Forget what you’ve seen from popular surf movies like Chasing Mavericks, with the dopey-eyed dudes and incomprehensible slang. There’s so much more to surf culture than what we see in the media. In fact, after I spent a year living and tanning in Byron Bay, Australia, I couldn’t imagine life without the barefoot beauties carrying surfboards across the center of town — there’s so much more to them than their physical appearance. Some of the cliches about surfers are true: they're warm and friendly, easy-going and constantly beaming.
My boyfriend is a born and bred Aussie, and he’s been surfing since before he could drive a car. His love for the sport has affected our relationship in more ways than I ever imagined, and it's never come between us in a negative way. The Huffington Post recently published a piece called "15 Reasons Why You Should Never Date A Surfer," and I can't lie — it broke my heart a little bit. I found that my relationship wasn't anything like they painted it. (My boyfriend is taken seriously by my family, thanks very much.) So I'm here to give surfers, including my SO, a little redemption, because they really are a fun-loving group of folks who you can't help but fall in love with.
These are the seven reasons you should snag a surfer immediately.
1. They Really Are Happy
You might picture surfers as adrenaline junkies who take risks and grin widely for no apparent reason. Well, there is science that proves that happiness comes from a chemical cocktail created by the charged ions that exist in the crashing waves. The turbulence of the ocean changes the physical structure of both air and water, breaking apart the molecules to release charged ions into the atmosphere.
Scientists say that this gift of negative ions triggers the body to release immense amounts of endorphins and serotonin — you know, the hormones that make you happy. It also gets oxygen and blood flowing through your whole system. Ryan Pittsinger, a researcher behind a study on 107 different surfers in California, says the majority of surfers report feeling more calm after they exit the water. This mood stays with them for a while, and you’re left with someone who's eternally stoked.
2. They Love Being Outside
I’ve yet to meet a surfer who's a homebody. They’re usually vibrant people who enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities, which means you’ve got lots of opportunities to be out and about. By now, you know how important it is to spend time in nature; it helps your brain reset and brings you even the briefest moment of peace that lasts throughout the day. Why not date somebody who’s going to help you get off the couch?
Studies show that the same negatively charged ions that produce the “surf stoke” also exist around mountains, waterfalls, and thunderstorms, particularly during the spring and summer seasons. The two of you can do some great hikes together, leaving you both refreshed and beaming.
3. You Can Live The Beach Life
You could benefit from those negatively charged ions too if you follow your sweetheart to the shore. Since we're both early risers, one of my favorite things to do with my partner is accompany him to the beach at sunrise to “check the surf,” as he calls it. There’s nothing more peaceful — or romantic — than standing in front of the powerful waves in silence, next to someone you adore.
Furthermore, you have an excuse to go bask under the sun any and every day. Your surfer beau isn’t going to stay inside when the weather is beautiful; you might as well accompany them and enjoy yourself. Even if you do end up taking a little stroll by yourself or doing some yoga under the shade while they’re on the water, you can still snuggle up on a towel afterwards and soak in the surroundings.
4. You Travel More Often
Surfers are always on the hunt for a new spot to catch some waves, and that means you can have a little bag tucked away at all times so that you’re ready for an impromptu getaway. While they’re Googling the tides in Sri Lanka, you can research the weather patterns to decide on which shorts to pack.
Sure, surfers like to go on trips with their best surfer friends, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to take their girlfriend for the ride. I’ve found that crowd to be a friendly, easy-going group of folks; so if your partner wants to take you overseas, don’t hesitate. Ask your boss how much vacation time you’ve got waiting around.
5. They’re Independent
The following has been said more than once: If you date a surfer, you’ll always come second. I understand the pain behind that statement, in a sense; however, I love the fact the passion that surfers have for their sport, even if I have no urge to try my hand at it. They’ve been doing it for years, and they are sure of their priorities. I would take that any day over a partner who wants to follow me around and watch me run my boring errands.
This leaves time and space for you to build up the things you love most, whether it’s playing soccer or volunteering at a local orphanage. Independence is crucial in healthy relationships because it fosters boundaries and ensures you each have your own individuality.
6. They Know How To Pick Themselves Back Up
If you ever watch young kids who are learning to surf, you’ll see how they have to develop a determination at a very early age. The ocean is an entity that doles out no mercy on anyone, no matter how adorable they are, forcing surfers to get accustomed to falling down again and again. Their only option is to dust themselves off and try again (yes, that was intentional).
Some mistake that willpower for obsession, but I find it to be pretty hot. Writing in defense of surfers and skateboarders for Thought Catalog, Richard Nash wrote that these people “work on the same trick, the same air, the same micro-movements of musculature until we get it to go just right.” That commitment to success can only be a positive influence on your relationship.
7. They Smell So, So Good
OK, maybe this one is a personal preference, but I love the smell of the ocean — the crashing waves, the sweet salt, the sand. It’s totally intoxicating. Well, that magical concoction of scents lives, pretty much full time, on the skin of surfers. Their smells constantly possess an earthy quality, the kind that reminds you of what it was like as a kid splashing around in the waves.
Plus, because they’re in salt water for so many hours a day, they simply can’t afford to skip showers, so you get a mixture of salty sweet and fresh soap. You laugh, but the odor of your partner is a very relevant thing: In 1995, a study was conducted to see how women respond to their SO's smell that was different from their own. It didn't take long to find out that smell and pheromones play a big role in the mating process; no matter how much we see ads for deodorant and cologne, you can't deny our biological responses to the natural scents that come from our partners.
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