People who don’t surf will often look a surfer's lifestyle and scratch their heads. The idea of devoting one’s life to finding (and riding) that mystical perfect wave seems a bit obsessive to some. For instance, my life is spent checking swell forecasts and dreaming about splashing around in the waves like a spastic mermaid, sometimes even in the office! (don't tell the boss!) It’s no secret that our surfers march to a different beat, with salt-bleached hair, a permanent-grin from endless stoke, and a passion for sharing what they love with other people. But the hippy/brain-dead stereotype of a surfer is wrong. In fact, I'm willing to argue that surfing actually improves one’s intelligence. And I'm not talking about library dwelling nerd intelligence. I speak of the well-rounded life wizard that stands out as a respected member of society and contributor to the benefit of all humankind! Is that ambitious? I don’t think so. I think it’s in all of us to contribute to humanity. My argument is that surfing gets people on that track much more efficiently than, say, GETTING A UNI DEGREE! (touchy subject...) So here are a few reasons how learning to surf (at Surf Camp!) helps lead one to a better understanding of life. 1. Surfing makes you realise time is an illusion. A surfer’s schedule is not set by calendars or days of the week. If the waves are firing, we are out in the water. If it’s flat or the wind is blowing onshore, we are doing other things. The ocean doesn't know what a Tuesday is. It doesn't care that you have to meet your mates for lunch the Sunday after next. When we follow the human-devised clock and calendar, we lose touch of that natural rhythm whilst frustration and stress will slowly find a way in. Living on natural time helps us connect with our natural instincts that, for whatever reason, present-day society has undervalued. 2. You will be happier. Sun is good. Reaaaaal good! It loads you up with vitamin D and prompts your body to produce more endorphins. Did you know that nearly 18 million Americans suffer from seasonal depression due partially to the fact that they don’t get enough sun? Not to mention, they’re pale. Obviously, there are dangers. Skin cancer and Melanoma are real diseases and more frequent amongst us outdoor dwellers, but if you cover up, chances are you’ll be happier, more tanned, and better looking than you used to be! The actual state of being “stoked” is a real thing. It has to do with ionized water particles in the air that you either inhale or ingest, therefore surfing is scientifically proven to make you happier! 3. You will be healthier. Aside from getting more tanned and blonder, your body will reap the benefits of a highly active lifestyle. Surfing is a great work out, paddling will build up your arms and torso muscles, and it is great for toning up! And when you are not surfing, you will become aware of your fitness level and it will inspire you to work out more, so it will help you catch that wave next time and not feel out of shape! We get fit to surf, whilst some just surf to stay fit. 4. You will be humbled. As individuals, our egos consistently drive our emotions and actions, leading to disagreements and animosity. In the ocean, that is not a problem. The moment you confront a building-sized wall of ocean energy crashing on your head, that self-awareness disintegrates. If you have ever been caught in a rip current you will understand the beautiful power of the ocean. Surfing has kicked my ass over and over again. Just when you think you have something down, you learn something new that is so humbling, you are forced to evaluate what you thought you knew. You are brought to reality time and time again, and any ego trip that you are on will put you in ultimate failure if you bring that attitude to the waves. On the other side of that equation, by putting in your time and forgetting about all the bad moments you will relish in moments of pure ecstasy that cannot be described in a simple blog post such as this. It’s a lifelong relationship that is not without it’s struggles. But the reward is ultimate. 5. You will become more patient. Perfect waves are rare and hard to find, whilst learning to surf takes a lot of time and dedication. Both take are beyond your control. A willingness to accept the things you cannot change will bleed into other elements of life. Since we cannot create waves, we have to learn to be patient and wait for the waves to come to us. It will also teach you to breath, relax and enjoy the surroundings. You will realize that 20 people are surrounding you and no one talks, every one just stare at the horizon and enjoy the moment. 6. You will make unlikely and lasting friends. Believe it or not, there are places in Gaza where Israelis and Palestinians surf together. They share waves. They laugh. They set aside millennia of blood-drawing religious differences in order to surf. At Surf Camp we have a whole host of different nationalities who enjoy each others company and share stories of their pursuit through life. I have found that people out of their comfort zone are the most open to new relationships and willing to engage with other people. Surfing is certainly not a sport where comfort is the main feeling! What are you waiting for? Get out there!