I think every surf photographer has a form of admiration for waves as much as a surfer..
I am both of them.
Living at the moment on the Gold Coast, I get to jump everyday in the ocean weather it is for shooting, surfing or surf instructing. I realized that I have never been as happy and somewhat addicted to it!
I was preparing a portfolio of wave shots when I started asking myself about the waves, and why they were making me feel so good…
Here are the answers I found and how people use this knowledge to help the ones who needs it! I hope it will bring you this indescribable feeling of general stoke and peace I love.
I heard a long time ago a theory saying that the human body is charged with positive Ions and that negative Ions help balancing it and makes you feel good. This article explains how negative Ions create good vibes. Encouraged by this article I decided to investigate more about what is making me feel this happy and stoked.
Bridget Reedman writes here : « The turbulence created by breaking waves alters the physical structure of the air and water, breaking apart water and air molecules and releasing charged ions* into the atmosphere (…) Some scientists are convinced this abundance of negative ions has a positive effect on mood. (visit The Inertia -Scientists Froth on Surf Stoke) Seems to be a first answer to my question.
I heard as well about Alex Gray Surf Therapy, where he regroups people who lost someone important for them, as he did, and helps them going through the loss. No doubts the location, the beach, helps.
I watched this documentary on Netflix called Resurface which explains how war veterans with or without Post Traumatic Syndrome are helped by the dopamine and the adrenaline your body releases when you surf. I highly recommend you to watch this inspirational 27 minutes long documentary.
In South Africa, Tim Conibear even founded Waves for Change who is actively helping children from townships. Those children, as he explains, suffer in average eight traumatic experience a year: death of a loved one, incarceration of a parent, witnessing community violences, physical/sexual abuses at home, etc…
Check out his TEDx talk, every second is worth it!
Now that is a big thing: surfing is a making people feel good. Good physically due to the dopamine and the adrenaline, good mentally with the charged Ions and balanced. I would add that it makes us « unplug ». We cannot take a cell phone out there, there is no notifications, no texts or calls, no one can reach us. I was told once « there is two places I don’t have to pick up my phone, it is in the toilets and in the surf », the guy spent quite a bit of time in the surf!
It also makes us forget about any trouble and live the instant. When you drop into a wave, specially when it is a heavy one, there is nothing you think about apart the surf. If you watch the picture below it isn’t hard to guess what this bloke thinks about: « make it or not make it »
So basically after all this reading, the idea is that the surf in general (as in, waves, surfing, being by the sea, etc..) provides us charged ions which makes us feel good. The surf as a sport makes your body release dopamine and adrenaline… all those hormones that makes you feel good.
Following those stories about how surf helps, heals, highlights people, I would like to hear about your stories on how surf makes you feel good. I am willing to use all your feelings about it as an inspiration for my waves photography.
Please email me through this website or FB/IG the benefits you get out of surfing, I will anonymously use those messages to create new views on waves and surf.