Already one world’s most popular water sports, surfing is continuing to transcend global borders, with around 500,000 surfers now in the UK alone, according to the British Surfing Association.
Like many sports, surfing is just as much about the activity (in this case catching waves) as it is the lifestyle and community. All of these are key reasons why so many surf advocates refer to it as being part of who they are, rather than just a hobby or passion.
On International Surfing Day, we’re celebrating all that is inspiring and great about this sport, from both a physical and mental perspective, and also from a sustainability stance, given that the surfing community are becoming a powerful catalyst for ocean preservation and protection.
We asked Anna Boschini and Gabrielle Guyon what it is that attracts them to the sport and the main benefits they have derived from the surf lifestyle.
‘Surfing has such a special place in my life. It's why I chose to live near the ocean, to be able to connect with this pure energy every day is a privilege that I cherish deeply. I was not born, and I did not grow up near it, but I have always felt it's call.
The sense of freedom without borders came when I finally managed to pass this powerful break and find myself floating quietly out of ''danger''. My mind is lost in the count of the waves, no longer knowing what time or date it is. I am fully present and receptive to what surrounds me because the ocean requires all my attention. The excitement I feel when I see a perfect wave coming my way, and this connection I have as I surf it. It is as if time has completely stopped, allowing me for a brief moment to take advantage of the powerful energy of the ocean.
It is so exhilarating that I can stay there for a whole day under the beating sun. Starting to feel the heat of the rays brown my skin and discolour my hair. The reflection is so brilliant on the water that it makes my eyes wrinkle instinctively. The salty taste of the ocean on my lips,the delicate tickling of the water movement on my feet, and small bubbles slipping between my toes. The balance and the perfect harmony between my board and me. I continue to surf until total exhaustion creates a lightness of my soul, and feeling a sense of mission accomplished.
It's been four years that I moved to Costa Rica to live by the beach. I surf every day for fun and compete in the national circuit. I teach surfing and guide surf trip around the country. The ocean is my teacher, and I am her translator.’
" I’ve lived in the mountains my whole life and I never thought a water sport could make me so happy and, actually, addicted. The feeling of being in the water, sitting on your board and waiting for the wave to catch you is something that is very hard to explain. In those moments you can feel the adrenaline. It takes over you, and emotions are simplified. It’s just you and the ocean. We, as humans, are small and sometimes you have to breath deeply and accept your limits. Each time, we achieve a new limit and realize there is nothing more relaxing and peaceful than being rocked by the perfect rhythm of the ocean waves.
Surfing is not just a sport, its something that deeply connects you with nature and consequently with yourself. It's an easy way to stop thinking of all the problems you are struggling with outside the water, it makes you realize how life can be beautiful and easy if you are able to stop and just enjoy."