5 Attributes of a True Surfer
March 10, 2016

5 Attributes of a True Surfer

Surfers are a special breed.  We have our own distinct lifestyle, culture, and unique community.  People don’t always get us and we don’t always get other people.

Not just anyone can be a surfer; perhaps this is what sets us apart.  Surfers are truly mavericks.

Our differences are found deep down in our core.  You can’t just move to the beach, buy a surfboard, wetsuit, and cool bamboo surf rack and call yourself a surfer. It’s certainly not walking around the beach in swim attire with chiseled abs. Being a surfer is a mindset and way of life, a journey rather than a sprint. Becoming a true surfer cannot be achieved in one day but rather takes years, it’s a total physical and mental transformation.

We learn some of our most important life lessons in the ocean. These lessons become part of our character and how we take on the world.


Surfing is a journey as is each day on the water. Nobody ever goes out intending to catch one wave and call it a day. It takes a combination of strength of endurance to get through each session. We made a joke about abs, but surfers have to be fit. Not Hanz and Franz meathead fit, but strong throughout our body and mind. We need to be physically strong to paddle through the break and catch waves but we also need the drive and resolution to keep going even when we’re getting pounded. The ocean is a powerful thing and it takes the drive, strength, and endurance to navigate it.

Good things take time and most of the time the good part doesn’t come until you’ve put in a lot of work and hurdled some major obstacles.


Keep a weathered eye on the horizon. We spend countless hours watching lineups with our back to the beach waiting for our wave. Dare we say that we have good anticipation and foresight that translates to our daily lives? This may not mean we stick to plans but the ocean has taught us a great lesson about thinking about the future and what may come. It also teaches us patience..


We’ve all spent hours on the ocean waiting for that perfect wave. It’s an easy place to learn patience but has often left us not fully satisfied. Surfing is a lot like golf, you can hit 83 mediocre shots and then when you’re about to sell your clubs you hit an impossible 8-iron from the rough and land it 2 feet from the pin. Faith restored.

While surfing is almost always less frustrating than golf, it’s that perfect wave that keeps us coming back and the patience that gets us there.


Nobody’s ever looked at a 50 ft. wave and not felt intimidated. As commonplace as it may now seem, it takes courage to venture into the ocean, as land mammals, amidst storm swells, blind to what’s below, and do what we have learned to love. The power of nature and the ocean is tremendous and we are but tiny specks on an enormously powerful planet. There are big scary (beautiful) fish down there in addition to sharp coral and powerful rip currents ready to welcome us to stay with them.

We’re courageous. Look at the superheroes and superheroines that surf Mavericks and Cyclops and tell us they don’t have major cojones. Impossible.


If you don’t have balance, you fall off your surfboard, duh. Obviously you need great balance to ride a wave, keep from capsizing while scoping the lineup, and paddling through the break. This is one of many characteristics that carries through to our life. While others may thinking our surfing means we play too much and need to focus more on life, we plead the contrary. We’re here for a good time not a long time. We’re here to have FUN.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up with work and life but hard to remember to keep that balance. Like yoga, fitness, and church for some, surf is what brings us back to a place where we step back, relax, and remember why we’re here.

One of the most important parts of balance is recognizing our relationship with the environment. After all, if we don’t take care of it, we may find ourselves paddling out through empty bottles in a lifeless ocean full of dangerous microplastics.

In a world full of cell phones and computer screens, surfing is our escape. It brings us back to nature and gets us away from the annoyances and hassles of everyday life. Out on the water we get a chance to meditate and appreciate life without buzzing or horn honking, just the steady crash of waves. It’s where we go to relax but where we end up doing most of the learning the shapes the people we are and will become.