It’s almost mid-October, and I’m itching to go surfing. Usually, I’m what’s known as a ‘fair weather’ surfer – the thought of running into the sea during the UK winter isn’t usually my idea of fun. But jumping into crystal blue seas, with the sun shining warmly overhead? Perfect.
Yet this year, I’m willing to embrace the cold and my boyfriend and I are currently considering a short surf trip to Cornwall. In November, we’re hoping to book some lessons with the fantastic guys at Escape Surf School in Newquay again (and I’m silently hoping they offer a warming cup of hot chocolate after each session…)
Now, I know it will be chilly on the beach. I know I’ll probably be losing the feeling in my fingers and my toes after about an hour in the water.
But I also know, that after a stressful few months, catching a few waves will probably do me a world of good.
I’m craving that feeling of calm and the refocusing of your mind as you think only of the next set and catching the next wave.
Maybe it’s because I’m still learning, but every time I’ve gone surfing, every other thought disappears. I find a level of focus, but it’s also pretty chilled. I’m concentrating on what I’m doing, sure, but I’m not thinking about it in too much detail. I’ve found in the past, that when I started thinking consciously about what I was doing, it all went wrong. I think of a couple of key words to sum up my foot placement, my posture and/or my sense of direction as I’m paddling back out, but then when I’m paddling for the wave, it all blurs and I just go for it.
This feeling of ‘flow’; these ‘feelings of hyper focus, letting go and listening to intuition’ are explored in a short female surf film called Undercurrents.
The film is still in development (and crowd-funding!) but it presents the views of five strong female characters from Jersey in the UK Channel Islands. With females from age 12 to 50, the documentary tells the stories of one of the first female British champs, a mother, an environmentalist and yogi, a teenager of the verge of becoming pro and a graceful longboarder.
Some of the messages they present – about flow, the joy of surfing, and the happiness you can find when you just let go – really struck home when I read about them on Surf Girl’s website.
One of the women, Natalie Fox, who is an environmentalist and yoga instructor, said:
“Surfing tends not to work when you try too hard. You get that desire and that want and I think that sometimes hinders the actual process, I think surfing is more of a process of letting go of those desires and those needs. It’s more of a process of connection; letting your senses and your intuition take over.”
In my opinion, she’s summed it right up.
The times when I’ve enjoyed surfing the least, is when I’ve started overthinking it. When I can’t get out back because the conditions are too tough; when I repeatedly fail to catch a wave; when I get up but fall straight back off again; when I think I’m turning, but I’m actually not… It’s so easy when you’re still learning to judge yourself and compare yourself to everyone else.
Being self-conscious is also a huge hindrance and another thing I’ve struggled with.
But once you let go of all that – you have the best experience ever. This is what the documentary calls ‘flow’.
All of the surfers featured in the film, explained that they were at their happiest when they were in the ‘flow’. But they could only get there when they stopped being judgemental.
Undercurrents is a celebration of female surfing talent but also an exploration of what connects us to these flow moments. And these moments ultimately top up our happiness levels – which is why, after a good session, a lot of surfers (myself included) come back buzzing.
And in our busy, modern lives, we often don’t give enough time to activities which nurture us and make us truly happy.
Which is why I think Undercurrents is so important. It’s all about sharing the stoke; spreading a bit of happiness. And what could be better than that?
Have a watch, and see what you think! For more information, check out the crowdfunding page here .