“Surfing soothes me, it’s always been a kind of Zen experience for me. The ocean is so magnificent, peaceful, and awesome. The rest of the world disappears for me when I’m on a wave”
If you have ever surfed, (and enjoyed it), you would know that this quote by Walker could not be more accurate. When you’re out there in the middle of the ocean, you have a different state of mind. Despite the fact that there could be a giant shark beneath you, you must block out that possibility and enjoy the experience, otherwise you’ll never be able to find peace while surfing. You have to allow yourself to let your mind go (to an extent), and just absorb yourself into the moment. When people say surfing clears the mind, they’re not lying. For me, it instantly washes away the stress and negative thoughts and allows me to stay tranquil. The calm rhythm of the waves passing underneath my board relaxes me, and if there was no such thing as nighttime, I would be out on a board forever.
“I surf because it keeps my life at an even keel, without it I would tip into the oblivion.”
– Andy Irons.
Surfing is used very often as a form of “therapy” for kids with disabilities. This article on autism explains how an amazing program called “Surfers Healing” helps over 2,000 autistic children a year to focus, overcome their fears, decrease anxiety, and much more through surfing. This one paragraph of one of the parents of a child attending the camp stood out to me:
“My son was screaming. He did not want to go into that ocean. He did not want to go with the surfer, and I was sobbing,” she said. “I was frightened for my son to see him crying.” Alex’s mood did not change as he and the surfer paddled out over the waves to a spot beyond the breakers, where the water was placid. They sat there for about 10 minutes and Alex showed he was no longer scared. “We saw them paddling in and they were about to catch the wave. I saw my son’s face and he was smiling and he was excited. He was happy,” Shanea Acebal said. “When they came on the shore, he was calm, he was focused. Throughout the entire afternoon, he just sat still, which is very rare for a child with autism.”
Another article I found uses surfing to help those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It’s really interesting and further proves the healing powers that surfing has on both the mind and body.
When it comes to big wave surfing (for the very experienced surfers), it is extremely important that they remain calm at all times, no matter how easy it is to panic and freak out. Surfer Mark Healy gives his input on big wave surfing:
“When it comes to holding my breath in big waves, I think there are three factors involved: lung capacity, cardiovascular fitness, and staying calm. All three are important, but the most important one for me is being in a strong mental state and staying calm.”