5 Ways That Surfing Has Changed My Life

Every year in January millions of people join gyms and make a resolution that this is going to be the year they get in shape.

They start off with the best of intentions and go to the gym every single day.

This lasts for about two weeks, and before you know it you’re stuck with a gym membership that is impossible to cancel, but you figure you’ll use occasionally because it only costs 20 dollars a month.

Many people say they lack the motivation to exercise. But I don’t think the problem is motivation. The problem is that most exercise is REALLY BORING.

Running on a treadmill isn’t exactly thrilling. It usually seems like a necessary evil.

I’ve never been much of an athlete throughout the course of my life. On my 8th grade basketball team, I was the “improved player” or in other words, the worst player on the team.

Then, I caught one good wave and in that moment my whole life changed. Now, I surf nearly everyday and exercise is something I see as a fringe of benefit of something I love to do.

Health and Fitness

Given that this is a fitness blog, most of you are probably curious about the health benefits of surfing.

To say that it’s a phenomenal workout would be an understatement.  You don’t need calorie counts and nutritional facts to to prove that.

Just open up a surf magazine and look at the bodies of surfers. I think it’s safe to say they’re in pretty good shape.

Surfing provides you an amazing full body workout and the best part is that it’s low resistance because you’re falling in water. It’s something you can do your entire life, and if you catch the bug you probably will. You’ll see people who are near 60 years old catching waves that are HUGE.

New Friends

One of the greatest things that has come out of my experience as a surfer is friendships.

Something about it bonds people to each other unlike any other experience in life. Perhaps it’s because it’s somebody else who understands you think living any other way would be completely insane.

Rob Machado described surfers as a “tribe of people around the world who feed off the energy of riding waves.” The people who you surf with will become some of the greatest friends of your life because you’re both part a lifelong journey. These are people you would never otherwise have met.


Three fourths of the planet is covered in water. Conveniently, most destinations that are coastal happen to be beautiful, and in many cases warm and sunny.

Surfing opens up a world of travel opportunities that you may have never considered before. If you had told me years ago that I’d be living in Costa Rica for 6 months just so I could surf everyday, I would have thought you were out of your mind.

To top it off, you don’t go on vacation and come back out of shape. You come back in even better shape than before you left. These days I’m continually working on trying to set my life up in a way that I can make money online, while living in prime surf destinations around the world. It’s a work in progress.


For me, the real addiction to riding waves centers around its meditative qualities.

A friend once told me ”surfing is the greatest natural high in the world.“ The whole experience of riding a wave is all about presence. You can’t think about another thing when you’re on a wave and if you do, you’ll be under water taking a beating from the ocean very quickly.

The complete disconnect from everything except exactly what you’re doing is incredibly therapeutic even if you do it for an hour or two each day. In fact, it’s so wonderful that you experience withdrawal symptoms when you can’t surf.  Just ask anybody who loves riding waves.


Waves are like life. They’re uncertain, in a constant state of change and they force you to just go with the flow.

Surfing has taught me to resist the temptation to panic, to  live in the moment, and realize that all it takes is one good wave.  It’s actually been one of the most inspiring activities in my life.  Most of the content for my blog is inspired by time in the water and as I deal with life experiences I always seem to come back to lessons from surfing.

The reason sticking to an exercise habit is so difficult is not because of the exercise itself. It’s about finding something you absolutely love where the exercise is just a convenient fringe benefit.  If you live near the coast, I’d recommend taking your first surf lesson.

Srinivas Rao is the author of The Skool of Life, where he writes about surfing, life lessons, and things we never learned in school. You can sign up for his FREE 7 day course on the most valuable lessons you never learned in school.


  1. I couldn’t agree more with all that was said.

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