Why “Will I be good at surfing?” Is A Dumb Question
Is surfing similar to snowboarding? Will I be able to surf because I skateboard? If I have good balance, will I be a good surfer? Will yoga give me an advantage surfing?
These are the questions wannabe surfers ask all the time. And the answer is simple: NO.
None of these things will guarantee your success in the water on a surfboard. Yes certain things will be helpful in certain ways, like getting a head-start putting together the pieces of a puzzle, but it’s questionable how all these little pieces will directly benefit you as a surfer. It’s kind of like how all the random experiences in your life help you to become the person you are today. Yes they certainly do, but you couldn’t have planned these things. And that’s why I don’t recommend you plan for how you are going to become a good surfer.
My recommendation: GET OUT THERE AND GIVE IT A TRY.
In my 10 years of surfing experience, I’ve concluded that surfing is about learning from experience. I was out teaching my rock climbing partner how to surf, and he was asking all these questions like, “How far out do I sit?”, “How long do I wait to start paddling?”, “How many paddle strokes does it take to catch a wave?”. As a rock climber, he is used to everything being quantifiable, and broken down into systems (many engineers are also climbers).
There are in fact millions of answers to each of his questions. A different answer arises each time the ocean moves (get it?). The ocean is too unpredictable an environment to break down surfing like you would sports like tennis, golf, or even rock climbing. My job as a surf instructor is to guide you and help you get a feel for all the different scenarios you may find yourself in, and how to best react to those. This time however, I took a moment to enjoy watching my buddy flail around trying to find his balance. I rarely get this opportunity. He is an amazing athlete who gets to show off in many different sports, but he’s a prime example of how this overall athleticism doesn’t necessarily translate to skill in surfing. Surfing requires a unique set of skills you don’t learn anywhere else but the water. Countless times I’ve had super talented athletes struggle to get up, and couch potatoes get up on their first try.
There is no stepwise path to success in surfing. There’s no broken down methodology to describe how the ocean works and how you play in it. Of course, there is methodology for popping up, and balancing on the surfboard, but as far as how to interact with an ocean, that’s ever changing, it’s all a game of experience.
Sometimes it’s a better idea not to think so much about something, but instead to just go try it. Surfing is a perfect example of this. It is not like the ACTs. It is more like a random pop quiz. Just go for it and give it your best shot! And yes, taking a lesson makes it a lot easier. It’s like having an encyclopedia right next to you when you’re taking your pop quiz.
My advice: Summon the adventurer in you. Quit wondering if you will be any good at surfing. Quit debating whether you have the right body type, asking if you’re too old, or worrying about the water being too cold. Jump outside your comfort zone and
GET OUT THERE AND GIVE IT A TRY.
-Eat Sleep Surf.