3 unexpected benefits of learning to foil surf

3 unexpected benefits of learning to foil surf

If you’re lucky enough to have experienced the thrill of hydrofoiling then you’ve likely got a good idea of what it’s like to skim across the ocean like a bird.

But cruising like a sea bird is just one of the many benefits. Since buying Stonker boards in May 2022, I’ve been “hard at it” learning to wing, prone, SUP & wake foil. It’s a lot to take on in addition to learning to kiteboard but so much fun.

Owner of Stonker in Torquay, Ben Hucker, learning how to foil.

Here’s three side benefits that’ve popped up unexpectedly on the journey to learning how to walk again.

1. More mental clarity owing to improved physical strength and fitness

Watching all the wild YouTube videos of ‘influencer’ prone (surf) foilers gives the impression the sport is a cakewalk.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The power, strength and balance required to pop up successfully on a small cork balancing on a basketball in the ocean is no mean feat. That means you have to be physically fit and strong with the balance of a small toddler.

More strength and fitness has meant more energy and better mental clarity for other pursuits like growing Stonker’s online presence.

2. Learning the value of perseverance and patience in the real world

With AI this and AI that, it is getting harder and harder to distinguish between the digital world (or metaverse) and the physical world.

Thankfully, learning to foil in the big bad ocean brings me right back to the present moment in a tangible, more kinetic sense. Not only is hitting the water in winter like splashing your face with razor blades, the threat of something lurking beneath has you thinking about nothing other than getting back on your board after you’ve fallen off. And the continuous falls teach you to get back up and try again - patience Daniel son.

The alternative is to give up and squander and lose your cool, but it’s not an option when you’re 300 metres from shore and drifting downwind.

3. Realising the importance of a growth mindset

Psychologists like to divide people into the raw categories of a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Those with a growth mindset tend to be more open to learning new things and discovering new talents. Those with a fixed mindset tend to do the opposite and stay firmly in the comfort zone (nothing wrong with that, in fact, I envy you at times). When learning a new skill like surf foil, there is no option but to have a growth mindset and a belief you can conquer a new and difficult skill.

It’s hard to think of many downsides to having a growth mindset, apart from the nagging feeling of discontent.

Making it count on and off the water

The beauty of learning a new skill on water or land is being able to savour your own journey.

Some skills come naturally to people while others can take a month of Sunday’s to learn how to pop up on a hydrofoil board and cruise down the face of a wave. The point is, you can take as long as you damn well want. Just enjoy the journey.

If you’re learning a new skill this year that doesn’t involve the use of a digital device then comment below :)

1 comment

  • Murray Ceff

    I’m with you all the way Ben! I’ve been learning to kite foil in the croc infested waters (not really) of Cairns over the last 12 months. Damn, it’s hard. And the incentive to keep riding up here is high. While I’ve been in the water, boths crocs and sharks have been spotted! I confess that I have never seen them, so I don’t really think they are there. At 65 years of age, learning a new skill like this is darned hard work. My Occupational Therapist daughter is full of encouragement. Apparently, it’s good for my brain! Coming back to Victoria late 2023, I confess that I am seriously thinking about prone foiling. How hard can it be? Hahaha! We’ll see!

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