Losing Your Mind Without Ocean Time? Try These Ideas if There is a Surfing Ban in Your Community

For many of us, the ocean is our church, sanctuary, gym, therapy, and doctor. But all over the world, many are having to sacrifice what they love the most because of a surfing ban due to COVID19. That has left many of us feeling like our gills are drying up. 

Before we offer suggestions let’s get one thing straight. Nothing is going to replace time in the ocean. We can only just do the best we can during difficult times. That being said, there are practices we can employ to mitigate the disturbances to our minds, bodies, and souls.


Surfing ban
Surfers are getting tickets in much of the USA for entering the ocean. Photo: NY Daily News



Healthy Practices for Waveless Time

#1 Get Outside 

One of the main reasons the ocean is so healing is because it is a part of nature. Nature heals. Even if parks and beaches are closed you may still be allowed to walk on sidewalks. If you have a porch or yard take some time out of your day to use it. Have your coffee on the porch, play basketball in the driveway, do a workout video on a mat in your yard. At some point in your day, take dedicated time to be outdoors in a safe and responsible way. Turn off your phone while you are out. Surfing is one of very few places we cannot be distracted by our phones so try to replicate that.

Gardening is another great way to be with nature, even if it is just working with potted plants in your kitchen window. During times like these, we start to understand the importance of being a little more self-sufficient. Digging in the dirt is a fantastic way to connect with nature. Here are some tips for starting your seeds indoors



#2 Find Flow 

Surfing puts us “in the zone”. When we are scanning the horizon looking for sets, triangulating our line up point, paddling and of course riding waves, we are not thinking about Coronavirus, our bills, our relationship stresses or anything else. Find a way to get your mind to this place of flow every day. For some people meditation works well. Try a walking meditation if you can’t sit still. Can’t walk outside? This guy ran an entire marathon on his 23-foot balcony so you really don’t have any excuses after that!

For others, flow is found in art or music. Can you put on your all-time favorite album, light some candles, close your eyes and just zone out? TV and movies don’t count! They drop you below consciousness. They allow you to think of whatever message they want to convey. The aim here is to rise above thought. Where the verbal centers of your brain are shut off. Order some art supplies from an online store, even if it is just colored pencils and an intricate coloring book.

daring dreams wild paths
Find your zen space however you can


Try to find this space in everyday activities such as cooking, showering, or driving. Instead of thinking thoughts, just notice everything that is happening. As you sweep the floor hear the sound of the bristles on the wood. As you shave your legs feel the feeling of the razor on your smoothing skin. 

Flow doesn’t come for free. You actually have to cultivate it. It is like a muscle, it grows with time. Likely you’ve trained it in the ocean. You will only benefit from training it elsewhere as well. To learn more about finding flow and how you can use it to your benefit, read this article.



#3 Connect with Animals 

If you have a pet you are lucky! Pets are part of nature that, like surfing, help us to shut down the verbal parts of our brain. Spend dedicated time playing with and cuddling with your pet. If you don’t have a pet during this surfing ban then try just listing to the birds out your window. Watch bugs buzzing between flowers. No, it is not going to replace hitting the lip or getting pitted but it certainly will help take the edge off.



#4 Do Something Scary or Extra Challenging

How do you replace long hold-downs, clean-up sets, or leaping to your feet not knowing if you will make the drop or not? You challenge yourself mentally and physically. Obviously exercise is one great way to do this. Try one of these intense workout videos like those in our Still Stoked 30-day challenge.  Even better, if you can get outside to do your workout. No fancy equipment needed – Here is our 45-minute bodyweight work out with no equipment required except some tins of food!


side plank workout


Another way to challenge yourself during the surfing ban is to step outside your mental comfort zone. Perhaps apply for new jobs online, start a blog, have a hard conversation that needs to be had, leave behind a relationship that no longer serves you, start a small business. Now is the time for mental spring cleaning. Take advantage while you can.



#5 Connect with Your Body

A little talked about aspect of surfing is how sexual it can be – you and wave, together becoming one. Your strength joins with the beauty of the ocean and together you make magic. Don’t even try to deny that a really good surf session makes your horny!

If you live with a partner you are lucky! Take advantage of all that down time together. If you don’t, or even if you do, spend time alone with your body. This can be slow, mindful movement like yoga (Try these free classes from our 30-day challenge). It can be as simple as applying lotion to your whole body with care and mindfulness. And it definitely includes masturbation. Extra points if you can really take your time and do it without any aids such as a vibrator or videos. Just your body connecting with its desires.



#5 Practice Social Connection from a Distance 

Call or text someone you love every day. Check on how they are doing and honestly share how you are doing. Join the Still Stoked Facebook Tribe if you are looking to connect with other like-minded surfers. 


Jobs for surfers
Maybe your “office” gets a serious upgrade!



#6 Stay Grateful

Are you healthy? Do you still have food to eat and paper to wipe your butt with? Sure, you may not know where your rent money will come from and you may feel completely out of control but the truth is that humans were never in control in the first place. Verbally offer gratitudes to help keep your mind in the right place.  


By the way, even if there is no surfing ban in your community you can still do all of the above. Stay safe, follow the guidelines given by your local authorities, and make time to take care of yourself during these trying times. We are all in this together and this too, shall pass.


The cover photo is by Charlie Hoberman via STAB. Taken shortly before a man was arrested for surfing First Point Malibu all alone during California’s surfing ban.

I am a writer and wanna-be big wave surfer. Surfing is my muse. I write about it and how it’s teaching me to live better. I hold certification as a nutritionist, personal trainer, yoga instructor, and lifeguard instructor. My story “100 Days in Mexico” of how a solo road trip surfing my way through Mexico changed my life can be found here www.melanielainewilliams.com


  1. Whilst not a surfer I too have definitely days of thinking I would normally be at the gym, this sucks it’s Friday and I would be playing badminton today, I miss it and the people so much!, When are these kids going back to school? best to not think about it and concentrate on right now. Good ideas, gardening is great to stay connected to nature, learn anything new, from how to play a musical instrument to psychology, My son was doing geography the other day when I realized how little I know about other countries and have just learn all about a country called Chad which I had barely heard of while he was doing a project on it.. Watching too much of the news and thinking about when will it be over makes it worse need to live in the now. Books by Ekchart Tolle explain this perfectly in the Power of Now and A New Earth found them life changing years age, so could give these a read too!

    • Ahh so good to hear how you are managing Julie. I loved “The Power Of Now”, I think it is a book that has changed many people’s lives. I think you hit the nail on the head when you say to not listen or watch the news. It just compounds fear and life will go on the same way if you expose yourself to the news or not. Personally, I don’t consume any news recently and Ive found myself to be much happier. I’m going to spend all day making Gnocchi today. Using your hands to be creative and like Mel said in the article, being mindful in all your actions has been such a beautiful way to spend time. So stoked you are learning through teaching your kids. All the best xxx


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