Surfing: could it be just a phase? | Photo: Claborn/Creative Commons

When you first start surfing, to many people it may look like "just a phase," or something that you'll eventually end up leaving behind. Can surfing endure the test of time?

For most surfers, surfing runs deep and ends up becoming a part of who they are. But life is tough, and things keep changing. When you move to an inland city, embrace a demanding career or start building a family, your time to surf begins to shorten.

Yes, you get excited every time you see someone surfing, you still check the conditions when drive by the ocean, but riding waves becomes more difficult to fit in your schedule.

And as you start going less to the beach, when you do, it's not as easy anymore. You blame it on the lack of practice, on age, or simply say to yourself that surfing was never meant for you, after all.

But just because you stopped surfing or because you don't do it so well anymore, did you stop being a surfer?

Experience shows that once a surfer, always a surfer. It's more than just a physical activity; it's something that grows and stays within, that stems from your relationship with the ocean and borders on spirituality. Once you have it, there's no turning back.

Surfing: an addiction for many, a religion for some | Photo: Bixby/Creative Commons

This doesn't necessarily apply to everyone. For those who never felt it in their bones, then yes, it may have been just a phase, an experience they enjoyed having, nothing more.

If you find yourself looking at a flat ocean in a tropical destination and thinking "it's really crappy today"; if you keep scouting the ocean for waves while you're taking your kids to the beach, bucket and shovel in hand, instead of a surfboard.

If you feel a rush of excitement when you see someone pull a nice move (and shrug when you see a perfect wave being wasted); if you still look at your favorite surfboard and think "maybe one day, when there's time."

If you still feel the magic when you finally get back, even if you only managed to stand up once after endless attempts, wondering "why don't I do this more often?", then no, it was not just a phase.

It became part of who you are, and will remain with you through thick and thin, whether you ever surf again or not.

So to put it simply, for those who get it, for those who were "touched," surfing is forever a big part of their experience in life, as so beautifully summed up by the famous phrase: "only a surfer knows the feeling."


Words by Ana Brito.