As I sit on the beach writing this, I am watching a dozen or so kids riding waves to the shoreline. Even though the sun is bright and their faces are backlit I can FEEL their smiles! I can still feel their stoke and likewise I am stoked for them. This to me is the beauty of surfing.
Anyone of any age or gender can enjoy his or her own personal connection with the ocean. As a surfer and all around ocean aficionado I am happy when other people catch waves too.
Riding Waves is an Ancient Tradition.
Riding Waves is Spiritual.
Connecting with nature on a deep level helps us feel more connected to our planet, the universe and ourselves.
Riding Waves Reduces Stress.
Surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing can definitely reduce stress. Some argue that the pounding waves generate Negative Ions. These Negative Ions are found in abundance in such naturally pleasant places as waterfalls, the seashore and rainstorms. They are created by the action of water hitting the land. Negative ions are simply water molecules that break apart and take on a negative electrical charge.
Riding Waves is Beautiful.
Sometimes the best part of my surf session is witnessing the majesty of nature itself. I remember many a surf session where I can see the pelicans soaring by, little fish jumping over my board, the changing light on the horizon, the rising sun over the ocean…getting to your feet a riding a wave through the ever changing scenery is an additional perk.
Riding Waves Together.
Happiness is infectious. If there is a nice group of people then riding waves together can be an amazing, communal experience.
Riding Waves is Great Exercise.
Surfing is an amazing total body workout. You need a strong upper body to power through the surf as well as to paddle into waves. You need a strong core to pop up onto your feet and strong legs to turn the board where you want it to go. Being stronger will improve confidence.
Riding waves can help you overcome fear. Delving into fear is a good way to recognize where it is coming from and why? Maybe you almost drown in the lake when you were a kid? Maybe your parents were the nervous type? Recognizing this and overcoming your fear by becoming a better swimmer and spending time in the ocean may help you in many aspects of your life.
My kids will say to me “never turn your back on the ocean.” It is important to revere and respect Mother Nature in all of her beauty and fury. Surfing and spending time in the ocean will inevitably provide many opportunities for personal growth.
If Surfing on a board seems daunting, I’d highly suggest Boogie Boarding and Body Surfing:
The learning curve is very tame and there are fewer risks of injury than surfing. All you need is a $50 boogie board and you are set for life. Add fins for extra powerful kicks and then you really have a great set-up for a fun-filled summer.
Body Surfing- a classic.
Body surfing is an amazing full body workout that is totally free and guaranteed to induce laughter. Major risks include loss of bikini tops and bottoms.
If you are interested in learning how to surf on a surfboard I recommend taking a class. Classes are usually taught on foam boards, which is a safe way to get started riding waves. You will also have the opportunity to learn about surfing etiquette, which is an important element for both safety and respect.
Laurel Axen Carroll is a licensed acupuncturist, board certified herbalist and a CD(DONA) labor support doula. Laurel currently works in Brooklyn, NY where she specializes in females reproductive issues such as fertility enhancement, pregnancy, labor preparation, labor induction and postpartum recovery.
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