Learning to Surf as an Adult
Surfing is a playful, even regressive, practice in where we can quickly find an infantile and spontaneous joy of living. Playing with water is a quasi-instinctive behaviour throughout life, from an early age when the a baby becomes aware of it’s body and realises its first abstraction through manipulation of water. The other great interest of surfing is to provide strong sensations from the first feeling of being pushed, whether you are standing or lying on your board. The speed and power are immediately noticeable for the beginner surfer. One can add to this joyous program that surfing is a complete sport, which works the muscles, endurance, breath, balance and perceptive acuity. In short, it burns enough calories to allow unbridled consumption of all the delicious foods you could imagine.
From the first sessions, surfing generates physical fatigue and a psychological “rinse” that gives the feeling of being filled with new energy. The water sessions are also accompanied by a deep and restful sleep. Surfing belongs to a group of activities that require a lot of concentration and therefore avoid rehashing one’s daily problems. This is a great way to disconnect.
Medium-and long-term benefits
Over the course of a surf session, the general level of stress decreases as self-confidence increases. Negative emotions are better managed and the ease of relativizing the difficulties of existence increases. We learn a lot about oneself and one’s relationship with the environment by discovering the rhythm of the waves. On the physical plane, it takes time to perceive the muscular development of the arms, back, and abdomen. The sharpened profile of the surfer is built over the years. However, overall tonicity and vitality are part of the quick benefits of the practice.
Profile required for surfing?
There is a multitude of ways to surf; Depending on one’s physical abilities and personality, everyone can find a surfing practice that suits them. There are waves and styles for all tastes: from the gentle surfing that makes you dabble quietly in the white water to the extreme sport that leads to surpassing your limits and fears, there is also a very aesthetic surf that is akin to a dance with the waves or tandem surf, especially for classic surfing, in which the duets draw moments of irreplaceable complicity.
The difficulties specific to adults
First of all, before learning how to surf, it is useful to take a look at your ability to swim at sea without drowning. What is called water fluency is not an innate skill. For those who do not practice the ocean (land-people, non-natives of the coast, holidaymakers and newcomers), a small introductory lesson will prove useful.
Then it is imperative to leave your adult brain on the beach. The adult has two great traverses: intellectualize everything that goes through consciousness, and setting unattainable goals. Surfing is a matter of sensations. Trying to streamline, to understand, to plan is to run for failure. Asking your instructor why we do this exercise, why do we have to look in this direction is useless, and it will annoy your teacher. If your teacher tells you to paddle, paddle… that’s all. They know, the ocean, and they know where they’ve taken you,and your skill level but they can’t always explain every detail. It’s up to you to feel and learn from the water, without going through the words.
Learning to Surf is an initiatory rite that requires a modicum of respect and humility because you are in the ocean and not in a standardized fitness room. Do not imagine to display an elegant surf in three sessions. A dozen sessions are required to handle the board correctly, and at least as much to pass the first waves without capsizing… then you can consider making a duck dive, getting up on the board and catching green waves.
In any case surfing is a journey and quite a beautiful one at that!