2 Lessons I learned from my first surfing at 34

7 min readAug 2, 2022

First surfing at 34, starting with a hesitation

As always, a new challenge needs braveness. It is the same for surfing. Hello! I’m Soyeon from South Korea. I’m calm and closed to being an introvert. so It is not easy at all to open my mind to the thing that I’m not familiar with. The only deviation I have made in my life was to go hiking as my hobby. Whenever I said to people like “ I loved mountains” then all people replied back “Oh, I expected that you would say flower arranging like that, the things sitting on the desk”

No matter what people said to me, as a hiking lover, I went climbing every weekend and season of the year for various reasons: To see flowers in spring, feel the breeze under the trees in summer, see colorfulness covered all over the mountain, and enjoy snow wonderland in winter.

Then everything stopped of a sudden. The time came at the moment that my passion for hiking burned like a flame and only ashes were left. It was a sign to take a deep breath. Then a new deviation came to me.

Go to enroll in the Busan surfing camp on Aug

How about you try surfing this time?

While preparing for this Busan surfing camp for several weeks, I interviewed female surfers and heard a lot about how it was. so thought I had gotten used to surfing, but when I got a question to try surfing. I had to hesitate to answer for a moment.

As I studied surfing, I got to know several things about what surfing would be like :

  1. You can stand on the surfing board with just the first lesson but will fall into the sea a lot until you can make it.
  2. Your hair will be like seaweed sticking to your face while surfing. not that pretty.
  3. A series of annoying things in the process can be followed. For example, soaking in the salty sea water and sand all the time and then you have to go wash them in the shower.

These went through my mind quickly. It’s normal for all sports to sweat, but It is too much for me because It needs more than that.

If It is a deviation that can expand your world

When I say “Yes” to something I have never thought about before, It is because the influence of the people around me plays a bigger role than my will. When this happens, deliberately let the situation go, stay away from it and see how it is going on.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in 34 years, It’s that I’m finally starting to admit that my decisions may not always be right. Sometimes, rather than arguing with people, I really listen to the opinions of others. As long as It doesn’t cause irreparable harm to me, I can always come back even if I deviate for a while from the way I know.

A sea brings magic to make people turn into a child

Crossing Songjeong Beach holding a surfboard that was more than twice my height, finally met a beautiful sea of Busan. I still vividly remember the moment I entered the Songjeong sea through this surfing camp in April. The atmosphere, which had been awkward since the participants had just met before that, was quickly reversed into a fun playground for adults.

“Wow! See? I’m in the sea!”

“The water is so good than I thought!”

“Wow, Busan beach is just as good as I heard!”

Even though they just went into the sea, they all seemed to have the same mind. So, as soon as they saw each other in the water, the pretty smiles that they had hidden began to burst at the same time. Some of them were already on their surfboards and enjoying the waves of the sea.

It’s natural to feel embarrassed at first. But It’s a shame to stop now

If you go surfing, you can see that the surfing skills of the participants are very different from first-time surfers to those who have already mastered waves through multiple surfing experiences in famous surf destinations abroad. So, in general, surfing camps teach people at the beginner’s level.

In fact, for first-time surfers like me, surfing time is a series of shame. I failed dozens of times in front of everyone. During the class, I fell off the surfboard so much that I drank too much seawater through my nose. The hair became rolled up like seaweed, stuck to the hair, and the sunscreen written to be waterproof was washed away already because I spend more time under the sea than on the surfboard.

In the meantime, people who had chatted with me a minute ago succeeded to stand up on the board. They were getting ahead of me one by one. This is the point that people start to doubt themselves thinking “It is allowed only to people who have a special talent?”

But in the sea, you can’t just stand blankly like that and be envious. You can get hypothermia if you stay still. So you have to keep moving anyway. If you are weak-willed, it is a good idea to set the environment around you that makes push to move. For me, this time, that is a sea that makes me not give up. So I stood in front of the waves again. I chose to fail.

Don’t take your eyes off where you are going!

I was moved by the word that my surf teacher said, “Soyeon, Lift your head and see straightly where you are going rather than bending down to see the surfing board under your leg.

The reason I failed so far was that I paid too much attention to the anxiety in front of me that was shaking the moment. If you focus on your current anxiety like that, you will never trust yourself.

So, for the first time, I threw myself into the waves, counted 1,2,3, in my mind, and jumped off the surfboard without hesitation for a second. I focused on only one direction I had to go. Then the surfboard moved lightly like a feather and arrived at the beach smoothly.

2 things I learned from my first surfing experience at 34

What I realized while surfing at this Busan surf camp was that I looked back on my life and stopped saying “I’m not interested in those things!”

Actually, life is a series of unexpected events, and it doesn’t make sense to try to find only a stable path. It is undeniable that the world I perceive has expanded thanks to trying surfing, which I was not familiar with before, now part of my world.

I learned two things from the first surfing of my life:

  1. Give me a chance to try a new area even though I have never thought about it before.

A person’s world can be expanded through experience. The world is really big, but if the world I understand is small, you will miss out on the joys of life. It’s a good idea to start with questions like “Oh, Is there such a thing?” instead of “I’m not interested in it at all.”

2. No matter what I do, keep my eyes in the direction of where I’m going.

That way, you will be able to move forward without fear when the waves come. If you look at what you are doing right now from a distant perspective, the difficulties and anxiety you are worry will seem small. Sometimes, when I have a hard time, I read books or documentaries about space. Looking at my worries reflected in the universe, I realized how small they are. If you look at it from such a distant point of view, even if you meet the big waves again, you gain the strength to move forward.

If you can’t do it alone, you can do it together. There is a saying, “The world has been developed when 100 people take one step forward together than when one person goes 100 steps ahead.” If you find it difficult to go surfing alone, why not try to go surf camp with women travelers this summer?

🏄NomadHer Surf Camp for women will be held from August 22–24 in Busan, South Korea. You will get more than I felt and learned through this camp.

Go to enroll in the Busan surfing camp on Aug

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