Surfing has had a huge impact on my life.
It is amazing how the things that I have practiced in Surfing can be applied to everyday life.
Besides the obvious ones, balance, coordination, timing and the other physical attributes that surfing hones, there are the underlying practices that are more profound.
I would say that almost 80% of surfing is being able to read your surroundings, and judge whether you want to commit to riding the wave that you see forming in front of you or wait for the next one.
This alone is a awesome talent to develop. I have applied it to situation after situation. From troubleshooting a electrical circuit problem, to deciding whether or not to compete in open mike contests.
Most of your time "surfing" is actually spent paddling, or sitting on your board waiting for that right wave. So you develop patience. The ability to wait diligently and attentively till that time when you can exercise that all important judgment of whether to go or not.
Now don't get me wrong, if you are out of shape you won't catch many waves, and the ones you do won't be on any highlight reels, but if you don't know how to gauge the wave and your surroundings, you are in for a ride that might make the blooper reel.
The thing that I am most thankful for in surfing though has been the chance to commune with nature in such a raw form.
I have seen Whales breach not more then 200 feet from where I sat upon my board, I have had sharks circle just off the nearby drop off, trying to catch a good whif of what I was. Countless turtles, fish, and dolphins have also made guest appearances in some of my surf sessions. Sunsets and Sunrises that are beyond my words to describe. My favorite times have been when I am out there on the ocean by myself with nothing but my thoughts, the elements and creatures of the ocean, and the ever so often wave to ride.
That is when I feel the most at peace, the most connected to creation, and when it is the easiest for me to see the hand of God in everything.
Nowadays I don't get to surf as much as I have in the past, I spend most of my days working to support my family, the other days with my family, but I use all the things that I learned by surfing to make my little world a better place.
I give thanks for my time in the water, and where it has brought me today. I am also patiently awaiting that time when I get to go back into the water and catch some mean ones.