This time of year, we reflect. As surfers, life is pretty good. We chase a simple passion: board in hand, looking for swell. But there are always ways we can grow. It could be a change in habit, an improvement in health, a check next to a bucket list item, or a recommitment to some aspect of life.
Here we focus on some ideas for resolutions related to surfing.
With resolutions, specificity is key. Think about goals that are manageable and realistic.
Of course, surfing resolutions will generally be fun. They’re less about giving up anything and more about building experiences and getting better at what we love.
So, with a thank you and a goodbye to 2017, here are some thoughts for the upcoming year.
We progress by pushing our limits and addressing weaknesses.
If your comfort level is waist-to-chest high surf, set a goal to charge a head-high set. If you live in a cold-water location, commit to heading out when it’s a few degrees colder this year. Maybe there’s a technical break you haven’t braved yet. Perhaps you would like to improve your backhand riding, perfect your cutback, or pull into your first tube!
Having a goal—especially one that seems just out of reach—motivates us.
This year, enter the water with a plan for how to progress, and you will.
Explore Others’ Stories
We derive inspiration from many sources.
One is through the lives of others. There are a number of books and movies about surfing that can affect your surfing skill, motivation, or goals.
Want to learn about the passion for surfing that drove an individual throughout his life? Check out the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Barbarian Days. Or perhaps it’s the pure power of the ocean that moves you. In that case, check out The Wave, which tracks the surfers and scientists that pursue monster swells.
You could also commit to watching a few of our top surfing movies.
No matter your preference, set a resolution to delve deeper into the stories of surfing.
We often focus our attention to the physical demands of surfing. Yet surfing allows us to tap into both the physical and the mental aspects of life.
We can train our brain to be better prepared and help boost our surfing. From finding peace and relaxation to overcoming fear and anxiety, the brain affects everything we do.
Techniques like meditation and visualization can help unlock our potential or overcome obstacles. Meditation tends to calm the mind and encourage a focus on the present moment. Visualization can be useful in preparing for a particularly challenging set by running through scenarios before they actually occur.
Dedicating time to the mental side could be the difference between winning or losing a session.
Set Free Your Inner Scientist
Surfing—perhaps more than any other sport—requires total immersion in the natural environment.
As a result, most surfers on a long enough timeline become studied in sciences affecting the ocean.
Perhaps this is the year you jump in with both feet.
Set a resolution to study bathymetry, currents, wave dynamics, or meteorology. If you have a local break, track the impact on the surf of wind speed and direction, tides, swell direction, swell size, and swell periods.
The sea can be fickle. The more you know, the better you can prepare, appreciate the environment, and navigate the waters.
Maybe through study you’ll identify that perfect day in the perfect location—and find an empty lineup waiting.
Where to get started? Our own reservations specialist, Ryan Waldron, has written extensively on this topic in a local Guanacaste magazine, The Howler. Check out his monthly column, Surf Science here.
Stay (or Get Back) in Surf Shape
There’s a reason health club memberships spike in January.
Getting in shape is a popular New Year’s resolution. If you’re among those looking to get that beach body ready, consider how you can do while preparing for surfing.
You don’t need to be in the water to stay in peak condition. Check out our earlier post about some ways you can stay in surf shape.
When the waves are breaking, you want to be surfing—not huffing and puffing because you’re out of shape.
Consider Your Fuel
Together with getting in shape, diet ranks high on common resolution lists.
For surfers, our food becomes the fuel for our performance. What you eat can affect your performance and training for surfing. You might choose diets that improve your own health or sustainable options that improve the planet’s health—or both.
Considering diets within the context of surfing performance can be just the goal you need to stay committed.
Kelly Slater is famous for his intense commitment to clean and sustainable eating. And when it’s important enough for an 11-time world champion, it’s certainly a resolution worth consideration.
As surfers, we’re completely dependent on the ocean and the natural environment. We have an obligation to protect it.
For 2018, consider volunteering at a local beach or in your local community. If time is a constraint, you could consider donating to organizations like SurfAid, which seeks to improve the lives of people living in isolated locations connected by surfing, or Surfriders Foundation, dedicated to the protection of the ocean and reduction of pollution.
There are plenty of ways to give back.
And in doing so, we keep our playground clean and pristine.
Who knows? Karma may come back and reward you with an epic set.
Visit Witch’s Rock Surf Camp
Of course, we’d love to see this as one of your resolutions.
If it is, we’ll be waiting for you.
Happy New Year!