Why Surfing

People often describe emotions as ‘coming in waves’. At Surf Action we know a lot about waves. We know, when the sea is rough, how powerful they can be; how they can knock you off your feet and sweep you away. We know that if you end up in the impact zone, the place where the waves are breaking, you can get repeatedly dragged under as they crash down on top of you, one after another, relentless, so that you can barely catch your breath at times.

Many of the people who come to us at Surf Action are in the ‘impact zone’ when they arrive. Their lives can feel like a relentless pounding. Sometimes they’ve been struggling there for a long while, minds confused, limbs shattered, desperately trying to stay afloat.

To begin with, we teach them to ride the white water. To use the power of the wave once it has broken and ride it back in towards the beach. The ride is often confused and bumpy but it has direction and gets easier every time. Eventually, as confidence increases and an awareness of how waves work develops, we begin to lead them ‘out back’.


For those of you who aren’t surfers, ‘out back’ is the place beyond the waves. It’s a place of quiet and calm, where surfers sit, at one with their environment; where conversations can be had, where it’s possible to pause and take in the beauty of your surroundings and from where you can choose which waves to ride.

To begin with, getting ‘out back’ only happens on the calmest of days, but once there, it’s possible to see what’s on the horizon. It’s feasible to deal with any waves coming through, that you sense could be too powerful or overwhelming by paddling out over them while they are still a gentle undulation in deep water. From there, you can choose to ride back in on a wave that is smooth and clean, where you feel that you are flying over the water, where you work in harmony with the sea around you.

People often describe emotions as coming in waves.

“That’s why surfing works.”
Ros Jeal, Psychologist.