Getting back in the water. At last.

Editors note: This post is a little bit different to the norm. An explanation, and an apology, as to why it’s been a little quiet around here lately. It’s my experience of going through the surfers’ cycle. I’m sure (well, hoping) I’m not the only one that’s gone through this, so hopefully it might help inspire some of you to get back in the water again too…


I’ve barely surfed this year.

And most of those surfs have been on a foamie after a Wave Project session.

In fact, I can count the number of times I’ve surfed my own board this year on one hand.

And I miss it. Deeply. With every fibre of my body. I miss the feeling of sitting out back, being gently rocked by the water, the smell of neoprene and the taste of salt water. And most of all for some reason, that tapping noise the water makes when it hits your board.

The feeling of calm and contemplation out back, interspersed with adrenaline when you see a wave approaching. And that feeling when your body and your mind work together to get your timing right, everything just works and off you go. I have never been able to replicate that feeling anywhere other than on a surf board, believe me I’ve tried.

But when I’m out of practice, my body won’t communicate with my mind. I know I can do it, I can remember what it feels like, vividly, but my body feels useless and can’t quite keep up. I can barely manage 20 minutes in small surf before I’m puffing, missing waves and feeling like a total kook.

Frustration kicks in, along with the negative self talk.

“You’re a terrible surfer, you have no idea what you’re doing, you teach people to surf and you can’t even do it yourself, you’re a total fraud”

No wonder I feel unfit and weak and my anxiety and stress levels have been through the roof.

So my confidence dwindles and I get in less and less. In fact, I barely surf any more. Can I even call myself a surfer still?


So what now. How can I get back to that feeling of harmony between my mind and my body. How can feel strong and agile? How can I learn to surf again?

I’m not sure of the answer, but I need to do something. So I think about what I know about my surfing…

  • I know I surf better when I surf regularly.
  • And I know I surf more when I surf well.

It feels like a vicious cycle.

But I know I surf better when I’m fit. And if I can get fit without going surfing, then maybe surfing won’t be such a demoralising experience.

So, it’s time to pull my head out of my arse.

Lots of people aren’t lucky enough to be able to surf whenever they want. How do they surf well when they can’t surf much?

They stay fit and strong.

So I work on my strength. And after a while my body begins to respond to my requests again. It runs for longer. It does more push ups and kettlebell swings than it has in a long time. I don’t ache for days afterwards any more. And slowly by slowly I start to feel like my body can do what I ask it to.

And now it’s time to get back in the water. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Author: Amy Lambert

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  1. I can totally relate to what you are saying. When I find myself out of the water for a period of time it is harder to get motivated and get back in the water. Conditioning has a lot to do with it. Thanks for the post. Let’s surf!

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  2. Totally relate to this, I am new to Cornwall and surfing, though I come from a running background, just the same, stick with it, fitness will return and the rewards will come a plenty. Now I need to learn to ride my nice longboard I have purchased…back to the drawing board, hence finding your blog 🙂 I refuse to pay for lessons…so surfing online to learn how to surf the sea.

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  3. Sounds as if I wrote that.
    Started surfing in 1978 at age 13 , but the last decade
    has been a little rough with work schedule and other adulthood responsibilities.
    I use to be able to charge up to double over head , and now with dwindling confidence and changes in surf size perspective, I find
    myself floundering more then enjoying.
    The answer to myself, and perhaps others is frequency.
    The more water time I link together, starting small and slowly working my way back up , I might have a chance at regaining the confidence I once had. At 54 , I’m still pretty fit with 4days a week at the gym and mountain biking periodically.
    There is that mental block that still likes to creep up on me , but with hopefully more
    water time , ( increased frequency) , things will improve.

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