5 life lessons I learned from surfing


Even though I was born in a country surrounded by the seas with 8.493 km shoreline, surfing is a “hard to imagine” activity for me and many like me. Neither I knew surfing is possible in Turkey nor I knew where to. 3 years ago (I was 25 years old), when I found out it’s no longer impossible to surf in my hometown (as there exist a surf spot and school just 2.5 hours of drive away), I couldn’t guess that waves would be my obsession (in a good way).

When Larke Tanner and Troy Jeffries catch big waves during couple surf tournament , Beverly Hills

In a very short time, surfing was no longer just a scene I watch from cartoon network in “Beverly Hills Couple’s Surf Tournaments, it became a life changer full of lessons I learned from locals and other barefoot surfers. I’ve travelled for surf, been to various spots, participated in surf camps, and took many surf lessons.

Here are just a few of the inspirational lessons I’ve learned besides “how to take off and surf green waves”:

1- Keep it simple

That barefoot feeling, bossa nova rhythms, riding the bike with surf rack, sound of the ocean...Although it is impossible to have these precious moments in your daily routine (if you are a corporate bitch), life is between hello and goodbye ! “Aloha” which is a Hawaiian word commonly used in surf community means both hello and goodbye! Because according to Hawaiians life is just there, between 2 words.

Aloha (pronounced [əˈlo.hə]) in the Hawaiian language means affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. Since the middle of the 19th century, it also has come to be used as an English greeting to say goodbye and hello.

Stick to things make you feel excited and be brave to change if you are not happy!

2- Don’t wait for the biggest perfect shape swell which is in your dreams, practice is everything

In other words; done is better than perfect.

I totally understand that after too much paddling against the strong currents, you think you deserve the best one, that “perfect wave” of the sets. Never forget that any second you spend in the water is precious. Feel the ocean, empty your mind and, enjoy the waves coming. Observation and preparation for the next ride is essential, but if you wait forever for those “perfect swells” you may leave the ocean without a single ride! Small waves train you for the big ones.


3- Don’t stop paddling until you catch it! Even if your arms hurt

Cause it’s worth!

Surfing is the sum of all your efforts in the water, not just the part when you are successfully standing on your board. So here is the question I want to ask;

If your dreams were too easy to see, would you still wish to live them?

Follow your dreams, don’t give up and believe in yourself to survive whatever life throws your way.

4- First observe and see. Then take action!

Sun is rising, the weather is warm with a light breeze (you don’t even need your wetsuits), there exists perfect conditions and naturally you can’t wait to dive into the ocean.

Don’t rush; give yourself enough time before jumping into the water. Observe the waves, seize the opportunities and position yourself according to breaking point.

5- Don’t stare at your pal’s wave! Respect the locals

Be patient, deserve your swells and concentrate to enjoy your deserved waves instead of chasing someone else’s.

Surfing can be a demo of wild life; sometimes you may feel yourself as a lion running in Serengeti Valleys to catch your delicious dinner! Unfortunately you are not alone and a lot of lions are hungry same as you. The rule to survive in ocean is simple; if you respect the others, then you are more likely to return home with a full stomach.

Despite the wilderness of surfing, I luckily managed to stay away from the dark side. I met many warm hearted locals who were sincerely helping and guiding me in the water when I am desperately in need.

+ Bonus :

Always Keep Smiling!

If you find yourself in a state stuck in a sad face loop, stop immediately! Because it means that you’re not treating the ocean fairly! The ocean, those waves deserve happier faces. You, too!

You live your life to be happy and don’t let anything to knock you down on your road to happiness. It is inside. Those waves are there to make you feel it again, to make you understand your limits, your boundaries and your connection with earth. Because you are the one who is putting that limits!

I found a quick solution, and draw smiley to the front side of my board with a wax and it helped me to remember (highly recommended!).

Last but not least, never forget that even you measure all the climate conditions and do all detailed planning to catch the perfect swell at the right place and time, ocean is always unpredictable; like life!


If you are curious about which surf spot and school I’ve been to : http://www.danubesurfhouse.com/en/ nearby Black Sea ( 2.5–3 hours by car from İstanbul).

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