SURFING, LOCKDOWN AND MENTAL HEALTH
SURFING, LOCKDOWN AND MENTAL HEALTH.
It’s been a tough year for us addicted to surf. I’m sure there are plenty of people itching to be in the water and some people who have been lucky enough to walk to the surf and get in. Us here, at Log Fin Co, are not so lucky. Our nearest break is a 15 minute drive through a few villages/towns, so not being seen is pretty impossible, and the police around here are really keen on catching anyone not abiding by the Welsh rules.
That being said, it’s been a bit of a mission trying to stimulate the mind and there are only so many surf films and Instagram clips you can watch before you’re ready to climb the walls. From experience, do NOT log on and check out the webcam when you’ve just checked the forecast! It’s less painful punching yourself in the d*!ck or va@£na!!
I myself suffer with quite bad depression and when you only have an outlet like surfing, you rely on it so much to keep yourself motivated and above water (excuse the pun!). Surfing has too many factors against it to make it a constant release; like the wind, swell and tide. So during lockdown I tried a few things out but nothing quite hit the spot. I'd also started comfort eating, like most people during this pandemic, I’d slowly put on some weight and this in turn turns against you when you’re your own worst nightmare!
I was getting deeper and deeper into a rut, until I'd been tagged in something that has quite literally changed everything. I was tagged by a friend to run 5km and to donate £5 to the NHS. "Game on!' I thought, I will smash it!! I was so wrong; about 1km in I was sweating so much it looked like I’d jumped into the river, halfway through it felt like my heart was going to burst through my chest but at the end I was so proud of myself.
Something that day clicked and the buzz after doing that 5km run was close to the one I get when I'm surfing down the line, or getting a glimpse at the waves before arriving. So the following day I decided to go for a shorter run and again that same buzz came back. My wife asked if I’d fancy doing a challenge with her that asked you to run a mile per day throughout May. If I was going to feel great after every run then I was definitely keen to give it a go. We both managed to complete that challenge and the buzz was still there!
I noticed that I was losing weight and sleeping much better, which made me feel more upbeat and positive about everything. I entered a few more challenges and with a load of tips from friends that also ran, I was hooked!
When the local lockdown finally lifted there was a small swell hitting. I packed the van with my longboard and favourite fins and headed to the beach. When I caught my first wave it was one of the best feelings ever and that same buzz was back! I surfed until the wind switched and was incredibly grateful for the waves I’d caught. One thing I noticed was that my pop up was so rapid, my lower back didn’t hurt and I could quite happily do another session if the waves had allowed it. I wondered what I’d eaten that morning and how I had so much energy and why nothing hurt like usual after a surf. That’s when the penny dropped. I’d lost weight, my mental health was at an all time high and my fitness levels had drastically changed.
Then the second lockdown hit. I was in a much better place mentally and knew that I had running to fall back on and because you only need a pair of running shoes and motivation you can go whenever you like. It’s been a tough journey to find an alternative but it’s been well worth it. Running has been (and still is) my favourite substitute for surfing, but that being said, I can’t wait to get back in the water!