Surfing (and Life) Advice …

by | Jun 25, 2019 | Observations, Peter's Voice

The other day, Beth and I were getting ready to go surfing. We’ve only been a few times since we’ve moved to Santa Cruz, but were looking forward to it. As we were peered down from the cliff top at the other surfers and checking out the waves, an old surfer dude said “Hi.”

He told us he used to live in the Bay Area and frequently came to Santa Cruz to surf as a kid. He remembered surfing at this very spot back before they installed the steps. “You had to climb down the cliff to get to the water.” He said, “That was the most dangerous part of the day. Then when you were done, you had to climb back up. “

He now lived in the 50th state (Hawaii) and surfed all the time. We told him we were just beginners, and trying to figure it out.

“When you get up on the board, be sure to lean forward. Let your momentum keep you going with the wave.”

When we finally made our way to the surf, I thought about his advice. I got up on the board and actually surfed for the first time. I felt I could control the board and had an idea of where I wanted it to go. I wasn’t doing anything fancy, but It was very different from the way I surfed before when I would hop up and quickly bail out, usually falling backward.

Lean Forward

Leaning forward made all the difference. Since then, I’ve thought about his simple instruction for surfing and realized it applies to life as well.

At any given time, you can think about where you are, where you’ve been, or where you are going.

When we think about the past, we can get stuck living the same experience over and over again. When we think about the future, the possibilities are limitless.

I’ve started to think more about the future. The move to Santa Cruz has undoubtedly helped that shift. Maybe it’s because I’m no longer confronted with my past every day because I’m no longer living in the same house or the same city. Here, everything is new, and possibilities are easier to imagine.

I’m seeing the benefits of thinking ahead. When I do, everything seems to lighten up. Instead of dealing with past or current challenges in my thoughts, I imagine a life where they no longer exist. When I think that way, their impact on me is diminished.

I have control over how I want to live. Every moment, I can choose to be tentative and hold back, or I can lean forward – like on the surfboard – to get closer to where I want to go.

Listening to the old surfer dude reminded me that if I want to get the most out the waves of life, I’m better off standing up and leaning forward.

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