While surfing is becoming more mainstream, many new kinds of surfing are emerging (SUP, kite-, wing-, wind- etc.), it’s not the kind of thing you learn to master in an afternoon. Surfing is a skill! And it’s a hobby that comes with many benefits. Here are six of them!
1. SURFING MAKES YOU LAUGH
Learning how to surf will make you fall. A lot. Thankfully the landing is usually soft and maybe even an enjoyable thrill. If not for yourself, then for the people observing you. Nothing better than slapstick humor, right? You will need a certain portion of self-irony, as it’s important to find the joy in your mistakes, the bliss in falling over and over again, and the enjoyment and accomplishment that comes when you finally succeed to stand up on a wave the first time.
You might be the person who succeeds within the first hour in the water, or you might be the kind of person who gets really strong abs from laughing at yourself (if you’re anything like me at least).
2. IT'S IS A GREAT OVERALL WORKOUT
Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, surfing is a great workout. No matter if it’s because you’re constantly being wiped out or ‘rag dolled’ (we’ll do a slang translation another day) and trying to paddle back out, or it’s because you’ve got such a great routine that you can stay on the water for hours while riding the best of the best waves around – surfing provides you with a full body workout.
Surfing is good for your arms and upper back when you’re paddling. When you lift to get an overview of the circumstances and pop up to catch a wave, you activate most muscle groups including abs, arms, chest, glutes, and thighs. Once you’re on the wave your core and lower body get a healthy workout.
All while your mind is preoccupied with the technical side of things, you won’t even feel the pain until later. If you’re a beginner, you’ll most likely discover muscles you never knew you had. The only way to fix that post-workout burn is to get back into the water!
3. SURFING GIVES YOU PHYSICAL AND MENTAL BALANCE
While the process of learning to surf is both challenging and fun (you know because you're constantly falling over), the ultimate goal is to stand up. And standing up on a board on a wave takes balance and coordination. Physical balance is great for a lot of reasons, like not injuring yourself on a general basis, but it gets even better later in life as research shows that long-term recreational surfing, and the balance it provides, helps you in your senior years as well. While we may stay young at heart, our bodies won’t stay young forever.
One thing is physical balance. Surfing takes more than just physical skills. It’s also a mental workout – especially at the beginning. Surfing gives you a bunch of nice neurochemicals such as adrenaline and endorphins – the hormone responsible for reducing stress and anxiety, relieving pain, and improving mood and your sense of wellbeing. All sounds pretty good and pretty useful if you want to improve your mental balance.
4. YOU GET INCREASED FOCUS & MINDFULNESS
On top of those sweet neurotransmitters, surfing is good for your mental health in the way it teaches you to focus. Both to coordinate your body, but also to have an overview of the obstacles in the water – other surfers or swimmers, the shoreline, underwater reef or rock, etc. The moments you're out there catching some waves are the moments yous're truly immersed in the present. Appreciate that!
You need to be present and focused to improve your surfing skills. And what else comes from focus and presence? Mindfulness. Yep, a lot of people describe their time on the water surfing as the best form of meditation out there. This is helped along by the feeling of connection with nature you make through getting closer to the sea.
5. SALT WATER IS GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN
If physical and mental health wasn’t enough, research shows that salt water is good for your skin for a bunch of reasons. Saltwater is rich in a range of nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, selenium, and zinc – all elements to help treat eczema for example. Salt water has also been found beneficial in reducing allergies.
Last, but not least, salt water helps exfoliate your skin, keeping it looking younger and smoother by removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin. Just remember to rinse and moisturize after a day in the water to get the best results.
6. SURFING IS FUN!
Last, but not least, surfing is fun and probably the main reason to go surfing. There’s nothing like the feeling of riding a wave. There’s something very unique in the feeling of being connected with the sea and collaborating in moving you forward.
“Sure, it’s fun! Once you get the hang of it!”, you might think. At least once you have a bit of a grip on it. But getting there is also fun – just in a different way. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with progress is also fun. The first couple of times you catch a wave might be flat on your stomach in the whitewash, but that’s still fun! And the fun continues long after you’ve mastered the big waves (I’m told).
On top of that, there's a strong community around surfing, and you'll find yourself with a bunch in common with a lot of new people based on your new hobby.
GO ON A SURF-THEMED JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME
All in all, we recommend a surf adventure to anyone wanting a fun, active, mind-mending holiday, but if you want to take it up a notch, we recommend a re:discover journey that gives you a community of like-minded travelers and time to explore on your own, and other balancing exercises on top of surfing. We call it re:balance and is all about finding inner balance, physical balance, and life balance.