By Raf Dionisio
I first tried surfing in 2008 at La Union, but only picked it up as a regular sport when we started The Circle Hostel in November 2011. Back then I always thought of it as “soft sport” – but that was probably because I only surfed 2 foot waves on my first try.
Today I have a completely different perspective.
Surfing has touched multiple facets of my life, and is, in fact, a really practical and good lifestyle (on top of it being cool). It has improved the way I take care of my body, the way I interact with nature and the way I deal with situations in life.
The surfing lifestyle demands a lot from your body. If you want to enjoy more, you need to be more fit. I’ve slowly, but steadily improved my diet to the point where 70% of my meals are pescetarian. I stay away from most of the fatty foods I love because, in my mind, being able to get up on my board and take that wave is more fun. I’ve also shifted my exercise from the traditional gym buff with a lot of heavy weights to lighter and more frequent bodyweight exercises.
Surfing has also helped me respect and take care of nature more. We spend hours over the weekend playing in the water and there are some surf spots which are beautiful yet I prefer not to swim in because of floating plastic debris. I see how my consumption of plastic and other pre-packed goods can destroy my playground, and so it has affected the way I buy (less plastic) and even influenced the events that we do at The Circle Hostel (like our recent Island Clean Up in Capones). I hope that more people who surf start protecting the water with the ferociousness of a storm waves.
Finally, surfing has influenced the way I deal with situations around me. When paddling out, you usually get battered by the waves. So I pick my timing and go when the waves are small. Additionally, I’ve learned some techniques like duck diving or turtle turns to help me get through the waves into the line up. It is all about efficiency and timing – taking the best opportunities and applying the most skill so that I can save my strength for the real fun, which is catching waves.
When I finally get to the line up, it is another waiting game for that wave which is perfect for you. Often times the waves I catch and enjoy the most aren’t the smallest or biggest – they are the ones that match my skill level and position the best.
These experiences serve me well as an entrepreneur as I always try to look for the best time and most efficient way to an objective. Paddle hard, but think harder – because the latter multiplies your effectiveness tenfold.
I really enjoy surfing, and it has taught me as much as it has put a smile on my face because it helps me manage my health, take care of nature and make better decisions. To all those reading this, I suggest you try surfing too, trust me, it’s worth it.
PS: You will fall. But that’s part of the fun! Just get an instructor to teach you basic safety.