Learning to Surf: Exercise and Nature

When we moved to Nicaragua it quickly became evident I needed to learn to surf. It’s too hot to hike regularly and although I can kind of satisfy my daily need for movement with yoga it means I’m doing yoga for exercise instead of keeping it as a mindful practice. And I dislike the gym. And really…. when you are surrounded by the ocean and it’s the kind of ocean that produces perfect waves for surfing it’s a bit silly not to surf.

But the first time I went surfing some 8 or 9 years ago I was hopeless. I didn’t get up. Not even once. Not even nearly. And the crashing waves were scary. I didn’t bother trying again.

Fast forward to deciding to live by the ocean in a hot country I realised I needed to get over my fear of large waves, sharks, and what I perceived to be the too cool for school surfer attitude. So I found a teacher and went out surfing. And I loved it. My fear of waves fell away quickly as I learnt to dive under them or turtle roll. I discovered bizarrely with my surf board I wasn’t afraid of sharks. And I liked 99% of the cool surfer guys I met.

I love exercise that’s outdoors and combines learning about nature with intensity of movement. Out surfing you see fish splashing at the surface; butterflies skimming the water; you learn to read the waves way out and watch the way they crash on the rocks to know when to paddle out or when to catch a ride; once I saw whales; once I was surrounded by an apocalyptic frenzy of thousands of sea birds above and thousands of tiny splattering fish below; sometimes you see the fins of sting rays as they ride in the waves.

It’s such a gift to be in the environment around us.

My best movement recommendation: Get out and find a teacher and learn a new skill. It’s great to have a coach to learn something properly. It’s fun to check out what’s on offer in your area (city or country it doesn’t matter)… dance, swim, hike, ski, bike…. move your body.

And if you come to Nicaragua get in touch with Pedro at http://www.tribusurf.com/ or Oscar https://www.instagram.com/sanchezvictoroscardanilo/ for a lesson.

Moody skies and crashing waves

Moody skies and crashing waves

Morning coffee before surfing

Morning coffee before surfing

My kids learning to surf and wax their boards

My kids learning to surf and wax their boards

Lucy Paget