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How to celebrate International Surfing Day

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The 20th of June 2020 is International Surfing Day. That means long nights and cold temperatures in the southern hemisphere, while the northern hemisphere is mostly warm and bright. The tropics will be the same as they always are. What will surfers across our blue planet be doing on this day? For those seeking inspiration, this article includes 7 ways to celebrate.

Surfing after the Coronavirus lockdown

For many, the COVID-19 lockdown is easing and that means that they can head back to the beach. In some countries, like South Africa, France and New Zealand, surfing was completely banned during the lockdown. South African surfers actively protested and French surfers were arrested by helicopters. In the USA some beaches were shut while others remained open. In Australia, every man and his dog went surfing.

Turns out vitamin D levels reduce the severity of COVID-19, so exposure to the sun is probably a good strategy for building immunity. Maybe if more people had gone surfing we’d have flattened that curve quicker.

Anyway, there are many surfers who have spent 6 or more weeks out of the water as a result of the pandemic. There is cause to celebrate being back amongst the waves.

7 ways to celebrate International Surfing Day 2020

1. Visit your local surf shop

Retail has been hit hard by Coronavirus lockdowns. For many businesses, it is make or break time. Surf brands are suffering and will be doing everything they can to keep their heads above water. Having lots of brands survive this economic downturn means more innovation and competition. It’s good for the surf industry and for us consumers.

We spoke to Chris Lynch, co-founder of Everyday California, a San Diego-based ocean adventure and apparel company offering surfboard rentals, lessons and apparel.

Hi Chris, how have the last few months been for you?

We’ve been lucky that our community leaders here were quick to react to the pandemic and shut down the city, which helped prevent the spread of the virus. During the shutdown, it was an eerily quiet couple of months since beaches and businesses were closed, but we’re slowly progressing through the opening stages and getting back to a “new normal.”

It is International Surfing Day on the 20th. What does a celebration look like for you?

Everyday California will be open and offering kayaking tours and board rentals to the public, so they can get out and enjoy our beautiful coast. Personally, I’ll be out in the water no matter what the waves look like!

The surf industry has taken a huge blow as a result of COVID-19, what can surfers do to support?

Surfers can keep the surf industry alive and well by purchasing products from small brands like ours, whether that is purchasing a new board or  some great surf apparel. We are actually currently offering 20% off all our products online at

Any message you’d like to share with the world?

Surf shops are an essential part of the surf community and they need support now more than ever. We are all going through challenging times, but if you’re able to support a small business, your purchases can have a major impact.

2. Clean up a beach

Not sure if you noticed a reduction in pollution during lockdown but it was dramatic in many places. Hopefully, features of the “new normal” will be less travel, more conscious consumerism and rethinking single-use plastics. Next time you’re walking along the waterline, scan for plastics, fishing lines and other rubbish. It only takes a moment to pick it up, potentially saving the life of a seagull or turtle somewhere.

In 2019 WSL PURE organised a paddle-out to raise awareness. You could do the same. This is not an eco-warrior forum – we all leave a trace. Simply being on this web page means using a device manufactured thousands of miles away, transported by boats and planes, then connecting via the internet to servers that require electricity, which is generated by burning coal… So keeping beaches clean is a small gesture that offsets some impact and the cumulative effect will be better than otherwise.

3. Contact someone with whom you’ve shared a great surfing experience

Life passes quickly. I’ve interviewed many people in their sixties and seventies who say that they still feel like a kid, it’s just that their bodies are letting them down. Time seems to accelerate as life gets busier. A misspent youth quickly becomes serious – family, work, responsibility, the grind. Hangovers get worse. Laughter is more scarce. Surfing provides some temporary relief from suffering.

Perhaps the saddest moment in a surfer’s life is when he or she realises that they’ve probably already caught their best waves. Doing an air or getting a massive barrel start to fade from fantasy.

Don’t worry. Change is the only constant. There are plenty of fun surfing experiences in store if you allocate time and prioritise your life. In the meanwhile, call or email a friend and reminisce about some of your favourite surfing adventures. Be sure to talk about:

  • Where you were (e.g. Bali)
  • When (e.g. May 2014)
  • Where exactly were you surfing? (We were out at Impossibles, it was 6 foot and perfect)
  • What made the session memorable?
  • What did you do afterwards?

Paint the picture, take them back and enjoy watching the movie of your life. They’ll no doubt appreciate the contact.

4. Learn a new skill

Have you heard about the benefits of cognitive behavioural therapy? How about learned optimism or positivity as a practice? Resilience is another emerging field of research that helps people deal with a rapidly changing world. When we consider surfing, most of us think that the best way to improve is to simply go surfing. However, even if you live in a wave-rich region, you can only surf for a limited amount of time each day. Cross-training by developing skills in other areas of life can improve how you approach the surfing experience.

Pro surfers get coaches and sports psychologists to help them understand why they do the things they do. Digging down to uncover the reasons why we do things is vital to self-development. Remember, humans are very much like computers, in that we have hardware – our bodies – and software – our emotions and habits. From birth, we store information about our environment and our bodies respond in subtle but important ways. The filed of epigenetics shows that certain genes even express differently based on what has been happening during our life (and the lifetimes of our ancestors).

Learning a new skill is an important way of keeping mind, body and emotions engaged. It will keep you relevant and make you feel good. Neuroplasticity is the ability of our brains to change throughout our lives. Nothing beats achieving mastery of some new skill or habit.


  • Learn meditation – try Headspace
  • Discover resilience training – you can read my book Resilience Mastery
  • Learn about cognitive behavioural therapy or positive psychology
  • Try out hot yoga, martial arts or rock climbing – activate parts of the brain and body that will you serve you in the water
  • If you’re struggling for inspiration, watch some TED talks
  • Grab that old guitar and strum a few chords – many surfers are also musicians

5. Read about the history of surfing

What better day of the year to learn about the rich and colourful history of surfing. Check out Matt Warshaw’s book for one of the best-rated voyages through time.

You might also enjoy these articles:

6. Watch one of your favourite surf films

There are many great surf movies that capture pivotal moments in surfing’s evolution.

You could watch some of the legendary surf films or maybe stream a Hollywood surf movie. perhaps try one about how surfing has improved people’s lives. Resurface is great and we were proud to release Waves of Freedom last year.

7. Get fit

It’s international surf day and what better time to get fit so that we all enjoy many more days of surfing. Some of the best ways to improve surf fitness include yoga, cardio activities, strength exercises and swimming.

Some articles:

Mick Fanning will whip you into shape

Try Ginastica Training – Jiu Jitsu for surfers

Be like Laird Hamilton

Enjoy International Surfing Day

While celebrating surfing might seem ridiculous, we’ve all had a pretty weird start to 2020. If nothing else, enjoy 20th June 2020 and take some time out for yourself. Hopefully the above guide provided some ideas.