So, you have been practicing your surfing techniques, obtained the best equipment, and you are ready to show it all off during your first surf trip. That is the dream for most surfers, but if you deal with major anxiety, especially when it comes to traveling, then it may be easier said than done.
Whether you are traveling locally or internationally, there is a lot to consider, especially if you are feeling a bit uneasy. However, by organizing your trip, staying prepared, and remembering to be positive, you can make that dream vacation a reality.
1. Get the Right Equipment Ahead of Time
One of the reasons new surfers might be feeling anxious is that they fear they may not have the right equipment to keep them afloat. The key is to secure the proper board, wetsuit, and all necessary accessories before heading out so you can travel with confidence.
When choosing your surfboard, beginners should stick with a soft-top model made of foam or resin that will help you stay afloat longer and won’t hurt if it hits you when you fall. If you are afraid of looking like a beginner out there, worry not. These days, manufacturers are making beginner boards much sleeker to look like those of the veterans.
For finding a proper wetsuit, you want one that fits, but you also want to prepare for the weather at your destination. In slightly cooler temperatures, go for the full-body suit that covers you from head to feet. In warmer environments, you can probably go with a shorter suit that leaves your forearms and the area below your knee exposed. If you are worried about the water being too cold, then choose the proper wetsuit thickness so you can focus on the surf and not the chill.
2. Stay Organized
Many travelers experience anxiety because they just don’t feel that they have everything that they need. However, fear of forgetting something can be quelled with good organization. Start with packing your suitcase.
While packing, have a plan in mind for what you want to bring. Start a list a week in advance and put it on the refrigerator. Every time you think of something else you need to bring, add it to the list.
When packing your suitcase, you can save space by rolling up your clothes. You will definitely want that space in case you pick up any cool surfing accessories while you are on your trip. Be sure to utilize your toiletry bag and fill it with the essentials, so you know where everything is, and you can have it ready at a moment’s notice.
Along with your suitcase, add all essentials into a carry-on, including electronics, chargers, and passports. One of the essentials in your carry-on should be your itinerary. If you are going to a new place, it is a great idea to know where you need to go and how to get there. Create a list of all hotels, restaurants, and surfing locations you want to visit along with the address, phone number, and directions.
3. Conquer Your Fear of Flying
For some people, just getting to the surfing destination can be a scare, especially when it comes to flying. It’s understandable that flying thousands of miles above the ground can create some tension, but if you want to show off on those epic waves, then you have to get to them first.
If you have anxiety with flying, the first step is understanding the facts about planes and how safe they really are, remembering that plane crashes are highly unlikely and that planes can even fly perfectly fine on only one engine. If you have a fear of flying, you might also decide to choose an aisle seat to avoid claustrophobia, watch something entertaining to keep your mind off of the flight, or talk with your doctor about medications that may help ease your anxiety.
4. Stay Fit So You Can Keep Up
Whether you are a beginner, or you’ve seen your fair share of monster waves, you still might feel anxiety about surfing in a new place around new people. You want to look like you belong and that you know what you’re doing. The good thing is that you can fake it till you make it by undergoing some surfing preparations.
Before your trip, get plenty of exercise with an emphasis on your legs and plenty of running so you can be ready for hours of standing on your board during the trip. Mix in enough stretches to keep you limber and some cardio to keep you standing. There are also other surfing exercises that you can try out of the water, including using a balance board or skateboard to work on your balance.
Regardless of your skill level, everyone is out there to get along and have fun, so don’t worry about anyone looking down on you.
5. Focus on Your General Anxiety
If you have tried everything, but you still just don’t like the idea of traveling, then you might try some of these general tips to overcome your anxiety. Along with your exercise, always remember to eat well because eating well positively affects your brain’s neurotransmitters, which affect your mood. It is all about positive thinking. Before your trip, draw up a list of your favorite past vacations and how much fun you had. Then refer back to it when you are feeling down.
Finally, feel at ease before you leave by researching about your destination beforehand. Learn a few common phrases of the language, find out the local currency and have enough on hand, and read up on common scams in that area so you can avoid them. In the end, remember that you are going on this trip because you love to surf and you’re getting the chance to do it in a new, exciting place. Consider all of the positives and have the time of your life.