“Surfing teaches you about life…..” by Rachel Ratcliffe.


Have you ever seen a person so caught up in the moment of pure bliss?

That’s a woman on a wave.

There they are cascading down the white waves – focussed, determined and smiling from ear to ear and hooting themselves. It doesn’t matter what they do for a job (or even if they have one); if they have babies; are married; divorced; live with their folks; have no kids; are 50 and still not sure why they were put on this earth!

Women are experiencing this newfound freedom of surfing. It’s shaping them and changing them, as if they are born again.

When you watch them, you realize that you were just shown why women in some places are out-surfing the guys. It is hard not to get caught up with the hub of what surfing has done for many women.

The stress and the strain which people are climbing into, needs a window to escape, an opening that can bring a refreshing way to cope with life’s crazy demands. Most of us journey down lanes of yoga and Pilates, mediation, coffee with the girls or praying and giving thanks to God. Surfing seems to encompass all these things we seek. The energy from the waves is enough evidence for some people to get a sense of something very spiritual about the ocean.

It is hard to deny the power and joy of a splash in the rejuvenating ocean. It is a workout, an all-over body workout.  It is a release, a time to reflect, to ponder, but mostly time to rip up the waves with some gals. It’s fun, energizing and downright good old nose-snorting, giggling fun.

For a few hours a week there is no one else, or anything else in the world that matters, well except one…when is the next set coming???

I heard a women once say, as she was getting changed out of her wetsuit in the car park, “surfing saved my life”. “Wow”, I thought. How four little words could change your pathway from destruction and despair, towards a positive direction. You can breathe with a sigh of relief and say “I’m going to be OK”.

I can understand what she was saying. I also have been in that position and it’s not at all surprising how many other people know that feeling too. Many people have taken their healing from the ocean with absolute sincerity and have drawn out a new purpose and direction for their once tragic existence.

Surfing and life draw many parallels. Surfing teaches you about life, not life shows you how to surf. You learn determination, persistence, how to laugh at yourself and others, patience with yourself and the elements and other people, respect, tolerance and mostly you get to learn about you. What it is that you sometimes fear to show? Who really are you when you are stripped away from your daily duties?

Everything changes as soon as you wake up and prepare to go down to the ocean shore. Layers of the weeks and months are peeled back. You set your mind to yourself, no other role. Finally you are back to basically, being you.

Going for a surf is pure freedom, from chores, deadlines, kids, work and any kind of demanding responsibilities. You are totally, absolutely, living in the moment. Your moment.

Ahhhhhhh, anyone up for a wave???

Have your own say – leave a message in the comments box below…….

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7 thoughts on “Rachel

  1. inspiring rach however on a shallower, flipside, surfing has ruined my life, it’s all i wanna do now to the exclusion of everything else. i’ve been destroyed!!!

  2. How beautiful! Rach, you are truly an amazing, beautiful, and inspiring woman. Can’t wait to get on a board with you again.
    xoxo Rhona

  3. Wow, what a fantastic summary of surfing. I wasn’t going to go surfing tomorrow because of a new baby.. All too hard!! But I’m coming now after reading this story! Thanks Rachel!

  4. Last week on Thurs I was all ready and keen to go surfing, just had to do the school run..The van wouldn’t start..flat battery. I was quite vocal with my disappointment and my 7yr old sitting in the back seat told me, ‘I’m really upset Mum because you care more about missing surfing than ME being late on my first day back at school.’ Whoops

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