When we inhale certain smells we can be transported back to a time, a place or a memory. There are three fragrances of surfing that invoke happiness and stoke for me, with just a passing whiff. I am sure these smells do the same for every surfer.
Surfing is not just standing on a board on water. There is a part of surfing that goes deep; deep within your mind, your body, and your soul. Riding a wave sparks a feeling of connection, a moment of pure bliss and excitement. It’s hard to explain, but I will try:
Sometimes, life is hard. Life can have days that you truly wish you could either start over, or simply erase. Work, family, friends, money, happiness, all are taking over your mind. You know that surfing will help, but, even that seems too hard. You know you have to heal, you know you have to break out of the shackles of the daily grind and let the waves wash the stress out of you. So, you grab your wetsuit, board, and keys.
Before you even stop the car, you can smell the salty air. The crashing of the waves reassures you that you are in the right place. It’s OK; it’s time to get into the water. There are other surfers at the beach, all ages, shapes, sizes, colours, backgrounds and faiths, and all with their own story. Everyone is there to feel that moment.
You are reminded of how alive you are when your toes first hit the cold water, and you splash your face with more. Cold; but then warm. Your heart becomes warm as you feel the waves pushing you.
Paddle. Paddle. Paddle.
Paddle into the wave, duck under it, let the energy pass over your back. Don’t fight it, work with it. Let the spray whisper to you as you surface through the other side. You’re there; out the back.
With the rise and fall of the ocean, you are reminded to go with the ebb and flow of life. Fighting against life will only make it harder. You have to find a way to work with what you have, and grow stronger.
Picking your waves wisely follows. You see the horizon rise higher and higher and you are assessing which ones to chase, and which ones to let go.
The perfect one starts to roll toward you and you feel the electricity charging around you. It’s like your body plugs itself into the water for power.
Turn around. Look back. Look forward.
Paddle. Paddle. Paddle. Push.
Thump, your feet hit the fibreglass.
From the moment that the water touches your toes, you start something on a deeper level. A storm that brewed and exploded miles and miles away, has pulsed it way through the water at speed to reach you, so you can ride. A ripple in the ocean becomes your moment.
The energy of the long forgotten storm is now pushing you forward. Your mind clears. The sounds of the curling water beneath your board are all you hear. The thoughts of moving forward while the depth of the ocean holds you are all that occupy your mind. The adrenaline from the energy of the waves, burst through your body and your soul.
For that moment, the hard days, the stress, can be put aside. All that matters is flying on the water; being one with something greater than yourself.
That’s the deeper connection of surfing.
You don’t have to be religious to have a spiritual moment in surfing. In fact, surfing is thought to be a religion by some. Surfing is very much a personal sport, a journey if you will.
You can surf with others, but ultimately, surfing is between you and Mother Nature. It’s the moment when you are in front of the wave, and you are embraced by the water. The pure energy in the waves, that could have travelled hundreds or thousand of kms, is propelling you forward; you are one with your environment.
The key to surfing enlightenment is to ‘go with the flow’. It’s not just a cliché, it’s a truth. If you resist the waves, you resist life and the opportunities that it gives you. If you can acknowledge your fears and face them, you can take the waves on, and in return, you will be able to tackle other challenges life throws at you.
You see, riding a wave, either on a surfboard, a bodyboard, a sup or just using your own body, changes you. It can change you for life and have you addicted to the adrenaline filled rush of riding waves, or it can just permanently etch a happy memory in your mind. Either way, it is a spiritual practice, meaning you are faced with your own personal meaning in life. I don’t know how it happens, it just happens.
When you are surfing, you are in the water, the ocean, the most beautiful, important, and powerful force on our planet. You are moving with the ocean, letting it cleanse and empower you. The colours of the water heal, the salty air cleanses, and the sandy earth beneath your feet ground you.
If surfing doesn’t change you, then you need to try it again. Don’t resist it, it could be the one thing that you are searching for, just as a seasoned surfer searches for the perfect wave…but that’s another story.
You may have heard some surfers discussing the surf conditions and heard them say, ‘It’s offshore’, or perhaps ‘Oh it’s onshore’. So what do these terms actually mean?
Well, it’s about the direction of the wind in relation to the waves. Surfer’s prefer to have light offshore winds, here’s why:
This is when the wind is blowing into the waves. The wind is coming from the land and facing the sea. This allows the wind to hold up the waves, making the waves look glassy and smooth. With clean waves, it is easier to see the oncoming sets and have a better wave to ride.
This is when the waves are blowing from the sea, in the direction of the land. So the wind is coming up from behind the waves and pushing it from behind, and mushing it all up. The wind creates more whitewash and choppy waves. The waves can still be surfed and you can have loads of fun, it’s just not as ideal.
The weather is starting to cool down, so should you stop surfing? NO WAY!
Surfing in the non-summer months is the best time to learn, and to keep surfing. Sure, the weather isn’t hot, but hey, if you have ever worn a wetsuit on a 40 degree day, you’ll know that cold weather is quite nice.
Still not convinced? Then try it out, you will get hooked and become a year round surfer. Go on, book in for a lesson to learn the skills and enjoy the surf, yeeew!
If there is something that we love just as much as the surf itself, it's awesome surf art. There is one place that sells magnificent surf art. Now, these guys haven't sponsored this post, but we love to share with you, fantastic surf treasures.
In a little town called Marion Bay over at the bottom end of Yorke Peninsula, there is a cosy studio cafe called Studio Surf. You will find the most unique and beautiful things. Everything has a surf or beach theme so you can be sure it will tickle your fancy.
The paintings, by local Jason Swales, are incredible. Jason is a self taught artist and has been painting masterpieces of the surf for over 25 years.
If you are over Yorkes for a surf, or a holiday, be sure to check the place out, you won't be disappointed..
You can visit Studio Surf's website at www.studiosurf.com.au
When it comes to the best surfers in the world, hands down, dolphins take the cake!
Why you ask? Here's why:
1. They can hold their breath for a super long time. They live in the water and they only need to come up for air every once in a while. That's nifty.
2. Dolphins don't need a wetsuit. They have sleek skin that not only keeps them warm, but allows them to zip through the water with ease.
3. Dolphins have built in fins. No need for a board for these splashy creatures. They ARE the board. Their body is surf ready!
4. They know how to have fun. Dolphins certainly know how to have a good time in the waves! They love the feeling of surf stoke!
Don't believe me? watch this incredible video of dolphins surfing is crystal clear water:
1. Make sure your wetsuit fits you. If you buy a wetsuit too small, you will keep stretching it out every time to put it on. So make sure you get a wetsut with a comfortable fit.
2. Do not leave your wet, smelly wetsuit in your car or backyard to rot. You need your wetsuit to last as long as possible. So as soon as you can, wash it!
3. Rinse your wetsuit after each use. Never ever put your wetsuit in the washing machine! You need to clean off all the salt from the ocean, or if for some reason you are wearing your wetsuit in the pool, then you need to get rid of that chlorine. Also you need to get rid of your sweat. Make sure all the parts are clean, including the leg and arm holes, all the way to the wrists and ankles. You can dunk it in a large bucket of clean water or hose it off.
4. Dry your wetsuit in the shade, not in direct sun. The sun will dry up the rubber and shrink it. Also those extra harmful UV rays will not be doing any good. So pick a spot where it will be shady, or dry it indoors (shower or shed perhaps).
4. Hang it by the waist. Do not ever hang your wetsuit up wet, with a standard coat hanger. The heavy wet rubber will be pulled down by gravity, and stretch out and damage the rubber on the shoulders. You’ll end up getting rips and tears in the top of your wetsuit. So hang your wetsuit over a hanger at the waist.
5. If your wetsuit zipper breaks, or something tears, even though you have been looking after it correctly, then use your warranty. Most wetsuits come with a warranty so if your wetsuit is still young and something goes wrong, get it fixed!