Surfing, just like life, demonstrates that without the right combination of power, flexibility, preparation, and timing, you cannot be successful over the long haul (see supporting research below). You could be the strongest surfer in the water, but if your timing isn’t right, you won’t catch a wave. Your timing could be perfect, but if you’re not flexible enough to react to the wave, you’ll lose it. Likewise, if you’re strong and flexible, but unprepared for the constantly changing conditions of the ocean, you’ll end up having a terrible day.
Surfing mimics life perfectly in these ways. If you’re not flexible enough in your approach to the ever-changing circumstances of life, you’re going to be constantly stressed. Maybe you’re flexible enough to live and let go, but if you’re not strong enough to keep this up over an extended period of time, you’ll eventually break down. Likewise, if your power and flexibility are up to par but your timing is off because you’re not decisive enough, you’ll miss the various opportunities life has to offer.
This is why at the CliffHanger Academy, we teach you the perfect combination of power, flexibility, preparation and timing to not only catch the perfect wave but also to overcome your daily obstacles and live your best story. By using psychology, neuroscience and action sports, we teach you this formula and allow you to become more confident and more decisive in your daily life. The best part is we do this while lowering your stress AND having fun.
G-Land, East Java, Indonesia
Builds muscle and endurance and balance
Surfing is a full body exercise that is based on movement, balance, endurance, power, and strength all coming together as one cohesive unit. Surfing is sometimes called “ocean therapy” because it changes your body on various levels through the constantly changing movement of the ocean. It’s also a great cardiovascular exercise, using mostly upper body muscles to paddle and leg muscles to move the board once you’re up. Since surfing heavily relies on balance, you’ll also get a great core workout. One of the best exercise benefits associated with surfing is the improved balance. In order to stay on the surfboard, you must have a strong ability to maintain your balance. You’ll even see benefits transfer to your daily life while walking.
Increases brain function
Surfing helps improve memory, boost creativity and wake your brain up with the same effect as drinking a cup of coffee and may even decrease symptoms of ADHD. Surfing is also well known to stimulate the brain in a variety of other ways such as increasing the production of cells in the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory and learning as well as boosting creativity for up to two hours afterward.
Helps slow down the aging process
Exercising, such as surfing, has been shown to reverse stress’s toll on our aging process at the cellular level, according to a 2010 study from the University of California.
Surfing has been shown to reduce stress by increasing levels of norepinephrine, a chemical that helps balance our brains’ response to stress.
A study concluded that after surfing for 30-minutes positivity and tranquility increased significantly while negative mood and fatigue decreased. We couldn’t agree more! Additionally, aerobic exercise, like surfing, has also been linked to helping treat a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anorexia, and addiction. Surfing has even been shown to relieve ex-soldiers’ post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Surfing can also help to increase your flexibility, which not only helps you become a better surfer but can also aid in the prevention of injuries both in and out of the water. In surfing, the ocean is constantly changing from the wind to weather and tide, the conditions are in perpetual motion. Your success is dictated entirely by your ability to adapt to your environment. Just one of the parallel lessons that CliffHanger Academy uses for life.
Better night’s sleep
Studies show that regular exercise, surfing included, is the best prescription for a good night’s sleep. Another study concluded that “people sleep significantly better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week.” That’s great news since you’ll get 120 minutes of this requirement while surfing In the Wild at CliffHanger Academy!
Teaches valuable life lessons
Let’s be honest, surfing is not an easy sport to learn. It takes time, commitment and perseverance and this is why we love it. Once you commit and overcome the challenges of learning, the rewards are amazing, on and off the board. You’ll not only enjoy all the physical and mental benefits that surfing has to offer, but you’ll also have proven to yourself that you can achieve goals that at some point seemed unattainable and boost your confidence.
In addition to boosting your confidence surfing teaches humility. As individuals in the modern world, we consistently lack the ability to understand our place on this planet. In something as vast as the ocean, that problem is solved. The moment you confront a wave the size of a building, you instantly realize how small you are.
One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned from surfing is patience. No matter how badly you want it, you cannot force a wave to appear. You also cannot learn to surf in a week, a month or even a year. Life and surfing take more time than we want and are beyond your control. A willingness to accept the things you cannot change will affect how you live your daily life.
Lastly, surfing is known to be a very community-based sport, where you share waves and look out for one another’s safety. Studies show that most people perform better on aerobic tests when paired up with a workout buddy, which is why CliffHanger Academy always surfs in pairs or packs (up to six of us).
For all of us at CliffHanger Academy, surfing is not simply about catching a wave, it’s a lifestyle that teaches us how to rewire our Brain, Body & Breath.
Surfing: South Africa meets the U.S. in Rincon, Puerto Rico
*All images are from CliffHanger Academy Experiences © 2005-2020 David Mykel
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