by Laurel Axen Carroll, M.S, L.Ac

What a difference a little surf makes

[pl_blockquote cite=”Urban Dictionary”] “Stoked” [stohkt] – adj.– to be “stoked” is to be completely and intensely enthusiastic, exhilarated, or excited about something.[/pl_blockquote]

As I sit on the beach writing this, I am watching a dozen or so kids riding waves to the shoreline. Even though the sun is bright and their faces are backlit I can still see their smiles radiating from ear to ear. I can still feel their stoke and likewise I am stoked for them.

This to me is the beauty of surfing. Anyone of any age or gender can enjoy his or her own personal connection with the ocean. As a surfer and all around ocean aficionado I can get stoked when other people catch waves too.

Riding waves is a truly magical experience. Any surfer can attest to this fact and many spend years searching the world’s seven oceans for the perfect wave. There are many levels to surfing but anyway you slice it riding waves is incredible.


Riding waves is great exercise

Surfing is an amazing total body workout. You need a strong upper body to power through the surf as well as to paddle into waves. You need a strong core to pop up onto your feet and strong legs to turn the board where you want it to go…down the line.

Boogie boarding rocks too. Boogie boarding may seem like child’s play but what the heck-kids can make fun out of everything! Also, the learning curve is very tame and there are fewer risks of injury than surfing. Did I mention the firm gluts? Kicking the foam board into waves requires a strong core and powerful legs. All you need is a $50 boogie board and you are set for life. Add fins for extra powerful kicks and then you really have a great set-up for a fun-filled summer.

Body surfing: a classic. Body surfing is an amazing full body workout that is totally free and guaranteed to induce laughter. Major risks include loss of bikini tops and bottoms.


Riding waves reduces stress

Surfing, boogie boarding and body surfing can definitely reduce stress. Some argue that the pounding waves generate negative ions. These negative Ions are found in abundance in such naturally pleasant places as waterfalls, the seashore and rainstorms. They are created by the action of water hitting the land. Negative ions are simply water molecules that break apart and take on a negative electrical charge. They promote good health as evidenced by the good feelings people have around such natural bodies of water.


Riding waves makes one more connected to nature

Sometimes the best part of my surf session is witnessing the majesty of nature itself. I remember many a surf session where I can see the pelicans soaring by, little fish jumping over my board, the changing light on the horizon, the rising sun over the ocean…getting to your feet a riding a wave through the ever changing scenery is an additional perk.

Riding waves can be social

It is a nice feeling to get stoked watching other people ride waves. If there is a nice crowd then riding waves together can be an amazing, communal experience.


If you are interested in learning how to surf on a surfboard I recommend taking a class. Classes are usually taught on foam boards, which is a safe way to get started riding waves. You will also have the opportunity to learn about surfing etiquette, which is an important element for both safety and respect.

There are many surf schools along the east coast.

For Rockaway Beach try Steve Stathis at Boarders

Locals Surf School: check in with Mike at

For Long Beach, Long Island check out:

Or Unsound Surf:

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