Fear of waves is probably the most common phobia among surfers, especially beginners. When you’re about to catch your first real wave after a foam lesson, you may have that “X” moment when you’re overwhelmed by fear and the desire not to catch, but to dodge the wave. The fear that this “monster” will twist you with your board in a frantic dance and ruthlessly spit on the shore, sometimes really strongly hinders progress in surfing, and sometimes even makes you give up this pleasure. By the way, fear of waves is not the only phobia that keeps you from enjoying the benefits of surfing. The whole truth is that “the brave one is not the one who is not afraid, but the one who overcomes his fear” (c), so let’s face our fears!
WHAT ARE SURFERS AFRAID OF AND HOW TO CONQUER ALL THESE FEARS?
Undoubtedly, encountering a shark is indeed a life-threatening experience, so this phobia has a very weighty background. Some people don’t have as much fear of waves as they do of sharks. It is worth mentioning that the sensational movie “Jaws” and the like also contributed to this: after this movie, the number of people in the ocean decreased noticeably, and psychologists began to get rich. If we, in Bali and Indonesia in general, have nothing to fear, then imagine what it’s like to learn to ride in, say, Australia or Brazil? At the same time surfers with experience ride as if nothing had happened, because the love of surfing has long ago put all the fears on the back burner. But for beginners, when you don’t even like surfing, all the fears come to the fore. Although sharks are a problem for surfers, the risk of being attacked, as well as the fear itself, can be quite minimized. First, study the object of your fear: sharks. Statistically, the odds of meeting a shark are 1 in 11.5 million, and the odds of being attacked by one are 250 times less. Secondly, try to avoid spots with a bad reputation, because at best you will maniacally look around looking for a fin, and at worst – you will materialize your fear from your head into reality.
FEAR OF WAVES (cynophobia)
It is noteworthy that fear can be caused by a wave of absolutely small size, which, just because of this fear, increases to the height of the house in your imagination. Unfortunately, at this moment the brain is so busy “drawing” unlikely pictures in the head, for example, how you will be twisted so that you will not be able to swim and similar sketches, that these illusions win over common sense. The only rational decision for yourself is you find duck dive or Eskimo roll, but do not catch that very, so long-awaited first wave.
Sometimes such panic attacks end with the fact that you can come back from the line-up with zero results, physically and mentally exhausted. Some people are so strongly affected by this condition that they give up surfing once and for all with the words “no, this is not my thing”. Thus, the fear of the waves begins to manipulate you. So what to do? Some people, when they come to the ocean, quite drastically change the city environment and low-mobility mode to tropical delights and surfing, while for the body and the body is almost a shock therapy. Prepare yourself for it, go to the pool, fitness, work on the right muscle groups for surfing – that’s the body part. Speaking of the mental side of things – just read about what kind of waves there are, study the behavior of each type, how they differ and can be dangerous. Then learn heart safety techniques, including the basic techniques of dodging a wave – duck dive and Eskimo roll. And even better pick up a good school or surf camp and start training with good instructors who give detailed instructions on these issues and always tell you what to do.
This may sound strange to some, but it is true. The principle of “there’s a catch in the family” also works on the line-up. Even if, in theory, on the same spot gather people about the same level, you can often meet unpleasant specimens. Most often it is those who overestimate their level or try to show “who’s boss here. As another option, you can simply stumble on localism: a situation when local surfers are jealous of their home to newcomers and try to deprive them of the desire to go there again. Sometimes such human factors play a greater role than natural ones.
Unfortunately, this fear can hardly be overcome, but there is another way out. Rule number one is not to become the surfer who decided to “jump over his head” and came to the spot, not his level. Remember surfer etiquette and always apologize if you were wrong. Never forget about politeness and restraint, even if you dropped you calmly ask this person to follow the rules, but if you get in response a barrage of aggression, then sometimes it is better to get out of the water to avoid conflict.
FEAR OF THE OCEAN AND DEPTH (THALASSOPHOBIA AND BATHOPHOBIA)
These phobias are closely related to each other. People who fear the ocean subconsciously see an unpredictable mass of water in which anything can happen, but nothing good. For some people, this fear can be associated with negative experiences, while for others this phobia is irrational. Also, the not unimportant role played by depth – the knowledge that underneath you a thickness of water, which can hide anything, certainly does not give any confidence. It is possible to overcome these phobias, but the second, of course, is easier. To overcome the fear of the ocean, you must first learn how to swim and do it in such a way that you do not have an ounce of self-doubt. Try to be in the water surrounded by at least one person, or even better a company that you trust. To overcome the fear of depth, then you should also first improve your skills as a swimmer, learn the spot to which you’re going, to make sure that no one will drag you underwater. And the easiest option is to avoid deep spots, try to look for alternatives, gradually get used to both the ocean and different water depths.
Surfing itself is different from other sports by the fact that you do not have the usual ground under your feet, and that in itself is already a factor of loss of control. Then comes a succession of other out-of-control circumstances: waves with their wipeouts, unfortunate turns or positions on the wave that make others smirk, and so on. It all comes from the same starting point: the insecurity of self and/or one’s abilities. Because a confident person is unlikely to start thinking of hypothetical ways to fail. What will help you? Believe in yourself and your strengths. First, figure out what exactly the root of your insecurity is, the reason is not always enough polished skills surfer. Sometimes, some other complexes, do not affect the subject of surfing, preventing you to realize their abilities to the fullest. If you’re afraid of mocking looks from your lane-mates – remember, we all came into this world to learn, and Kelly Slater was not born and became Kelly Slater through hard work on himself. And if you have a surf instructor by your side that you can count on, it will protect you from unnecessary worries and give you a chance to ride.
IF THE FEAR OF WAVES SUDDENLY OVERCAME YOU WHILE SURFING
Control your breathing. When you start to panic, your breathing speeds up, thereby giving your whole body an alarm signal. To avoid pushing the situation to the critical limit, take control of your breathing right away. Breathe slowly and deeply, thinking of something good (not forgetting, of course, the coming sets). Deep, rhythmic breathing dispels fears (c).
Talk to someone. A couple of jokes or a simple, even if not the longest, conversation can always defuse the situation.
Think back to what you’re even doing on the lye-ups and take what you came for – a wave.
In the ocean, as in life, our fears constrain us and rob us of many wonderful opportunities, whether it be fear of the waves, the opinions of others, and so on. It is good when a person is aware that this is a hindrance to him and wants to solve the problem. But when a person gives in to his fears, he limits himself and lives, trying to avoid the tricks he has invented. As long as they haven’t invented the time machine, appreciate every minute and give free rein to your desires, so that memories will bring a smile, and no regrets about the lost days