Practical Tips For Overcoming Fear in Surfing

Surfing can be a thrilling and rewarding experience, but it can also be a source of fear and anxiety for many surfers. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, dealing with fear in the water is an essential skill that can help you enjoy the sport and stay safe. In this article, we’ll explore some practical tips for dealing with fear in the water and staying calm, so you can surf with confidence and ease.


Understanding Fear in the Water

Before we can effectively deal with fear in the water, it’s important to understand the different types of fear that surfers may experience and how fear can affect our performance.

Types of Fear in Surfing

  • Fear of Injury or Harm
  • Fear of Failure or Embarrassment
  • Fear of the Unknown or Unpredictable
  • Fear of Social Pressure or Expectations

How Fear Affects Performance

  • Muscle Tension and Impaired Coordination
  • Reduced Decision-Making and Risk-Taking
  • Increased Heart Rate and Respiration
  • Narrowed Attention and Perception

Tips for Dealing with Fear in the Water

There are many strategies for dealing with fear in the water, and different approaches may work better for different surfers. Here are some practical tips to consider:

Preparation and Training

  • Learn and Practice Proper Techniques and Safety Protocols
  • Build Physical and Mental Endurance and Strength
  • Get Familiar with the Surf Spot and Conditions

Visualization and Positive Thinking

  • Imagine Yourself Successfully Surfing and Overcoming Fear
  • Use Affirmations and Positive Self-Talk
  • Focus on Your Goals and Reasons for Surfing

Relaxation and Breathing Techniques

  • Use Progressive Muscle Relaxation or Yoga
  • Practice Deep Breathing or Box Breathing
  • Use Visualization to Calm Your Mind and Body

Exposure Therapy and Desensitization

  • Gradually Expose Yourself to Increasing Levels of Fear
  • Challenge Your Negative Thoughts and Beliefs
  • Celebrate Small Successes and Progress

Seeking Support and Encouragement

  • Surf with a Buddy or Group
  • Join a Surfing Community or Support Group
  • Get Feedback and Guidance from an Instructor

Building Resilience and a Positive Mindset

  • Embrace Failure as a Learning Opportunity
  • Cultivate a Growth Mindset and Positive Attitude
  • Find Joy and Gratitude in the Experience of Surfing

Staying Calm in the Water

Staying calm in the water can help you manage fear and stay focused on surfing. Here are some techniques to try:

Focusing on the Present Moment

  • Tune into Your Senses and Environment
  • Avoid Future or Past Thinking
  • Practice Mindful Breathing and Awareness

Using Mental and Physical Anchors

  • Visualize a Calm or Safe Place
  • Use a Physical Object or Ritual to Ground Yourself
  • Focus on Your Breath or a Mantra

Using Positive Self-Talk

  • Use Encouraging and Supportive Language
  • Avoid Negative or Self-Critical Thoughts
  • Focus on What You Can Control and Do

Practicing Mindfulness and Meditation

  • Use Guided Meditation or Mindfulness Exercises
  • Cultivate Awareness and Non-Judgment
  • Accept and Release Thoughts and Emotions

Safety Tips for Surfing with Fear

While fear in the water is a normal and understandable response, it’s important to stay safe and aware of your limits and conditions. Here are some safety tips to keep in mind:

Know Your Limits and Conditions

  • Assess Your Surfing Ability and Experience
  • Check the Weather, Tide, and Wave Conditions
  • Avoid Surfing Alone or in Dangerous Spots

Surf with a Buddy or Instructor

  • Find a Surfing Partner or Group
  • Hire an Instructor or Guide for Feedback and Support
  • Communicate Clearly and Regularly with Your Partner or Instructor

Use Proper Gear and Equipment

  • Wear a Wetsuit, Leash, and Other Safety Gear
  • Check Your Board and Equipment for Damage or Wear
  • Be Prepared for Emergency Situations

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

  • Keep an Eye on Other Surfers and Swimmers
  • Respect Wildlife and the Environment
  • Follow Local Laws and Regulations


Dealing with fear in the water can be a challenging but rewarding process that can help you become a more confident and resilient surfer. By understanding the different types of fear, building practical skills and strategies, and staying safe and calm in the water, you can enjoy the thrill and beauty of surfing while managing fear and anxiety. Remember to be patient, persistent, and kind to yourself, and seek support and guidance when needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is it normal to feel fear while surfing?

A. Yes, it’s completely normal to feel fear while surfing, especially if you’re a beginner or if the conditions are challenging or unfamiliar. Fear can be a natural response to the perceived risks and uncertainties of surfing, and it can also be influenced by past experiences, beliefs, and emotions. However, with practice and patience, you can learn to manage and overcome your fear while still enjoying the thrill and beauty of surfing.

Q2. What are some common types of fear in surfing?

A. Some common types of fear in surfing include fear of drowning, fear of injury or physical harm, fear of sharks or other wildlife, fear of social or performance pressure, fear of failure or embarrassment, and fear of the unknown or unexpected. These fears can be influenced by different factors such as personal history, culture, media, and peer pressure.

Q3. How can I prepare for surfing and reduce my fear?

A. There are several ways to prepare for surfing and reduce your fear, including practicing swimming and breath control, building physical and mental strength and endurance, seeking guidance and feedback from experienced surfers or instructors, studying surf forecasts and conditions, using visualization and positive self-talk, and practicing relaxation and mindfulness techniques.

Q4. What should I do if I experience fear or panic while surfing?

A. If you experience fear or panic while surfing, it’s important to stay calm and focused, avoid impulsive or risky actions, and seek help or support from a partner or lifeguard if necessary. Some helpful strategies include taking deep breaths, focusing on a specific point or task, using positive self-talk, and using mindfulness or relaxation techniques. It’s also important to reflect on your experience and seek professional help or advice if needed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *