Why do you surf? I feel strong when I surf, even when I wipe out (a lot). Surfing is a metaphor for my life. When I’m in the water I am reminded what I have control over and what is completely out of my control, except how I choose to react or deal with it. When my circle of control is tight, I am more aware of my reactions.
Who taught you and/or how did you learn to surf? My stepdad took me tanker surfing when I was 8. It was the most thrilling thing I had ever done! I wore a bulky life jacket but it didn’t stop me from keeping a laser focus on the long left I was riding.
What do you do for self love? When I feel like I deserve it, which has been very little lately, I surf, dive, climb and travel. I also interact with friends much more.
What lessons has Mother Ocean taught you while surfing that pertain to your life on land? I am a very tiny part of a massive energetic force.
Why is it important to you that women surf? The more people that look like you doing an activity, the more you have a sense of belonging.
Have you ever struggled with any mental health issues and if so how has surfing and the ocean helped you along the journey? I dealt with severe depression in college and was ok for over two decades. Recently, it has returned along with family issues that require my full, non-depressed attention. The ocean is my refuge. When I can’t manage to talk to anyone, I can be in the ocean and for at least a few hours, feel a sense of well-being. I even feel happy! Depression robs you of the joy you felt in activities, but the ocean almost always has a way of making me smile.
What have you learned about fear from surfing and the ocean? I think way too much about what other people think of me when I surf. It’s ridiculous, but it is one of the few times I am self conscious of my performance.
If you could go back and visit the you that was just learning to surf what would you tell her? It’s going to get more difficult before it levels out…be nice to yourself.
Written by Groundswell Participant Summer 2018 (age 45, surf home California)