Surfing is a surface water sport where someone standing atop a board rides the forward face of a wave to shore. This is a lot harder than it looks and reaps more benefits than you’d think. Surfers paddle out to sea on their boards and push up to an upright position once they’ve caught a wave. What with the temperamental waves and the dangerous ocean, once completed, this maneuver results in the consumption of not a few calories and a stoked surfer, to boot. It’s exercise and mental upkeep in one neat, wet, exhilarating package.
One of the more commonly derived benefits is a thorough cardiovascular workout, which involves stressing the vascular organs. The furious paddling required to keep abreast on the ocean in order to catch a wave, the subsequent fight for balance while riding the wave, and the large amounts of flailing involved, generally, is enough exercise to make hearts pump faster under the duress. This increases stamina and wards off a few cardiological disorders.
The amount of time spent surfing is superior to the amount of time generally spent in the gym, simply because surfing is a more entertaining, appealing prospect to most, and leaves the pleasure centers in glorious pain in the aftermath. Surfers develop a sense of balance (all that standing on a narrow plank) as well as an increase in muscle mass. Paddling (either with the arms or the legs) and directing the board once standing (with the legs) strengthen the arms, legs and torso. An immediate side-effect of time well-spent in the water is raging hunger. A diet rich in protein, vegetables and fruit aid in muscle development, as well as purging the body of a multitude of toxins.
Just spending extended amounts of time in the ocean does wonders for all-round well-being. The salty air and unfettered, infinite energy of the sea is rejuvenating to the point where surfers look younger than the general population. Surfers tend to be less stressed, more mellow and – after hours spent focusing solely in the elated present while surfing – less troubled about uncertainties. The unwavering focus required while on the water, when combined with the physical rigors, leads to what most surfers liken to a state of being Zenned out. A high-octane lifestyle of pummeling – and being pummeled by – the waves almost always results in felicity in all spheres of life. The always-available vista of the ocean in all its panoramic splendor is Christmas come again. The surfing culture makes surfers look cool, too. Shake a shaka, yo.
Despite its boundless benefits and the addictive intoxication it offers, it’s important to absolutely know what you’re doing before you leap off into the seas. Never venture out alone – no matter how experienced a swimmer, you might still need help. Verify weather and water conditions beforehand. Stretch before and after surfing. Make sure your board is securely fastened to your leg. Don’t ever give up.
“Surfing’s the source. Can change your life. Swear to god.” – Patrick Swayze