"If it scares you, It's worth doing!"

Courtney is from up state New York, and came to SD to learn how to surf and joined Groundswell Community Project this summer: here is her surf story!

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Why do you surf? It’s the time I feel most like myself. It excites me and brings a ‘high you can’t buy’!

Who taught you and/or how did you learn to surf? I moved from Boston (after being laid off in 2008) to “learn how to surf” and taught myself. Met some great locals that helped me along but stopped going every day a year or so later.

During that time, I found out I was pregnant, and right after I was diagnosed with bilateral hip dysplasia. I was in intense pain for years. Three months after I had my baby (Keagan) I had a total hip replacement. I had to re-learn to walk, then I walked with a cane, and was unable to do activities that keep me whole.

Running, surfing, hiking, yoga, teaching paddleboard yoga were a huge part of my identity  - and they were gone. Who was I without that? What made me happy? Would I ever be active again? Thoughts like this plagued me.

That was one year ago. Flash forward to today and I just returned from an off-roading surf trip in Mexico where I had the courage and skill to surf off the grid spots (alone) like 9 palms, rocks, and shipwreck! Nothing can describe how that felt - and I owe it completely to the skills and confidence I learned in your 8-week program. When I tell you that you gave me my life back - please believe it.

I now go surfing 2-3 times per week - with or without company and learn something about myself each time. You hit the nail on the head... Mother Ocean is the best teacher.

I want to let you know how impactful Groundswell was for me. I haven't felt this good in a very long time - and I owe you a HUGE gigantic thank you and beaming waves of love!

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What do you do for self love? Surf, meditate, sit under the moon, stretch, get in the water.

What lessons has Mother Ocean taught you while surfing that pertain to your life on land? Things that excite you are what you’re meant to be doing - it’s not a coincidence you feel this way - chase things that make you feel like this.

What have you learned about fear from surfing and the ocean? If it scares you, it’s worth doing. Also - if it’s “just water underneath you” .. GO FOR IT!

If you could go back and visit the you that was just learning to surf what would you tell her? Thank you for doing this. Once you get past that break you’ll catch a ‘huge’ wave and you won’t be scared any more - you are great at this already… Or maybe I wouldn’t tell her ;)  

What is your hope for the future of surfing? For my personal future I plan to be skilled enough to teach my daughter how to surf by the time she’s ready (she’s 1 ½). For the overall future I hope that there are more programs that allow the disabled to feel what it’s like to ride a wave.

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-Courtney Langan: Sunset Cliffs, San Diego, age 35