7 Great Reasons to Teach Your Children to Surf

Every parent faces a million choices when bringing up a child. It’s hard to always make the right one. However, teaching children to surf is always a positive choice. It’s not important whether they actually become any good at it. It’s by-products from the teaching process itself that are key.

Surfing is one of the most important parts of our family life. In fact, without surfing our family probably wouldn’t exist. My wife is from Siargao Island: the surf capital of the Philippines. I visited Siargao and met her as a result of my search for the perfect wave. After our wedding in 2003, we waited seven years to have our first child: Rafael. As a very young child, Rafael absolutely loved the ocean and seemed fearless. But as he grew he began to worry about jellyfish, sharks and waves. With gentle encouragement, we asked Raf to try surfing at four years old and he agreed. We took turns to push him into ripples at a beginners spot close to our island home. Now we’re a family who surf together. Raf loves it. We all love it!

We think there are seven great reasons why you should follow in our footsteps and teach your children to surf too. Read through them and consider what’s stopping you from driving to the beach today.

1. It teaches them resilience

In a world of instant gratification, surfing is a brilliant antidote. I watched my son at 5 years old pick up an iPad and instantly get pleasure from a game about dinosaurs. Within a day, he had mastered it. After a week, he was over it. Not so with surfing; Raf loves the challenge of every session in a constantly changing playing field of waves.

It takes time to get good at the surfing, which teaches kids resilience and hard work. As they get better, the rewards increase. Riding bigger, longer and better waves make it even more fun.

Resilience is a life skill that will help a child in many ways for their future life. And, if they stick with surfing, they can still improve into their 50’s. Getting good takes forever!

2. It brings them joy

The primary goal of most parents is for their children to be happy and healthy. Playing around in the ocean brings a smile to the face of every child who tries it.

3. It makes them safer in the sea

Surfing teaches children all about the ocean. They quickly learn all about rip tides, offshore winds, currents, waves and more. As they progress, they become more confident swimmers and comfortable in waves that could drown another child.

4. It gets them outdoors

Promoting childhood unplugged is a goal of many parents these days, as they push back against TV, social media and computer game addiction.

Surfing gets kids out of the house and into the elements in a battle with nature. Modern wetsuits enable surfing in the most extreme conditions: snow, wind, hail, rain. And it inspires family travel to great surf zones across the world where children can learn about unique foreign cultures.

5. It gives you something great to do together

Surfing has been an incredible activity for my son and I to do together. I love sharing time with him in the ocean and pushing him into bigger and bigger waves. He loves gliding along smooth faces and laughing his head off between the waves.

Children grow up so quickly and you never get the chance to relive their childhood years again. With surfing you spend hours and hours together in the great outdoors and, at the same time, create memories that last forever.

6. It gets them fit

Child obesity is an epidemic in the western world. Sedentary activities like watching TV, texting friends, taking the car to school and playing video games all take their toll on children’s bodies.

In order to surf, children run to the shoreline, paddle around trying to catch waves, jump to their feet, fall off and get back on their boards and have fun at the same time. It’s the perfect way to promote childhood fitness and children don’t even know they’re keeping trim doing it.

7. It makes them environmentally aware

A child’s world greatly expands when they begin to surf. They begin to ask questions about the sea’s colour or smell. When they see trash on the beach or in the sea, they realise how important it is to care about environmental issues. If they don’t clean up after themselves, they know they’ll be surfing alongside their own trash. They develop an immediate personal and collective responsibility towards the environment.

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