At my home break on Sydney’s Northern Beaches, there’s a bright and beautiful surf group that meet every Friday at dawn. Fluro Friday: they wear bright, skin tight, patterned lycra and surf with ginormous smiles, wigs and fancy dress accessories. Each and every Friday, surfing and salt water become their vehicle to raise awareness for those down and out, suffering from funks like anxiety and depression. Their passion and enthusiasm is infectious and every Friday that I see them, they make me smile. I’m reminded to be grateful for the beautiful place that I live and the waves that bring me so much happiness.
It’s true what they say. It just takes that one wave and your world can completely change. It’s like a rejuvenation of your very soul, a press of the reset button, an influx of positive energy and an upwelling of love from within. As I write this aboard a plane to Japan, about to start an adventure of a lifetime, I can’t stop thinking about this one wave I just had. I’m overwhelmed with happiness as I relive it over and over in my mind. That wave changed everything and consequently, I am happier then I’ve ever been.
In contrast, the past 4 months of winter saw me cloaked in a cloud of sadness. I stopped surfing completely. I changed my routine and avoided doing the things that made me happy. Looking back, I remember saying to my friends on so many occasions that I just needed that one wave and everything would be ok again. I knew that only one session could re-ignite my spark. The ocean has the power to do that, to uplift and to heal. You just have to make the choice to let it. When you are sad, going through some stress or not feeling yourself, you just have to keep surfing!
Related post: Top 5 Waves : Australia’s East Coast
Surfers are some of the happiest people in the world. Science speaks to the negative charged ions released from crashing waves, as a key contributing factor to our ever-arching smiles. When my friends are experiencing life’s challenges, I take them surfing. Just this weekend I took a buddy who was going through a break up, up the coast to surf some of our favourite spots. He scored so many great waves that I could not only see his smile come back, but his whole energy shift in front of me. While he still was full of heartbreak and pain, surfing and that one wave brought his spark back. A little gift from the ocean.
Related article: The Science of Surfing and Happiness
Just like the Fluro Friday crew on Manly beach, just one wave can remind us of everything that is beautiful, pure and connected in life. One wave can change everything and the feeling, emotion and power of its memory can stay with you for years. My one wave was at Crescent Head, NSW – a world class right hand point that goes for hundreds of meters. I’ve never had a wave like that before; one that just didn’t stop, that walled up in front of me… that I didn’t fall off on! While I didn’t need that wave to give me back my spark, it was symbolic in closing a beautiful chapter of my life. With 9 months of snow, adventure and new challenges ahead of me, I’ve a got a new spring in my step. My sun-burnt face glows and my lips crack with each smile… that one wave will stay with me forever. I’m so grateful that I’ll always have surfing to fall back on, fall into and fall in love with over and over again.
Next stop the island of Honshu, Japan…