How Surfing Makes You Smarter

We’ve all seen the movies where beach bums skip­ping class for a surf ses­sion are depict­ed as bad stu­dents, or just down­right dumb. But don’t believe what you see on the screen. Surf­ing actu­al­ly offers hard­core intel­lec­tu­al stim­u­la­tion on many lev­els. Those teen flick slack­ers aren’t fools—they just know there’s no bet­ter class­room than Moth­er Nature.

Plan­ning Skills
Any­one who’s bal­anced work, fam­i­ly, and oth­er respon­si­bil­i­ties with surf time knows it takes major orga­ni­za­tion­al capa­bil­i­ties. Sync­ing your sched­ule with the best waves, often get­ting up very ear­ly, is a total exer­cise in dili­gence and focus. So next time there’s an event to sched­ule, call on the surfer in your life. They’re great at fig­ur­ing out the details—and will prob­a­bly have things wrapped up in time to catch a few waves.

Math and Science
Surfers have hands-on expe­ri­ence with sci­en­tif­ic con­cepts non-board­ers learn from books. If you want to know how the world works, get out and dive into the rhythms of nature. Whether mak­ing cal­cu­la­tions based on tide tables and sun­rise times or becom­ing accus­tomed to the physics of how waves are formed, surfers get many oppor­tu­ni­ties to explore the world around them. Surfers also become ama­teur nat­u­ral­ists when tak­ing in the scene around them, as obser­va­tion of ani­mals and weath­er pat­terns are part of any good session.

Coor­di­na­tion and Spa­tial Awareness
There is so much to pay atten­tion to when you pad­dle out. From the size and cur­va­ture of the waves them­selves to the wildlife around you to the fel­low surfers shar­ing your space, you have to be aware at all times. Learn­ing to maneu­ver your own body is one of the most over­looked forms of intel­li­gence, but it’s huge­ly impor­tant nonethe­less. So if you’d rather hop on your board than bury your nose in a book, nev­er fear, you’re still build­ing plen­ty of smarts.

surfing smart

The Brain Boost of Get­ting Outside
Time spent away from screens helps clear minds weighed down with excess stim­u­la­tion. Spend­ing even 20 min­utes out in nature reaps rewards. That nature break gives your brain a moment to reset. And only when you allow that peri­od of rest can you add more facts and fig­ures to an already overex­tend­ed mem­o­ry. So next time you’re feel­ing a lit­tle unfo­cused and out of sorts, do the smart thing and head for the coast.

The Men­tal Ben­e­fits of Exercise
You knew that exer­cise helps strength­en the rest of your body, but did you real­ize your brain needs phys­i­cal activ­i­ty as much as the rest of you does? When you get mov­ing, blood flow increas­es to your brain and improves your mem­o­ry. You even help your brain to grow new neu­ronal connections.

Now know­ing how much surf­ing hones your smarts, you’ll nev­er skip a sun­rise ses­sion again!