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Feminine Psychology at the Peak (Surf Psychology)

When surfing, we all go through a whole range of emotions, thoughts and worries. Although you might feel like you are the only one struggling with some internal battles, we assure you – we’re all in the same boat.

The pro’s might make it look effortless and fluid, but the truth is surfing is truly the hardest sport to learn. There are so many changing variables – the type of wave, the size, the tides, the wind, the swell direction- that you are constantly having to adapt and adjust.

All these uncontrollable things are part of the external environment, and they can have a huge impact on wether you have the best or hardest session of your life.

However. There is also  the internal environment which is basically YOU. Your physical condition, your willingness to commit and to get out of your comfort zone, your vibe, the way you feel physically and mentally and all the self-limiting actions and beliefs you nourish on that particular day will affect how your surf session plays out.

Here are some issues that all of us experience that you just need to learn to control, because a big part of surf, is a mental game!

I really feel like surfing but theres so many people on the beach and they will probably all be watching me. What if Im not able to catch a wave… or if I fall on my take-offsI dont want to turn myself into a shit show! Theres so much pressure, I think Ill wait a bit later, there might be less people on the beach.

Leave that pride of yours at home. If you want to get good at it, you will have to look ridiculous a thousand times, so please dont take yourself to seriously. Thats the price to pay! PLUS, nobody gives a shit if you bailed on your take-off or if youre not doing some radical maneuvers. Surfing with pressure only makes you surf worse; remember, its a mental game.

Chill out, go surf and once youre in the water, just concentrate on the waves. Everyone else is way too busy worrying about their own self and they truly dont care if you performed or not. And if some people are really watching you, they will probably just remember your good waves and maybe your funny wipeouts and then youll have something to laugh about.

If theres a good surfer watching you, it probably means youve caught his attention 😉 and the good thing about it is that he might give you feed-back on your session. Think about it, that is free coaching that might turn into a summer love, girl! Double win! 😉 

Im not going to the peak because I dont have the necessary skills and I cant compete with good surfers. Im scared Im going to mess up a good wave that someone else could have surfed better. Plus, I would be the only girl out there

Lack of confidence and surfing doesnt go together. Youre the only girl, great! Show those men what a girl can do. Waves dont belong only to good surfers; everyone has the right to catch them.

No one ever started surfing being good from the start and no one has the right to tell you that you dont deserve that wave -except if youre putting yourself in danger-. Get that confidence back and paddle proudly to the peak. 

If you are a total beginner, its true that it might not be a good idea to go to the peak because you dont have the experience. You could injure yourself and others really bad and get enemies.

But if you know how priorities work, youre able to read and paddle the wave by yourself and youre able to manage your own board -you can do a turtle roll or duck dive and you know how to avoid being in the way of an other surfers wave-, you have the right to be out there!

Its my turn to take the next wave but that surfer -who seems to be a good surfer- is paddling back from a wave and hes going in my inside. I dont want to paddle more in the inside because then im probably going to be too deep to catch the wave. Its just so hard to catch a wave, theres always someone in my inside

There will always be more experienced (or not necessarily) surfers that will paddle back straight in the inside. Sometimes, they are being cocky” and want all the waves but sometimes they paddle back there because they know they can pass that first section -that is too fast for you and thats why you are sitting a bit further- However, a good surfer should know whos turn it is and if he sees that you didnt catch a wave in the past set, the next one should be yours even if hes on your inside.

If you see that someone who just got a wave goes back in your inside, you need to demonstrate your engagement by paddling hard for your wave showing clearly that you are going for it. When you are not an experienced surfer, it feels intimidating to fight the inside” because youre never really sure whos turn it is and youre afraid to do a bad move. But try to notice who is still waiting for a wave versus who just got back from a wave. You have priority over those who just got back- even if they go straight in your inside. Make eye contact and dont be shy to call out that its your turn to go.

You need to show your engagement for a wave otherwise, youll end up waiting hours, catching only the shitty ones.  

Lets be honest, in many situations, you will feel that people are hungry for waves, especially when youre surfing a crowded spot, and they wont make your experience easy for you. In these cases, remember that its a jungle environment.

Lets be the lion and not the gazelle.

I know its hard, but just remember that you have the right to be there and that, just like everybody in the water, you deserve to be catching waves. Also, keep on smiling, this will save you a lot of bad vibes and arguments… sharing is caring, no ?! 

I kind of think its a good wave but Im not 100% sure, maybe i’m too deep or maybe I wont make it… Maybe this wave is way to big for my skills. I will paddle for it anyway, but if I dont make it, it doesnt matter, at least Ill have tried

When you go for it, YOU GO FOR IT! When you paddle for a wave, commit and dont look back. Paddle with all that you have. Your face has to look horrible. If youre still cute, it means you are not paddling hard enough and this can lead to: 

• Doing a super late drop that makes you fall really badly, maybe on your board or on your fins which can be the worst scenario possible;

• Doing an over the falls” where you will get smashed by the wave and get dragged up and down like youre in a washing machine ride- without the opportunity to breathe

• Breaking your board while you do your late drop” or your over the fall. You do not want to break your board, its expensive and it makes you finish your session on a bad note

• Making you stay on the top of the wave letting you watch from behind that perfect wave breaking alone with you NOT surfing it. You will be mad at yourself, you will be embarrassed and youll feel terrible because youve missed your opportunity of riding that wave.

On big waves, lets remember that any lack of faith or moment of hesitation will lead to a fail.

So even if its scary as f*ck, your best call to surviving this is to go full on with fierce conviction. Its a mental game. When surfing, your survival instinct will make you take the worst decision for you and thats why it is so hard. You have to master your mind and make it command the contrary of what your biological survival instinct is telling you to do. 

PLUS, paddling hard and strong will only make your drop easier and make you gain some speed on the wave which makes everything much easier.

So yeah, paddle hard girl! Long strikes with all that strength youve got. Commit to your wave! 

I have that super cute bikini.. Im not sure its going to stay on but its so nice, I would have such good pictures surfing in that bikini.

Choose comfort and reliability! I know surf and fashion are often interconnected but make sure you have the proper suit to go surfing. Theres nothing worse than constantly being worried about showing those intimate parts of your body. It ruins your session. It truly does.

Especially when you are in a critical situation where you have to choose between pulling up your bikini bottom that is now to your knees- or paddle to save yourself from being hit by that big surprise set. So leave those fancy bikinis for your after-surf chilling on the beach.

There are so many brands doing nice suits made especially for surfing. Its worth the investment, believe me! This is an extreme sport, not a fashion show ! 

So tighten up your bikini girl, and paddle out there !!!

Co-written by Marie-Christine Amyot and Ariane Brien-Chicoine

About the Author:

Surfing brings the best out of me. Mama Ocean is my gym, my life coach and my psychologist. I believe that being open-minded, caring for others, seeking challenges and never taking things too seriously is the key to a happy life! - CoFounder of the Salty Souls

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