“You can’t calm the storm, so stop trying. What you can do is calm yourself. The storm will pass.”

By Steve England

I like to think surfing and the ocean can teach many life lessons and I was thinking about how we can learn from our oceanic experience and apply it to our current situation.

It is tough to stay positive, but every time I go down the beach, it just makes me realise how lucky we as surfers are, how life ticks on regardless of the Dow Jones Index and that we are all going to be okay in the long run. So here’s my take on it all and how surfings lessons can boost our outlook.

In the face of adversity, relax!
We have all been there at some time. The horizon goes black, and a set is looming, you know you are going take it on the head. It’s bigger than anything you have experienced, and you get that heart in your mouth feeling because you know you’re in for a beating. A 15-footer on the head at low tide is a bit more intimidating than an impending lockdown or virus outbreak. The fear is mainly driven by the not knowing, or feeling out of your depth. Of course how we deal with it next dictates our outcomes. But we are all here, we all survived and none of us gave up. So the best bit of advice is relax, and go with it. No point fighting what you can’t change.

As with sets, currents, storms you just have to prepare and go with it. In the case of corona, most of us are going to be okay, if maybe a little ill. So go with it, and try and seek positives out of the experience. In the surf you dive deep, open your eyes, look around. It’s pretty beautiful. In life, it’s the same. A lot of people think toilet roll is the essential thing in the world right now, and most sensible people believe our health, family, community and life experiences are priceless. Between the doom and gloom, there are some remarkable stories out there from scientific breakthroughs to people helping each other. If you look around, you can see humanity coming together. Our nurses and hospitals are now correctly appreciated, and people are looking out for neighbours, there is no end to the community support online and people trying to help in education, fitness and many other areas. For every negative, there are a million positives!

Don’t let your ego write cheques you can’t cash.
Someone from Wales told me that I think. It was aimed at someone talking the talk, without thinking about the consequences of their lack of knowledge in big waves. Yeah, they got nailed.

The current lockdowns are to protect the vulnerable and a bit like red-flagging a beach. Frustrating, but you go with it, so your lifeguard mates aren’t inundated with people getting sucked out in the rip.

All the lockdowns are for a reason – to protect the vulnerable. Don’t be that person who won’t listen and thinks they know better. We all have to make sacrifices in this case to save a few legends lives. Set the example. Stick to the guidance to protect others

“Hesitation will cause your worst nightmares to come true.”

Never gets old! If we don’t act fast and decisively a lot of people will be harmed. If we move quickly, it will be over quicker. May as well just get on with it hey.

The bigger the storm, the brighter the sunshine when it passes.
We all get locked down from time to time. Remember January with mostly with dark nights, endless onshores, and rain, rain and more rain. But how does the sunshine feel on your face now? Lighter nights, UV, summer is coming. Sure things look bleak when you are staring at your phone or watching the news, but a half-hour at the beach (if allowed), or sat on the cliff and all these things seem a world away. The waves are still rolling in, and the tides are still grooming sandbanks. Find some space away from the noise. When this pans out, we will all be stronger. And all you need to fill your soul are a few waves anyway. And maybe new sled to celebrate.

It’s an ill wind that blows no good.
It’s always offshore somewhere. Change is inevitable in our world, but isn’t half the fun looking forward to exploring and going on new adventures? Onshore ‘here’ leads to discoveries ‘there’. It is our journey as surfers. No one wave or ride is ever the same, and that’s what makes surfing and life so addictive. If change comes, embrace it, adapt and find new ways.

There’s always some kook trying to spoil your day.
Sad but true, especially online. Whether chucking boards in the lineup or throwing offhand comments online, the kooks are out there.

There are a lot of negatives being pushed across social media, a lot of untruths and a lot of toilet paper being hidden, but for every kook, there are a lot of amazing stories of people helping each other. Community groups are being set up to help, people have realised health and those that look after us when we are ill are the priority and are starting to invest in them.

So there you have it. You may agree or disagree, but hopefully, it’s a bit of positivity for you.

Surfers are pretty resilient and creative humans. I mean we invented the ‘work x life’ balance with an emphasis on ‘life’. Every recession or crisis that has gone before just meant less work and more waves (as soon as everyone is let back in). I mean a job kinda gets in the way of the fun stuff anyway! We’d all rather buy boards and wetsuits than food anyway. And as we all know sets and storms soon pass through, and even if we are a bit beaten we will always get back on the board and paddle back out.

Stay safe and be kind!