1. THEY DON’T DIET
Have you ever met an amazing athlete who also buys into fad dieting? Yeah, I thought not. Surfers aren’t interested in the latest celebrity diets, they make healthy eating part of their lifestyle. Forget Atkins or Paleo—surfers need carbs. When they get out of the ocean after an epic two-hour sesh, they crave good stuff like vegetables and tropical fruits. Who needs fizzy drinks when there are fresh coconuts waiting to be chopped from the trees? Surfers don’t obsess about calories either; they eat what they want. And if tiramisu’s on the menu, they don’t guilt trip over it.
2. THEY SLEEP A LOT!
Gone are the days when pro surfers used to surf all day and party all night. Good surfers take care of their bodies and that means getting a good night sleep. Sports scientists equate poor quantity and quality of sleep to compromised tissue regeneration, diminished immune and hormonal function, decreased cognitive processing, and an increase in injury. So get some zzzzzz.
3. THEY CROSS TRAIN
Top surfers don’t just surf all day. They also go to the gym, lift weights, session the pool, and they stretch LOTS. Surfing requires strength, flexibility, stamina, endurance, and good mental focus. So mix it up—try yoga, Pilates, tai chi, CrossFit, or ballroom dancing—anything that keeps you moving. Women, in particular, need to work on their upper body strength. Strong is the new sexy after all.
4. THEY ARE DEDICATED
Learning to surf is like starting a new relationship. It doesn’t work unless you are committed. Being a surfer often means setting the alarm at 4:30 a.m., practicing your pop up on your bedroom floor thousands of miles away from decent waves, watching Kelly Slater in slow-mo for the hundredth time, getting burnt and chafed, and spoiling your hair (surfing ruins your hair, after all).
5. THEY ARE ALWAYS LEARNING
Surfing is a life-long journey; it’s impossible to learn the sport in one week. Good surfers always try different things. Video analysis is a great way for intermediate surfers to improve. So, read books, watch DVDs, analyze videos of yourself, and be open to new ideas.
6. THEY DON’T TAKE THEMSELVES TOO SERIOUSLY
It’s become a well-worn cliché, but the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun. Laugh when you wipeout, trip over your leash, or lose your bikini bottoms. It’s not a work assignment or a college exam. It’s not something to be mastered or achieved. Allow yourself to be less than perfect.
7. THEY STEP OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE
Transformations happen when we step out of our comfort zone. Good surfers always challenge themselves. They’ll be the ones wiping out a bunch, embracing failure, learning from their mistakes, and trying out different types of waves. Sail away from your safe harbor and discover your exciting new potential.