People who don’t surf will often look at a surfer’s lifestyle and scratch their heads. The idea of devoting one’s life to finding (and riding) that fabled perfect wave seems a bit juvenile (if not completely obsessive) to some. It’s no secret that surfers march to a different drum, with salt-bleached hair, a perma-grin from endless stoke, and an attitude that is perhaps a little less high strung than if they were not completely in love with the ocean and the waves she brings with her from far away.
But the Spicolli-Airhead stereotype of a surfer is wrong. In fact, I’m willing to argue that surfing actually improves one’s intelligence. And I’m not talking about book-smarts here. I speak of the well-rounded life bank that we all seek to fill – one that makes someone stand out in the field as a respected member of society and contributor to the benefit of all humankind. Is that ambitious? I don’t think so. I think it’s in all of us to contribute to humanity. My argument is that surfing gets people on that track much more efficiently than, say, getting a college degree.