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Adventures in SUP Surfing…Down Under

A woman paddling on a SUP

I’ve always wanted to be a surfer.

And, I’ve travelled to some of the most amazing surf locations in the world.

But guess what? I’ve never surfed….until now!

I remember when I decided to study abroad at Sydney University in 2008. I though, “This is my chance! I will be living just minutes from Bondi Beach, I WILL learn to surf.” But I never got on a board the entire 5 months I was there. Then in 2010 I went backpacking through South American and S.E. Asia. When I arrived in a tiny little surf town in Chile the first people I met at my hostel were a group of Aussie surfers. I thought. “This is my chance! I have absolutely nothing else I have to do this next week in Chilie, I will get these Aussie’s to teach me how to surf.” But the week went by and I spent hours watching the Aussies surf, but I never got on a board. A few months later I arrived in Bali, Indonesia, a surfers paradise. I stayed at a surf hostel and was literally the only person there without a surfboard. The first day I thought, “This is my chance! I will go down to the local surf shop and rent a board and surely one of these nice backpackers will teach me how to surf.” But I got the long board carried it down to the beach everyday, but never got ON the board. Fast forward to 2015, I decide to move to Nicaragua for the winter to launch FloYo at Rancho Santana. I thought, “THIS is my chance, I am 29 years old, I will be in Nicaragua for 6 months with unlimited access to surf boards, world class waves AND I am a confident paddler now so I GOT THIS!” But guess what….I never got on a board.

Unbelievable, right? So many opportunities, but what was holding me back? It was fear- fear of the ocean, fear of being under water, fear of getting hurt, fear of failing. You would think as the owner of SUP school and SUP Yoga brand I would have no issues with the Ocean, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

But for some reason, when I turned 30 in August I decided that enough was enough. I was going to get out in the ocean and at the very least attempt to surf. Well, I am happy to report, that it took me 30 years, but I can now proudly say that I have surfed! I took one lesson at Rancho Santana this past November with the Mantra Fit retreat crew. That lesson was what I needed to let go of all the fears and gain confidence in myself. Then, when I went in Australia in January I was determined to gain some SUP surfing skills. So, I packed my Yolo Inflatable and surfed for 4 days straight on the Gold Coast and absolutely loved it.

So, what made me flip the switch and finally get out in the ocean? I started reversing my focus from a negative thought process to positive thoughts. Rather than thinking “What if I get barreled by a huge wave and held under the water for too long” I started to think about how amazing it would feel to ride a wave all the way in to the beach. I thought about how much fun it would be to simply be out on the water, even if I wasn’t catching huge waves. Taking one negative thought at a time and changing it to a positive thought ultimately made me realize that the positive thoughts outweighed the negative ones on a massive scale. The first day I stepped into the ocean on the Gold Coast a dolphin swam up to my board. That dolphin stayed with me for a good 20 minutes. I took that as a sign that I was where I was meant to be, the dolphin was there to show me that life is too short to let fear hold me back from jumping into that great big ocean!

What negative thought can you switch to a positive thought today, right now? Share in the comments below!