Surfing is one of the ultimate recreational activities. It combines skill, patience, fun and an ever changing environment into a hobby that can be enjoyed in stunning locations all around the world. Today, it’s thought there are up to 35 million surfers worldwide. Which begs the question, why do people enjoy surfing? What is it about this sport that attracts so many people?
People have been catching waves for hundreds of years. It’s so old that Polynesian cave paintings from the 12th century have been found to depict surfing. The famous explorer, James Cook, even mentioned seeing Tahitian people surfing on one of his expeditions in the 18th century!
The Hawaiians are early pioneers of surfing, and they took the sport to an almost religious level. Surfing then swept the Western world by storm when 3 Hawaiian princes visited Santa Cruz in California.
Word of them catching waves using hand-carved boards from the redwood forests sparked a cultural phenomenon. Americans continued to popularise surfing in California before it caught like wildfire and spread across the globe.
Table of Contents
Why do people love surfing?
Ultimately, surfing is just brilliant fun. It’s as simple as that. There are many benefits to surfing, but the enjoyment factor is a standout reason. People enjoy surfing because it is entertaining and pleasurable. Standing on a board as the power of the ocean rushes you towards the beach brings out the best emotions in anyone.
The whole process of surfing is surrounded by fun. It’s an activity that is associated with holidays, beaches, sun, BBQs, drinks, being outdoors, and many other positive memories and sensations. It’s easy to see why people enjoy surfing when it has this much to offer!
A clear advantage of surfing is its fitness benefits. Swimming through turbulent water and the active movement required is great for your cardiovascular system. Paddling through the waves builds and tones muscles in your shoulders, arms, and back. While riding the wave will strengthen your core and leg muscles.
People enjoy surfing because of its mental health benefits too. Nature therapy is a popular technique for dealing with anxiety and depression. For many, surfing is like a form of therapy or mediation.
Also, sunshine is an important source of vitamin D and regular exposure is good for your health. When you surf, your body will release adrenaline and endorphins which make you feel happy and excited. All these fitness components combined are a huge draw for why people enjoy surfing.
Connecting with nature
Understanding nature and being appreciative of the outdoors are becoming more prevalent in modern society. There are many threats to the natural world today. Global warming threatens to bleach coral reefs and cause sea levels to rise. Deforestation and pollution on a vast scale damage precious ecosystems – among many other problems.
With all these threats, people are starting to look at nature in a different way. Spending time in the outdoors through sports and hobbies is a fantastic way to engage with the environment. People enjoy surfing to get immersed in marine habitats and natural landscapes. To enjoy the coast by walking on its beaches, swimming in its waters, and admiring its wildlife is a great way to show this appreciation.
Surfing has a strong community spirit that stretches across the globe. You will find surfing hubs on every continent. Surf camps, festivals, and competitions are all great ways for surfers to come together and share all the things they love about this sport.
People enjoy surfing for different reasons. Some like the solitude of catching a lone wave at sunrise. Others want to surf in a group and go out partying every night together. The surfing community offers the opportunity for anyone to fit into whatever lifestyle they want to be living. Discrimination and prejudice have a little place amongst surfers and a welcoming, chilled out vibe is the main attitude surfers inhabit.
Challenge & skill
There are very few people who can hop on a surfboard and be an expert from the first wave. After all, it’s a professional sport now with competitors at an Olympic level. Surfing is a challenging sport that can take many years and thousands of wave hours to master.
Some people enjoy surfing because of this challenge. It is a skill that needs to be honed. Time and effort must be sacrificed to improve your technique and ability. This can be a very fulfilling feeling and a lifelong goal for many surfers.
You might like to read our article how to start surfing in the UK.
Clearly, surfing can be whatever you want it to be, and it fulfils everyone in different ways. It is a sport, a hobby, and a passion, that means a great deal to millions of people. So, why do people enjoy surfing so much? Well, the real question should be: what’s not to love?
About the author
Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.
Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.