As millions of us across the globe tuned in to watch surfing make its Olympic debut this year, many of us were left thinking, “I wish I had learned to do that when I was young.” It’s not too late!If we’ve learned anything from the past two years, it’s how healing outdoor living can be. Whether it was your daily walk in the woods or your cold-water swim at the beach, being active in nature became a powerful tool to improve our physical and mental health. Maybe you even tried a new activity to help pass the time. If it was surfing, then you’re with thousands of people all over the world who have felt the positive effects of catching a wave – or at least trying to! If you haven’t tried it yet, then you should. Kosin explores why everyone, no matter their age, should give surfing a try.
Experience true escapism
Whether it be work pressures or family demands, we all spend a lot of our time in constant connection with people who require our attention. Unlike many other activities, when surfing you can’t quickly check your Whatsapp or listen to a podcast. Being in the ocean, you are forced to leave all of that behind and be in the present. This is true escapism from daily life. When you relinquish control and catch that wave – whether it be a barrel or some white water– you won’t regret it.
“If you’re having a bad day, catch a wave” Frosty Hesson,
veteran big wave surfer
Beat the British weather
When surfing comes to mind you may be tempted to think of Australia or Hawaii, but we’re lucky enough to have some decent swell in the UK. It’s true, we don’t have the temperate climate of those countries, but that should never stop you from enjoying what our oceans have to offer. In fact, some of the best swell in the UK is during the winter time so, with a wetsuit – and maybe even a hood - you’re able to enjoy the surf lifestyle all year round. Don’t live near the beach? No problem. With the creation of inland alternatives such as The Wave near Bristol, everyone can surf on a variety of waves all year round. You can even have the luxury of a post-surf shower and a fancy coffee too!
Connect with the family
We’ve all been there. We ask our kids to join us for a walk in the great outdoors and the grunts from their bedroom against the backdrop of their latest Xbox addiction mean that once again you’re walking by yourself. Surfing can be a new activity for the whole family to enjoy – and it can release far more endorphins that any computer game or Tik-Tok video. Studies show that being in nature has many benefits for child development, so why not take up surfing together and make it a life-long hobby you do as a family. Many surf schools, such as Global Boarders based in Gwithian, Cornwall, offer family lessons where you and your loved ones can receive private tuition together. There’s nothing like bonding over mum and dad wiping out!
“The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun” Phil Edwards,
America’s first ever professional surfer.
Surf your way to better health
We all know a healthy heart is important to living long. But did you know that surfing can have a significant impact on your cardio-vascular health. Studies show the combination of paddling and working on your core muscles is fantastic exercise and improves well-being. Even lesser known is the importance of balance. As we get older our balance declines, and this can unfortunately lead to falls and medical problems. Taking up surfing now could dramatically improve balance and coordination which means more independence in later life.
Take care of your mindGiving ourselves the tools we need to improve our own mental health and wellbeing is paramount to a healthy future. Whilst some look at more conventional methods of therapy to support them, many organisations are looking outside the box and surf therapy is one unique tool which is proving to be effective. The Wave Project is just one example of a government funded charity using surf therapy to provide life-changing support to our young people in this country. They’ve already helped thousands of people improve their well-being through harnessing the power of the ocean. A lifestyle which is good for your mind and body is definitely one to try.
Remember: you don’t have to stop having fun just because you’re an adult. Get out there and give it a go – you won’t regret it.