Waves of Life


“There’s quite a few lessons I’ve definitely learned and treasures that I’ve discovered from just surfing
Dave Rastovich

I remember when I first moved to Torquay in 1991 I surfed Bells and Winkipop almost every day. There was an established pecking order out there and it felt good to start connecting with the local surfing community and slowly find my place in the line up. You really had to charge and have a go to gain any respect back then so through all the wipeouts and wild rides I was also learning core values in life, such as patience, humility and commitment, and developing a deeper sense of confidence and belief in myself.

The whole experience sparked my awareness about how simply going surfing can enrich us in all areas of life. So when I began writing The Surfer’s Mind in 2001, along with sharing core mental skills to surf better, I also wanted to present the wonderful opportunities we have for personal development and enrichment through fulfilling our surfing potential and living the surfing life.

Over the next two years I gathered material for my book through research projects and targeted interviews with 300+ surfers from the whole spectrum of our sport and lifestyle. From grommets to elders, it was inspiring to hear everyone’s story about how learning to ride the waves of the ocean also helped them to grow as a person and ride the waves of life, for example…

Developing personal qualities…

Training to ride big waves helps develop discipline and persistence
Shane Dorian

Overcoming adversity…

Through the years I’ve had to deal with having really, really bad arthritis and waking up very, very stiff and still my focus has been to win and live my dream so I think people should really live their dreams, especially anyone with a disability, really focus on what you want to do and get out there and do it
Pauline Menzcer

Facing fears…

If you put yourself in that fear factor a whole lot then you become used to it and you adjust to it and then you’re able to control it. It’s a scary feeling but yet you overcome the essence of fear and you control it and you work with it so that it helps you come through that area
Darrick Doerner


Even my biggest rival is my greatest teacher
Keala Kennelly


It’s the mind that creates the goal and then it’s the heart that gives you the drive to achieve it
Layne Beachley

Cultivating relationships…

With the ocean…

It’s a pure love thing I have for it. Started when I was very young. It is so powerful but again so calming. It’s very magnetic and draws you to it when it’s perfect or if you need a fix. It’s bigger than all of us could imagine. I respect it utmost and hopefully everyone else does too
Mark Occhilupo

With each other…

The Aloha Spirit really basically means being nice to people and helping them
Clyde Aikau

We often receive important lessons in life from outside surfing too, and often it is through applying those lessons in our own world and in our own way that we achieve true understanding…

My mom would always say ‘Simplest is best’. The more complicated you make something the less the range of conditions it’s going to work in, whether that’s something emotional or something physical, surfboard design or anything
Kelly Slater

The process of consciously experiencing and evolving through our passions in life is called self-actualisation. Examples of self-actualisation include expressing creativity, pursuing knowledge, contributing to humanity and the quest for spiritual enlightenment.

Opportunities for self-actualisation in surfing are infinite and there really is so much more to surfing than simply riding a wave. However, it’s important to always remember that it is our love of simply riding a wave that opens the door to the so much more…

Words of wisdom shared by Rasta, Dorian, Menzcer, Doerner, Keala, Layne, Occy, Clyde Aikau and Kelly Slater all from The Surfer’s Mind


Thanks to The Inertia for first publishing this article in May 2014

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