Monday, October 14, 2013

Surfs Up

"It's like the mafia. Once you're in, you're in. There's no getting out." -Kelly Slater

For my birthday my bf bought me a wetsuit and surf board.
 I never asked for that or even thought I'd like to learn to surf, as I generally don't even go in the water at the beach and am not the best swimmer.

However, once I got out there I found out that surfing is not impossible for a non-water person. The key thing about surfing is being confident and going for it. For me, my discomfort in the water did hold me back from being fully confident but surfing was a lot easier than I expected. For one- your wetsuit helps you float and once you get used to diving under the waves, it really is much nicer than getting smacked in the face with a wall of white wash. Also having a good teacher and a good location to learn make it comfortable.
Think about it- if surfing were so hard not many people would do it... and I don't know about where you live, but where I live almost everyone surfs... even kids and old people! 

There are several things that have held me back from trying it in the past:

1) swimming. As I said, I'm not a strong swimmer, and breathing in the water is hard for me. I think that's just something I have to work on. When I was out in the water, I would get very out of breath after exhausting very minimal effort. Maybe it's just that way when you learn something new because you don't have the muscle memory to support you yet, but I think, at least for me, the added element of water was a big challenge. Having a good teacher helped me to overcome that. He kept me calm, helped me when I needed it, and boosted my confidence level.

2) crowded surf. Learning to surf in a place like Santa Cruz, CA, where I live is intimidating because I feel like your always in the way of the real surfers. And surfing in my town is taken pretty seriously. Feeling like your in everyone's way is no fun, and stressful. But down in Mexico where the waves were smaller and the surf was less crowded was perfect. Finding a good location for learning is really important. 

3) my fitness level. Core strength is key. You have to be able to stand up and balance and lean and move your body in ways while keeping your core stable. In a past articleI wrote about getting out of shape in my new relationship. I haven't been feeling at my optimum fitness level for a while now, but since I've picked back up with circuit training and yoga, I was pretty confident about my strength which helped me out a lot.

Once I tried it, I really loved it. Surfing is a fun activity that works you out without feeling like a workout at all. And because it feels like an activity, not a workout there is still room in your day after for a circuit or intense power yoga session.
surfing alone is great because it works your arms, back, shoulders, and core. while surfing looks like its all legs, at least for me, as a beginner, it was really far more upper body work.
It's also motivating. Now, I'm more motivated to get into swimming and try to build more confidence with that. I have tried swim workouts in the past and always found them to be very difficult for me to get through. It is just such a different kind of workout than I am used to, and I haven't been motivated to stick with it. But now I'm more motivated to build my confidence surfing! 

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