No matter how much you enjoy surfing, there will eventually come a time where the subtle art of riding a wave can become mundane and monotonous. It may be for a brief moment, when the waves have been horrible for a few weeks, the water cold, or your mind is somewhere else, stuck on a crisis or life changing moment in your existence. This moment can be profound, as since you first got that feeling of riding a wave, you could never imagine it becoming dull. This is my first hand account of what I have done to keep surfing fun in my life, when the motivation has been at the bottom of the tank.
For years I surfed almost everyday regardless of the conditions, crowds and my mindset. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this, but sometimes the average waves and crowds can take away from the joys of surfing. To combat this I found that waiting for the waves to turn on or surfing in those times outside the peak surf hour allowed me to be calmer in the water. Mainly because I was not paddling around people and trying to hold priority all for an average wave. This also made me deal with crowds better when the waves were firing, as I wasn’t dealing with them all the time. I believe picking your time to surf and not forcing the issue can greatly improve your motivations for getting in the ocean. Sometimes just getting in the salt water for a swim is better than a surf.
The joys of surfing as witnessed in our Stories For The Seas coffee table book.
This is a bit of a no-brainer, but when you feel your surfing is becoming a bit dull and mundane, something as simple as changing the board you are riding can make a big difference. Hustling around on a standard shortboard when the waves are 2-foot and onshore is not going to give too many people much satisfaction. Go get yourself a fish, longboard or a soft top. Last summer I spent a lot more time riding my soft top with no fins, sliding across the wave face. To my surprise I was greeted with a lot more entertainment value, stoke from fellow surfers and in some cases jealousy, because I was having a lot more fun than those people struggling to catch waves around me. Riding a different board also makes returning to your everyday board seem a lot less monotonous and bland. There was a time 10 years ago where it was not common to shop around on boards in the surf, but these days it is the new norm, as this is clearly increasing the motivations of everyday surfers.
After years of surfing, sometimes you can develop a personality in the water that is focused on catching as many waves as possible, whilst showing no empathy and stoke for your fellow surfers. I believe this is unhealthy. You never get as much enjoyment out of something when the sole focus is you. Surfing is much more fun when you go into the water with a friendly attitude, ready to share the waves and good times with others. Obviously in some cases people can take advantage of your generosity and good attitude, but you will often find that it works in your favour more often than not. A simple smile and wave to your fellow surfer can automatically set you in a better mood in the water. And just remember if this friendly attitude is not shared by your fellow surfer, then they are probably not enjoying themselves as much as you.
Cover Photo: @sidrisima Surfer: @ruben_fuente
Words By Sam Shearer