I was recently sent surfer and writer Sam Bleakley’s lovely new book – Mindfulness and Surfing.
The book is a series of short essays; covering everything from the story of the stringer to the effect of the sea on the brain. An unexpected bonus was the sprinkling of delightful facts, like the fact that there is a Cornish word – mordros – for the ever-present sound of the sea.
As well as stories from Sam’s travels and his history as a longboarder, there’s also plenty practical exercises to help you be more mindful before, during and after surfing. Here’s my top takeaways from the book…
Get in tune with the sea
The simplest way to surf more mindfully is to spend time getting in tune with the sights and sounds of the sea before you paddle in. Switch your focus away from yourself and towards to the external environment. Feel the sand beneath your feet and watch and listen to the waves.
“Stick with the senses as they are shaped by the sea’s sound, taste and smell. Bathe in the rainbows that peel off the back of the waves combed by offshore winds”
Treat waxing your board as a chance to clear your mind before you enter the sea.
“One of the best ways to temper any sense of frustration or negativity you might have before a surf is to treat waxing your board as a meditation…You can never have too much wax, so keep waxing until you bring your intentions, body and mind into alignment.”
Allow your self to just be
“Mindful surfing is about replacing frantic ‘doing’ with mindful ‘being’. Let the sea revive exhaustion, enjoy the wipeout, turn the frustration of the crowded surf into happiness and just being in the sea.”
Visualise the ride
Sam advocates the use of visualisation to improve your surfing, saying that the act of visualising your pop up can even help you paddle for longer and catch more waves.
“It is a mistake to think that surfing demands just practice, fitness and strength. Visualisation is just as important…Before I surf I visualise the experience – in fact, I even visualised winning my first European surfing title in Portugal in 1999.”