Surfing is something I always wanted to learn, but never had the opportunity until I was in my 40s. After a few sessions, including one with a professional instructor, I fell in love with the sport.
The more I went out, the more I realized that surfing was much more than just fun. For these reasons, I wanted my 12-year-old daughter, Ari, to experience the same joys and life lessons I learned from being on the water.
- The ocean is energizing and cathartic. It’s a good way to hit the reset button on your brain.
- Learning something new forced me out of my comfort zone. It takes courage to do something that doesn’t come easy. In this case, the frustration of missing a wave or wiping out in front of others, especially around people you know.
- I’ve learned the importance of humility. I’ve had my share of bad etiquette while learning the ropes and have had to apologize for unintentional mishaps. When a fellow surfer demonstrates understanding and compassion, I remember that gesture and try to pass it on when I have the same opportunity.
- It’s a great activity to ditch the screens and live in the real world. You gain a newfound respect for Mother Nature while learning about the tides, winds, and the multitude of other factors that allow us to catch waves.
- Surfing is transgenerational. My college-age nephew and 20-something niece are always down for a surf sesh!
- Surfing has become a medium for me to make new friends and reconnect with old ones, including a high school classmate I hadn't seen in over 20 years.
- Perseverance. If you really want to do something, it takes work and commitment.
A few sessions in, Ari realized that maybe she’s not as passionate about surfing as she thought. But that’s OK – it’s more about the personal growth and connection we gain when we take up an activity together.
And while I love surfing, Ari doesn’t have to love it. We may still surf on occasion, but we can also look for other interests to do together.
Whatever the activity, I look forward to the lessons and memories to come.
Photos courtesy Matt Heirakuji