. When you’re a beginner the bigger waves will hit you like a steam train. You barely have time to acknowledge how high you suddenly are and how fast you’re moving when you’re thrown into a white foamy abyss. Some waves are best left for those that actually know what they’re doing.

Get wiped out. Picking your battles doesn’t mean you only ride the kiddy waves. You’re not trying hard enough and you’re not learning much if you don’t crash. Making mistakes is good for you, even if you learn just a little each time.

Don’t panic. It’s a horrible feeling getting thrown into a massive whirl of water without any idea which way is up or down and knowing with certainty that there will be no air to breathe for quite some time. If you panic you may use up the little bit of fresh oxygen in your lungs that would safely last until you’re on the surface again. As in life, things will usually sort themselves out if you give them some time.

Looking forward to my next sessions. In surf as well as on dry land.

Photo courtesy of Teller who seems to really have learned to surf. If you’re comfortably riding a wave like this your wisdom must be infinite.


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