Golf And Surfing? An Unlikely Marriage
At first glance, it would be easy to surmise that surfers and golfers operate in different worlds. One surrounds himself in the ocean, the other the fairway. As sports, both surfing and golf have had to struggle to shake off inaccurate stereotypes—one of the washed out burnout, the other of the up-tight retiree. But as life often has a way of doing, there’s a considerable amount of golfers that love to surf and surfers that love to golf. Perhaps we’re actually cut from the same cloth and the two sports have more in common than you might think.
Patience: It can take a lifetime to become even mildly proficient at both golf and surfing. With its constantly shifting lineups and changing conditions, the platform for surfing is constantly in flux, creating one of the longest learning curves in any sport. And golf, by definition, is littered with hurdles that can take decades to overcome. With both sports riddled in difficulty, let’s discuss what it takes to get passed the proverbial weeds and into the open: patience. We spend thousands of dollars on clubs and surfboards, take lessons, and spend our days mindsurfing or mentally going over our put. And we repeat this for decades.
Perseverance: Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn, making your way to the beach and paddling out into the surf as the sun rises. You’re surrounded by nature, perfect waves, and an opportunity to get a few rides all to yourself. But it’s not that easy. Even in the most serene of conditions, sniffing out the best wave, getting to your feet, and linking a few turns together is a mountainous challenge in and of itself. By the end of the session, it’s quite possible—and in many a case likely—that you didn’t even get a half-decent ride. Imagine going to to play basketball for two hours and never making a shot! The same theory holds true to golf. Just because you showed up to play doesn’t mean that you’re going to play well. We hook drives, spend far too much time in the sand trap, and end our day in the links seeing red. But whether in golf of surf, the successful athletes shrug off a bad day and knows it’s all part of the game. Tomorrow, they try again.
Slow Progress, Big Reward: As we’ve explained, both surfing and golf require the utmost of patience. But, partly because of their inherent difficulties, the joys we reap when we thread our first tube or nail a perfect drive are unparalleled. Years can go by before the elements align and yield the result we've been striving for. Take the barrel as an example. Being able to weave your way through an open-ended tube is something that a substantial swath of surfers will never achieve. It's a sad but true reality. As is the hole-in-one. But that doesn’t mean we all can’t dream. And the feeling that overcomes when it all comes together? In a a few words, it’s complete and utter elation.
Complete Focus: To hit a small ball over a hundred yards into a tiny hole with a club seems like a Sisyphean conquest. To do it well requires the utmost of focus. There can’t be any distractions; it's just you and the ball. For a brief few moments, we’re completely tuned into the task at hand. The same is true in surfing: One misstep and you’re free falling down the face of the wave and possibly onto the reef. Both surfing and golf are so inherently hard that they require 100 percent of our attention to succeed. The ability to put the rest of the world aside and only focus on what's in front of you can be so simply, yet so hard.