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8 life lessons that surfing can teach us

How do surfers see life? Perhaps just like the ocean. 

MANILA, Philippines — The ocean is vast, mighty and intimidating but surfers are able to take it on with grace and courage. They face it head on with the desire of catching and riding its waves. Once they do, they get not only a feeling of accomplishment but also a certain high. 

Perhaps this is how surfers also see life—just like the ocean. And why not? With all its challenges, life can sometimes seem intimidating and overwhelming. Surfing teaches us how to dive deep when strong waves crash down on us. 

That said, there are life lessons that surfing can teach us if we ever give it a try. Here are eight of them:

1. Consistent practice pays off

In surfing, beginners and amateurs start rough. They have to paddle out to sea and wait for the waves patiently, only to fall and get wiped out. Despite this, they get back on their boards to repeat the painful process over and over again. Why? Because consistent practice pays off.

This is the kind of attitude we must have when learning something new or starting on a new set of skills. We practice until we master it.

2. Don’t waste opportunities

All surfers—whether newbie or pro—know that every wave is different. There are bad ones and there are good ones, which should never be missed despite fear and anxiety. This is because all waves offer the chance to level up in surfing.

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This very concept can be applied in life especially when new opportunities arrive at our doorsteps. Yes, there may be new people to meet and risks to face but be brave and never let an opportunity pass.

3. Be flexible and adapt

Flexibility in surfing is key to balancing on the board and riding the waves. This entails bending the knees and feeling the water move underneath. This also involves going with the flow instead of fighting it. Often, surfers who try to fight the current end up being thrown over.

The same is true in life in where change is a constant. When facing change, be flexible and adapt.

4. It’s not all about the competition

Because surfing is a sport, surfers can be perceived as competitive. Sure, there are those who always take advantage of good waves without considering other surfers, but there are also those who generously support fellow surfers. They usually give and take when riding waves, and even nurture each other’s skills.

Bring this sense of community wherever you go, especially in the workplace, so that you foster beneficial relationships rather than unhealthy competition.

5. Be good to the environment

As surfers dedicate much of their time in the ocean, they grasp its value to Mother Earth. It is not just the playground of their passion but also the home of vital marine life. As such, they try to give back to the ocean by preserving and protecting it. They even hold clean-up drives regularly.

We should all definitely learn from surfers on how to be good to the environment, starting with our most immediate surroundings—our home and workplace.

6. Simply enjoy it

Without a doubt, surfers experience all the lows to be high, all the pains for the gains. But whatever their reasons, they will keep on surfing simply because they enjoy it.

And isn’t life supposed to be just like this? To find happiness in whatever we pursue.

7. Have the right attitude

Physical strength is secondary to the right attitude when it comes to surfing. It means being committed to the sport, having the drive to improve, and staying humble when with fellow surfers.

This attitude, the kind that drives you to be better without stepping on others, is also what fuels success beyond surfing.

8. Live and love

Without a doubt, surfers love the ocean sport so much that they are willing to undergo hardships and sacrifices—hoping that their efforts will be rewarded in the end.

The same applies to living and loving as portrayed in “Waves,” a short film about a surfer named Marco. A free-spirited millennial, he will soon find the love of his life while riding the waves. Watch below. 

"Waves" is the first of three Sun Shorts 2 films produced by Sun Life Financial Philippines with the goal of promoting financial freedom. Watch the other Sun Shorts via Start your journey toward financial independence by talking to a financial advisor or by visiting Brighter Life Institute.  




Short films encourage Filipinos to be ‘financially free’ this June 


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