What surfing taught me.

Think about the first time you went swimming. Somewhere deep down we all remember the first time we swallowed a gulp-ful of water through our nose and experienced next what felt like an electric jolt to our brains.

So, what exactly made us fear the big waves? The notion of swimming in rough seas is terrifying simply because of the fear of drowning.

When I first started surfing, the waves scared me. A mere impact of the weakest wave at shore was enough to slap in right in the face as though I have offended the gods above. It strips me of any ego and pride. As I stared onto the beach foam while walking into the sea, I saw how every wave crashed the shores without mercy. In fact, the more I tried to break the oncoming waves, the harder I felt myself being hit. The more fear I had in the confrontation between jumping or diving below a breaking wave, the higher the chances of me getting caught in it’s ‘washing-machine’ tumble.

What I did to overcome this cycle of denial and self-defeating? By going with the flow, understanding the momentum and rhythm of waves and spending more time with it. With experience, it becomes easier. The less I feared the waves, the more I am able to tackle each wave-break gracefully. Eventually, by reading more about how waves are formed and the physics of surfing successfully, I was able to catch my first break and surf to shore. It was exhilarating.

Learning to surf brought me back to how I dealt with many things in life. As a over-thinker by nature, I am inclined to not only think of how outcomes that would never happen, but also of unnecessary factors such as the opinion of others. In turn, I sabotage my own experience and am never ‘in-the-moment’. I learnt that I must believe myself and make sharper, firmer decisions. With my choice, and only my choice, I won’t look back. There are more pros than cons in being straight-forward. Learn to be decisive, then, live in the moment.

caught my first break, my surfing coach was finally relieved

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