Life Lessons and What It Takes to Learn to Surf.To learn to surf is no easy task. Some of us grew up on the beach sand while others have never surfed a day in their lives, but are keen to learn!

Chad Schwab

11 months ago in South Africa

To learn to surf is no easy task. Some of us grew up on the beach sand while others have never surfed a day in their lives, but are keen to learn!

I have been surfing on the Bluff in Durban since I was just out of nappies. The Bluff is home to some of SA’s best waves which has bred great talented surfers like WSL campaigners Ricky “Bobby” Basnett and Rudy Palmboom, to mention a few. After surfing the South African coastline competing as a junior, I decided to share my knowledge with others and started running surf trips for Ticket to Ride in 2012.

Here are a few wisdoms, courtesy of Mother Ocean:

Never Give Up

The ocean, at times is a cruel place to find yourself. It can be a constant battle against the elements. When relentless crashing waves, howling winds and pulling currents keep you in one place, bringing on the hopeless feeling of getting nowhere, often so strong that with all the paddling fitness in the world against you, you still get stuck!  Persistence is key! Never allow the ocean to get the better of you. Push on in hard times.

Hard times in the ocean, like in life, do not last forever. Eventually the ocean gives way and a break from the continuous waves come. When you see that gap that is when you push just a little harder and break free from the stagnant feeling of going nowhere slowly.

Always Show Respect

I feel that respect should be shown where respect is due.  The ocean commands respect like no other. Behaving with grace, reverence and respect for the all-powerful ocean is the only way to enjoy and preserve her beauty.  In this realisation, I choose in my daily life to respect my fellow man, Mother Nature and myself.  It is the only sustainable way. There will be times where you know it is not safe, is beyond your ability and choose to just watch and simply train that much harder to be prepared for next time.

Not all waves are the same 

Every wave can be perceived as either good or bad, depending how you ride it.  As in life, we have the moment-to-moment choice in how we respond to circumstantial waves that come our way.  Listing the choices you have when you see a wave come your way, you can either duck under, give it all you got, get smashed or who knows end up riding the barrel of your life. 

Learn to relax during a wipeout 

Learning to stay relaxed during turbulent times is essential for survival. This applies to both in and out of the water. When life in the water is not going quite as planned and it is throwing everything it has at you, stay calm, do not panic and when you can, swim peacefully to the surface.

Recognise and enjoy the small things

Life is made of small beautiful moments, like those unexpected perfect waves with no one around, appreciate and enjoy each one that comes your way.

Humans as a species derive such pleasure from the ocean, as a food source, as a healer, as a playground and as a teacher.

I am grateful to have been a student of the most magnificent teacher!