This article may be a bit kooky, but I was hoping it might inspire some other learners to get out there no matter what! I was chatting to Clare in the car on our way back from a cold and windy surf at Fistral, about how much better it is to get out for a surf even when the conditions are not ideal, than to just sit at home, watching the webcam praying to the wave gods in the hope that it might get better! That shit is just boring... and it'll most likely drive you a little insane!
We starting talking about all the benefits of surfing in all sorts of conditions and it got me inspired to get out there even more, quit moaning about the mush and just go SURF! So I decided to write a little KOOKY post about why you should get out there WHATEVER THE WEATHER, WHATEVER THE WAVE... I hope you find it inspires you to get out there whenever you can, the benefits are endless...
|Hmmm... Is it worth it?|
*Exception to the rule is if it is absolutely huge and there's no chance that I'll get out back and just end up in the white water. In times like this, I will look for sheltered spots and in the event of there being no said sheltered spots... you will find me on dry land, or in a warm swimming pool ha!*
It's true... down here in Cornwall it's hard to find that perfect wave everyday. It's not as consistent as we'd like it to be, which can get very frustrating, especially when you're really in the mood to hit the water. Ahem...
|Not even the birds could handle the wind on this day!|
1. Low Expectations=Super Stoked Surprised Surfer. Even if it doesn't look so appealing before you head in, you could surprise yourself. If you're not expecting to have the surf of your life your expectation will be low... and so, the chances are you might actually catch a few good rides and there you go! One happily, surprised, and stoked surfer!
2. Surfing gets those endorphins pumping and cruising through your veins! Just getting in the water, weather it's to have a good surf or just to paddle around; I always feel so SO much better than I head before! That cold blast of fresh atlantic ocean on my face makes me feel so fresh, so much more alive and without a doubt gets my endorphins pumping and that big smile just can't help itself from coming out! A blast of cold water is good for the soul and has even been linked to longer life expectancy and a stronger immune system! The perfect cure for that winter cold eh!
3. Paddle Power. No matter what wave conditions are like, if you take your board out for a cheeky little outing, you will be using those paddling muscles and slowly but surely building your strength and stamina! With every stroke you will be strengthening your arms but also utilising your core in order to stay balanced on the board. It all makes perfect practice for when the swell actually hits! Your muscles won't be weak, limp noodles after that first paddle out back. Instead you'll be powering out to the line-up ready for anything! It's a win-win situation, you get to be in the water, getting those endorphins cruising around your body and you get to practice for when the surf is actually in its prime and you can hit it up and actually catch shit loads of waves and not be a weak mangled mess after the first paddle out! Happy days!
4. Improve Your Wave Reading Ability. Being out in the water and out amongst the waves will help to improve your wave perception, i.e. your ability to read the waves. The more time you spend out there, the more you'll become accustomed to it all. You will be able to deal with a range of conditions. If you head out in strong onshore conditions and still manage to catch a few, just think how well prepared you will be for the next time when it's 4-6ft and super glassy! You'll have more of an idea where you need to sit, what to look out for and what your limits and capabilities are!
Another bonus is... The more waves you catch= The more you learn!!! Regardless of how crap those waves are, you're still catching them, you're still learning how to better your position to catch the wave, improving your position on the board and also where and when on the wave you can do that cutback, turn or whatever else you want to do on that glorious glassy wall!
It seems such a waste to only get out there when the conditions are perfect, because you might head out there and having not surfed for a couple of weeks you might be feeling pretty rusty and a bit disorientated. You might then not have the best surf because it took you a while to get into it again!
Maybe I'm being pessimistic, but recently I noticed that the more I got in the water, the more confidence I had when the swell got bigger because I had had that time to really practice and work on surfing bigger and better waves. I felt like I could drop into any wave I wanted just because I'd been out there in all conditions. Yeahhhh I was getting knocked around here and there but I also caught some of the sickest waves I've ever had! Sooo, it all kind of pays off!
5. Your quality of sleep will improve! I've found that when I go surfing in the evenings I sleep so much better than if I've just spent the night munching on maltesers in front of the TV.
Maybe it's the exercise and physical exertion involved in surfing; the paddling, the pop-ups, the duck-dives, the turns. Maybe it's the fresh ocean air you're inhaling and oxygenating your body with, or maybe it's the cold water making you feel more alive and more in touch with your surroundings. Or maybe, it's that incredible feeling you get when you glide along a smooth glassy wall of crisp water! Personally, I think it's all of these things that contribute to making me sleep so much better. I feel so content when I'm in the water, I forget all my stresses and worries and just focus on what's happenings right at that second.
I've never been a good sleeper. I'm always the last one to get to sleep with my mind whirring with problems and stresses right at the point where I should be dreaming peacefully. It's a very rare occasion that I get to sleep before my boyfriend! But when I surf, I get such a feeling of satisfaction, I feel so loose and happy that I go to sleep with no tension or worries and drop into a peaceful slumber with ease. Just a calm mind, a relaxed body and a very content soul.
So the more you surf, no matter what the surf is like; the better you'll sleep and the happier you'll beeeee!
|Just look at the smile on that face!|
6. You get to spend quality time with your fellow surf bums and hounds! Surfing can be incredibly unsociable, as it is basically all about catching that fun wave all to yourself! However, I find that I enjoy my surfs so much more when I have someone to share it with. You cheer each other on, you woop each other into waves, you laugh about that massive wipeout you just had, and you scream at each other when a massive closeout set is about to drop right on your head. Most importantly you can chat again and again about how good that session was without pissing your buddy off, because they were there too!
There's nearly always a drive to find the right spot, so it makes it so much more exciting and inviting when you've got a buddy to help you along the way. Someone to feed you treats as you meander round country roads, someone to ply you with coffee on a dawny and to blast out those tunes with! It's also great having a furry friend with you on these missions as it stops you from heading straight home post-surf, you stay a little longer and go for a walk to somewhere you've never been. This can also sometimes lead to finding cheeky secret spots or sheltered spots you hadn't heard of before.
All in all, you get to spend good quality time with the people and the animals that make you happy and get you frothed off your little nut! Happy happy days!
Well there you go. If these are not enough reasons for you to get out there and get surfing whatever the weather, whatever the wave... then I've failed miserably! But I think you should give it a go and see what happens, don't knock it till you've tried it!
Just think, the next time you head out in wind chop and it's really not that great, at least you're getting your practice in, just in time for an epic swell that's lurking right round the corner. Not too dissimilar to what we had just a few days ago. I'll give you a sneak peak as to what it was like...