Surfing is a monumental part of my life. It’s what makes me get out of bed every day, I love the physical aspect but more so the mental side of it. You can’t really think about anything else when you’re out there, so it becomes a form of meditation. Quite consuming, but in the very best of ways.
Surfing is both a form of escapism and a form of feeling fear. You quickly learn the difference between fear and panic. Panic is distracting and leads to wasted energy and oxygen, contrary to fear which feels like a heightened sense of awareness. If you breathe through, it can be a very powerful, positive tool. Being out in the vast ocean, humbled by a big swell, is one of the best feelings in the world.
“Panic is distracting and leads to wasted energy and oxygen, contrary to fear which feels like a heightened sense of awareness. If you breathe through it can be a very powerful, positive tool.”
I try to love and look after my body the best I can. I’ve found cooking most of my meals and regular exercise alongside some form of meditation and stretching routine to be the elixir of life. You can keep all your fad diets please! Remembering no one is perfect, I definitely eat the food that I enjoy and don’t scoff at brownies, a few G&Ts or beers. Occasionally, I train or push things a little bit too far, but I learn what I can and move forward.
I train every day in some form or another. I’m currently working with Great Britain Cycling Coach Alan Bisseker, the Adrenaline Athlete. Alan and I perform a ‘three weeks on, one week off’ block structure that allows me to surf two to three times a day, when there are waves, alongside his program which is tailored specifically for surfing. This structure allows time for the recovery of a very tired body. Then, I like to do a short gratitude breathwork meditation, and if possible, a little stretch and mobility to round off the day.
I’m learning that recovery is just as important, if not more so than the actual training. Remember earlier on when I mentioned those mistakes we learn about and try and move forward from? Well, over-training without proper rest has gotten me more than once. Now, I’m learning that without rest, you are basically training yourself for an injury. My ideal recovery routine consists of good sleep, meditation, dips in the ocean and an ice bath and sauna combination if it’s available.
My morning ritual is a fresh percolator coffee on the stove. I love the process of making a coffee with this method, then a gentle active stretch and, if I have time, Sudoku. I take a probiotic, good multivitamin and milk thistle (for the liver) every morning after my coffee.
My evening rituals revolve around cooking and spending time with my beautiful other half Lucy, followed by some sort of passive stretch before bed if I’m feeling like a really good boy.
I travel a lot, and luckily I’ve got the most incredible bunch of mates scattered around the world. I love and cherish each and every one of them and they help me stay both grounded and connected. I think it’s the wonderful time I spend with each of those inspiring human beings that keeps my feet happy and firmly on the ground.
I’m a mental health advocate for the nonprofit CALM: Campaign Against Living Miserably. I just want to help smash the stigma that a bloke has to keep his mouth shut and bottle up feelings and emotions. It’s an old, stagnant mentality leftover from a bygone era. We must try and talk. I’m lucky I have such an incredible bunch of people around me that are very open-minded, we can talk about anything to each other. I think that’s the secret for me.
When I’m feeling stressed, I stop what I’m doing and focus on my breath. I ask myself why I feel stressed, and what I’m grateful for – or I head straight for the ocean.
I feel my highest self when I’m surfing a big left barrel somewhere hot.