Surf therapy

I went surfing in Wales in January. Something I never thought I’d do for many reasons. Firstly, I really feel the cold and Wales isn’t exactly know for its tropical climate. Secondly, watersports were never my thing and surely I’m too old to pick them up now?! And thirdly, the biggest reason of all, I had an irrational fear of being under water.

I don’t know what caused that fear, as nothing bad has ever happened to me when I’ve been in the sea or a swimming pool. But I did have a bad dream about it when I was younger. So I can only assume it was subconsciously the cause of my anxiety. Anyway, whatever the cause, I hated the feeling of being under water. That sense of pressure all around me and the loss of hearing made me feel disorientated and panicked. It put me off trying new things, even if I liked the idea of it.

But that’s all changed now! I faced my fear by throwing myself in at the deep end. Literally! I always fancied trying stand up paddle boarding and after far too much time in lockdown adding more and more to my bucket list, I decided to bite the bullet and book myself onto a weekend away in Pembrokeshire, which included sup and surf sessions.

I’d surfed once before in Bali, but didn’t really enjoy it that much. So this time, I was expecting the same, and was mostly looking forward to the paddleboarding. But with a new mindset and a drive to ‘live a little more’ after feeling like we were only really ‘surviving’ through lockdown, something had changed. I still felt trepidation and hated every second of being under water whenever I fell off my board. But alongside it, I simultaneously felt a thrill and excitement, a rush of adrenaline that made me feel alive.

That trip to Pembrokeshire was back in May 2021. And now eight months down the line and with a couple of amazing new surf friends to boot, I can’t get enough of surfing. I’ve well and truly caught the bug and even went on a week long surf camp in Portugal in November.

But even I’ve surprised myself by willingly getting in the sea on a chilly day in January. Togged up in my winter wetsuit, boots, gloves and hood, I actually wanted to go in the sea and ride some waves. It was freezing and my lips turned blue, but that dose of vitamin sea invigorated me and I can’t wait to go again!

10 Reasons why I love surfing

  1. It’s refreshing, calming and relaxing, making it a great stress-reliever and a chance to clear your mind.
  2. But it’s also exciting, invigorating and fun – the adrenaline rush leaves me feeling boosted and alive. It’s an amazing feeling to ride a wave all the way to the beach!
  3. The surf community is so friendly, chilled and laid back. Everyone is willing to help and there’s always someone out in the waves to chat with between sets.
  4. Progress is addictive- the more improvements you see, the more you want to practice.
  5. Surf time is the best kind of time… everything can slow down and wait! No one is ever in a hurry and that’s such a nice contrast to every day life.
  6. Being in the ocean connects you with nature! That sea air and space is great for your mental health and wellbeing.
  7. Beaches are so peaceful, and surfing at sunrise and sunset brings a whole new perspective.
  8. After-surf coffee and cake tastes the best!
  9. It’s always a laugh… no one looks good in a wetsuit hood, but you’d be a fool to surf without one in winter. The brain freeze is worse than feeling like a muppet… trust me!
  10. It’s a great workout. My core, shoulders and arms always ache after surfing, but I can actually do press ups for the first time in my life now!

Roll on the next surf adventure! I’m always thinking about the next surf and I even find myself looking at the surf forecast and watching the beach cameras when I have five minutes spare. Some might say it’s an addiction… but there are definitely worse addictions to have!

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