We are surfers, rough, rugged people who storm the seas, brave weather, and conditions no other human could possibly understand. Tackling obstacles, and overcoming fears are eighty percent of what life is about, and absolutely one hundred percent of what surfing is. Battling these challenges as such, has but us in a confidential state where we stand superior to our peers who have not endured any experience battling, overcoming, and persevering. I am speaking thoroughly based on my own 15 years of life experience, which is very few compared to many of the people reading this, possibly quadrupling my life experience easy. So please enjoy my writings, babbles, and thoughts whilst reading this. Surfers have some social benefits, especially while being a teenager. As well as being way more prepared for life through surfing, in the early developmental ages of not being the stereotypical “surfer dude”, but as an athlete dedicated to something greater than yourself.
Being a teenage surfer, as I have said before in previous blogs, puts yourself light years ahead of you peers in the category of maturity. Having to learn and exercise respect amongst the “line-up” is a critical life skill that majority of grown adults don’t use even. Being an “older” young surfer at 12 years old, I remember showing up in the lineup and being absolutely petrified of every grown person around me. I would nearly shit myself when I heard a whistle behind me telling me to get out of the way! I thought I was placed on their permanent “naughty” list. I remember the first time I felt welcome. It was during a huge swell on February 12th in 2015. There were 12-15-foot faces according to Surfline, and 13-year-old Nathaniel’s wetsuit was half full of piss, because of how terrified I was! All the while, I finally made it out, remembering a local guy who I respected very much saying ‘damn kid, you made it out?
I saw about 10 other kids your size paddle out and turn around halfway.” I did not get lucky either, I was flipped around every which way duck diving the waves, with 10-foot lips pounding my head. I felt I had earned the respect of the men riding the ocean, and respect from the ocean itself. I got into surfing on my own, so I had no father or older brother calling waves for me, I just had to go out there and give it a shot. Eventually the guys at my local beach took me under their wing, teaching me how to surf… after a year and a half of them watching me eating shit and surfing like a fool.
This very aspect of surfing has no particularly age group it affects, I have seen grown men start surfing and learn this principle. This principle consists of perseverance and overcoming things in life that you may not have any control over. Allow me to explain; surfing and how you personally get involved should change how you perceive the world and all the moving parts inside, even though if just riding a piece of foam in water. But do you remember when you started out and how terrible you were? I remember clear as day, remember going to my very first surf contest and losing to a girl and it absolutely crushed me. I did another 18 contests before I made it past the first round. Every single loss I had pushed me and made me angrier and wanting the next step more than anything, simply striving for improvement and nothing else.
This sense of perseverance and never giving up was very relate able earlier this year when I had an F in my math class, algebra 2, which is very difficult to pass, especially at my school. Students were dropping out of the class, or worse, dropping out of the school. And because of this, I was no smarter than them. But I continued with never a thought of giving up. Earlier this week we took a test and I had the highest grade in the class as of that moment. If it weren’t for surfing and getting knocked on my ass again, simply to get knocked on my ass repeatedly. When I got knocked on of my ass academically, there was no other option besides doing what I’d do when I surf, which is continuing.
Surfers, are the different breed of your average day to day person that nobody other than a surfer, really understands. I have explained how surfing has taught myself about respecting people who are higher up than you whether it is in school, or work, even the lineup. And the art and mindset or perseverance that surfers have developed through trial, error, or getting a good butt whooping every once and awhile. I’m sure many other lessons in life could be related to surfers and the aspects of our lifestyles that differ from your average person, that may be the solution for all this controversy in our nation right now. I vote, we put every single person who thinks they are better than everyone else on a surfboard, and we’ll see what kind of power they have in an ocean who doesn’t judge based on money, but by character.
Blog written by Team Rider Nathaniel Mauldin
Photography by David Pritzker