What does it mean to be a surfer today?

Modern surfer: a fit and eco-friendly individual with broad cultural interests | Photo: Shutterstock

Now more than ever, surfers have a great responsibility on their shoulders. Here's what makes a complete, contemporary wave rider.

A surfer is someone who practices and enjoys his or her sport at the heart of Nature, surrounded by the elements.

But also, surfers are an integral part of society, a local, regional, and national community with its rules and moral values.

Being a surfer today is different from what it was like back in the early 1900s when Duke Kahanamoku and his friends started spreading the word about a thrilling outdoor activity.

In less than a century, people have dramatically changed the world we're living in, and the world, in its constant motion, changed its people.

Surfing has evolved a lot since the heavy wooden longboard days.

Not only the Sport of Kings incorporated new materials and designs in the surfboard manufacturing process, but it also progressed from a performance point of view.

Wave riders became better at understanding the oceans' behavior and how surf craft interacts with them while gliding across the surface of the water.

Surfing: the sport of kings evolved dramatically over the last century | Photo: Shutterstock

The introduction of technology in the surf industry altered hundreds of products and added new ones to the sport's equation. But it also brought new problems to our world.

Today, surfboard shaping, surf gear, and surf wear are not the most eco-friendly businesses on Earth. In fact, that's an undeniable contradiction.

If there's a sport that cannot say one thing and do another is surfing.

Environmental issues have become surfing's Achilles' heel, especially when companies, professional event organizers, and even athletes advocate their commitment to the planet's conservation but rarely adopt them in their daily practices.

Today, the modern surfer faces many challenges. These are the five facets of what a surfer should be like in the 21st century:

Embrace a Green Conscience and Daily Eco-Friendly Habits

Participate in beach cleanups, reduce your plastic footprint, collect a few pieces of garbage every time you surf, engage in non-governmental surf organizations, walk more and drive less, and include further bioproducts in your daily consuming habits.

Surfing is all about respecting the environment. After all, it's Nature that provides the materia prima that makes surfing possible.

So, make sure you avoid harming marine life and land creatures. They're part of our world and deserve to be respected.

Surfers: they know eat and drink better, and exercise more than ever | Photo: Shutterstock

Follow a Healthy Food and Drink Diet

Fast-food, alcoholic drinks, and soft drinks won't make you live longer. Include superfruits in your diet. There are so many food and beverages that taste good and do you good.

Adopt An Alternative and Parallel Fitness Training Program

From a physical perspective, surfing is a fantastic aerobic and anaerobic sport. But there's more you can do on land to stay in shape.

Include swimming, biking, and running in your weekly exercise routine.

You don't have to be a slave to the gym to stay fit. Just exercise a couple of times per week, and fight off a sedentary lifestyle.

Keep Your Cultural and Intellectual Interest Up-to-Date

Believe it or not, exercising your mind will improve your athletic skills. And surfing has a rich heritage, full of interconnections with music, movies, literature, and various visual arts.

Learn more about his or her local surfing culture. Expand the knowledge of the history of surfing and its roots. Books do help surfers become better performers.

Surfing: learn to share when resources are scarce | Photo: Shutterstock

Endorse An Altruistic Vision of Surfing

Yes, we do surf in crowded lineups where waves are scarce resources. Yes, we do have little time in our lives to do what we love most.

But we can't deny the fact that there we are condemned to living with everybody else. That's why it is vital that when we become fully grown adults, we also start to think about our peers.

How can we do it? For example, by giving away items you don't need anymore, sharing waves in the lineup, and respecting others' right to make occasional mistakes.

Surf localism is a primitive behavior. Ban it from your life and condemn the use of any type of violence, in and out of the water.