Surfing is a great soother for the soul; very little enables my mind to be as empty as it is as when I am bobbing around beyond the break, waiting for the right moment to paddle towards the shore. In all honesty, I do not completely understand why, but the ocean – its noises, smells, tastes and sights – seems to relax me in a way that nothing else can. Even sitting on the shore and listening to the gentle lapping of the water is enough to send me away to a special place I like to call bliss.
Sport and the partaking of do seem to be something that enables this emptying of the mind, and aside from the obvious exercise most sports entail, it isn’t a surprise that those who actively take part in sport are generally healthier than those who forego.
But in this day and age we find ourselves in, mental health seems to have become a thing that perhaps our parents wouldn’t dream of mentioning. And while that is absolutely true of myself – I would never dare say in front of my father that I am feeling a little overwhelmed, or stressed or mentally exhausted – I am pleased I have something that I know can, and so far without fail, enable myself to reset.
I am also lucky enough to work for someone who weirdly seems to get this. I say weirdly because it is this person who seems quite content to push me to my very limits in the first place. But it is also this person who, upon a mention of “I’m thinking of taking next week off” doesn’t bat an eyelid and merely says, “Cornwall? Go on, off you go.”
I do think people need their thing – whatever that thing is – that enables them to reset their mind; to forget about work, the news, bloody Brexit or whatever… And of course I enjoy a glass of wine or scotch every now and then, I smoke far too much and spend too many hours awake and not enough hours asleep. But I also know that alcohol, cigarettes and the burning of candles at both ends are not the reset button. They do not help and they do not soothe. Not in the long term anyway.
But the smell of surf wax, the satisfying clunk of clipping a set of fins into a board, checking my leash for splits before walking into the breaking ocean…
…yeah, my mind is already emptying just thinking about it.