Since I was a child I have been obsessed with water, especially water that moves. I’ve always loved being near the sea. I’ve always had a love of spending time in and near the ocean. In the last 5 years or so I have become addicted to bodyboarding and I try and get my hair wet as much as I can in the winter months whilst getting out on the golf course during the summer! I think I’ve been drawn to bodyboarding a lot as it’s such an easy escape; Having spent most of my youth playing competitive golf, getting out in the water and being able to enjoy a past time with no hard rules always feels like such an awesome freedom for me.
There are certain ettiquettes and respect you need to give when in a busy line up, especially at Bournemouth Pier- my local break- but you don’t have to do anything in any certain way. You don’t have to answer to anyone, it’s open and it’s your own, there isn’t a book with 45,000 rules in it like there is in the game of golf. Being out in the ocean one sunny, winters day got me thinking about the real reasons behind why I started playing golf and how I could take more of a free attitude to the golf course.
In the sport of surfing and bodyboarding there are 2 main categories of Professional surfer. At the top level, Pro surfers travel the world competing in the World Surf League. This is where the best in the business compete against each other for individual titles, league points and plenty of cash! Obviously a fair few similarities to the world of the PGA Tour then! We all understand that though, people enjoy watching the best in any sport in the biggest arenas when under the most pressure. It is amazing to watch the best athletes perform at their peak, competing for trophies and titles- it is where real legends of the sporting world are made.
The second type of Pro Surfer is the ‘Free Surfer’. This is a guy or girl who travels and surfs and surfs and travels. Often living a fairly simple lifestyle, camping and hosteling on and around the beaches of the world, scraping together enough money for flights to get to the next swell filled country by selling surf photos and videos and writing travel articles for magazines and websites. That sounds pretty good right?
Of course you have to be an amazingly talented and respected surfer, an interesting character and blaze a very unique and original trail for people to want to listen and watch what you have to say and what you do. However, the main thing you need for this lifestyle is a true love, a passion for what you’re doing. It isn’t about the money, I don’t think it can be, because there isn’t much available! Its about having the dedication to discover your own path and simply enjoy a sport for the simple love of doing it. Not to win, not to lose, not to prove a point or send a message, more to express, to feel and to discover. To discover yourself.
In contrast there isn’t a golfing equivalent, not that I’ve seen anyway. Do you know a golfer who just golf’s? For the sake of golfing? A golfer who dosen’t keep score, dosent play by a set of rules. Dosent try and win and dosent mind if he loses?
This seems to sum up the very individual but very different nature of both surfing and golf, they are activities that rely heavily on self motivation to improve. Both can be extreamly frustrating things to do when things aren’t working out your way. Both are very addictive, time consuming, artistic, poetic, natural and beautiful things to do. Both belong to you, both are your own.