Hang Ten, Dude

By Madeleine Stiffler

Arguably the best board sport, surfing offers something for everyone. Of course, surfing is rather difficult, but that does not go without noting how fulfilling it is. Learning how to maneuver in beautiful oceans on a longboard, shortboard, fishtail, or other board becomes an opportunity to learn more about the sea, as well as gaining a better understanding of your body, surroundings, limits, and goals. While surfing does a wonderful job of humbling you, it is a challenge to become one with the ocean in one of the greatest problem-solving and adapting sports. The surfing clique can be a bit intimidating, I have to admit, but that should never stop someone from giving it a shot (just stay out of the locals’ way). 

Adopting the proper surf etiquette should also be a learner’s number one priority—if not, the appeal of surfing diminishes and the fun is wiped out. But once you understand the mechanics of surfing and you are able to catch your first wave, it becomes one of the most freeing experiences ever. Not only does surfing offer an incredible (and attainable) challenge, but also it demonstrates how empowering and supportive a community of those with shared interests can be. Making friends on the water is easy and, more often than not, you will find supporters offering tips and pointers instead of criticism or heckling. 

Frankly, surfing also makes for a great conversation topic and you could even become a mentor or a teacher yourself. On the topic of mentors, older generations of surfers are the best, and can offer some great advice for beginners. Surfing is a phenomenal way to get in shape too—paddling, swimming, and maintaining the proper stance is a killer workout in the best way possible. Although jumping into a new hobby as daunting as surfing can seem terrifying, I strongly encourage everyone to give it a shot—you never know if it could become your new favorite activity. As long as you aren’t a kook, there is a place for you in the world of surfing.