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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

You’ve probably seen those crazy people in the water year round in California with their boards and wetsuits and wondered why they’re even out there in the first place. Well, surfing means an abundance of things to many people. For some, it’s their livelihood; they live, eat and breathe with the waves and the sand. For others, it means having something exciting to look forward to after a long day at school or work. There are a multitude of meanings in between. For me, it means basking in the beauty of Mother Nature with people that I love.

The Lalatwo Surfers With Surf Boards
Her Campus Media

Surfing can be physically challenging because you have to fight against the waves in order to be far enough out to catch them. The repetitive nature of pushing your body forward makes surfing tough, but once you ride the wave back to the beach, the experience changes. At first, this was difficult for me to understand. The work seemed to be grueling compared to the reward. Once I allowed myself to float after paddling out the first few times, a newfound sense of appreciation washed over me. Knowing that I had that strength to work hard and get where I was stuck with me and made it easier each time following my first experience. Although it was a great experience, everyone will tell you that riding the wave is even better.

Feeling the wave guide you back to the shore is nothing short of magic. The connection that it creates between you and the ocean as well as the land is inevitable — there is nothing like it. It is extremely beautiful to see nature’s strength at work. All of the hard work involving paddling is reciprocated when you get pushed by the waves onto the shore. Laying down on the board and getting used to the motions is necessary at first, and learning how to slowly stand up and change directions is like learning how to walk again. It gives you the same sense of knowing that you have some control over where you are going but you work alongside nature. Surfing is literally and metaphorically so rich in knowledge that can be applied to anything in life. 

If you can believe it, the physicality of surfing is only half of the appeal. The mental aspect comes into play when you take into account where you are and what season it is. Personally, I cannot handle cold water even with a wetsuit, but people who can say it’s a whole different experience. At a certain point, it becomes about mental resilience even when you’re physically drained. For others, it is about being centered. This isn’t only true in cold weather as it still applies when it’s the warmest day of the year. My feelings change entirely when I am surrounded by natural beauty and sunlight. There are places where you can see the mountains while surfing in California, and it makes me think about life in a unique way that only happens in the most gorgeous places. 

Experiencing the joy that surfing brings me with my friends and family is so special. I think this is why everyone should seek out the experience of surfing. Bring someone you care about to the beach soon and try to surf even if it’s just body surfing. Going to the beach can be so therapeutic and experiencing nature in a new way is important. Surfing can allow you to feel differently about how you go about your day and even your week, if you let it.

Kailey is an English major at UCLA and has her sights set on writing pieces that connect people to nature. Her main goal in her articles is to inspire people to be authentic and chase their passion.