surfing makes happy - surfer girl

Surfing makes happy! We all know the smile on our face after a nice wave and the long lasting buzz after an amazing surf session – but what is the reason for this? We find out and present you directly our Happy Faces from the October surf lessons at FreshSurf!

Table of Contents

What makes happy?

Scientists have long been working on finding out what makes us happy. And even though there are various ideas of happiness, they were able to agree on five factors that make us happy. This is how the PERMA-model was created, which names the various influences that make us happy:

  • P Positive Emotions
  • E Engagement – possibility to use your strengths and live your interests
  • R Relations to other people       
  • M Meaning
  • A Achievement – Reaching and realizing your goals

It is a combination of various factors that influence our happiness. And many of them can actually be activated when surfing!

Surfing releases positive emotions: the first time you experienced the power of a wave lying on your board, the first time you managed to stand up or the first time you realized how you can turn and control the board. And the best thing: Every surfed wave more, every successful turn has just the same impact!

And just like that surfing will become your new hobby, you get more and more involved with the subject and you can let your interests run wild.

Additionally, you get to know many new people in the surf community, during your surf trip or whilst staying in a surf camp. You can get out of your comfort zone and your usual bubble and open yourself to new influences. You will meet like-minded people, can exchange ideas with them and enjoy small and big progress and successes together.

In surfing you have the possibility to keep improving your abilities, reach your goals and let your dreams come true. Maybe you finally manage to surf this certain maneuver? Or ride a green wave for what will feel like an eternity? Surf at this one beautiful spot? Simply the anticipation to reach these goals can feel great!

“surfing is simply the most fun I know

how to have in this planet!”

Antony Garrett
happy_faces_blog chico

Surfing makes happy – the thing about happiness hormones

The feeling of happiness relies on different hormones. The so-called happiness hormones include dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and adrenalin or noradrenalin. These neurotransmitters evoke feelings of happiness because they have a relaxing, stimulating or even pain-relieving effect on our nervous system.

Dopamine strengthens your motivation and activates the reward system in the brain. It is released when you reach a goal you have set for yourself.

Serotonin is considered to be a feel-good hormone. It improves your mood and reduces feeling of fear or anxiety. It is activated by sunlight and daylight.

Dopamin and serotonin are opponents: while the dopamine level decreases slowly after reaching a goal, the level of serotonin rises. It influences your mood, your appetite but also your sensitivity to pain.

Endorphins on the other side reduce your pain perception – they are your body’s own anasthetic – and the make it possible for you to go beyond your limits. And who doesn’t know that situation – actually you are too tired already from paddling but this last wave was way to good to stop now!

And last but not least, adrenalin and noradrenalin cause short-time positive stress which increases concentration, willingness to perform and motivation.

“Surfing is the most blissful experience you can have on this planet, a taste of heaven”

John McCarthy
happy surfer kid
surfer and waves

Why makes surfing happy?

Surfing makes us happy because it awakes happiness hormones and checks many points of the PERMA-model. You are moving outside and simply by doing so activate the production of dopamine and serotonin. And with the first muscle ache endorphins are released, too. And one or the other wave probably evokes the adrenaline.

When surfing you are in the moment and completely switch off your thoughts. All your everyday worries and thoughts stay at the beach because in the line-up you have to concentrate on the waves and the other people around you. You simply don’t have the time to think about anything else.

Through surfing you become part of a community – the small talk in the water or at the beach, the shared joy about a beautiful wave or the party wave with your surf buddy. You get to know many new people who share your hobby, understand your interests and with whom you will make a lot of memories.

And just like Matt Warshaw said: you go surfing to have fun. In surfing there are only few people who strive for faster, higher, further.

“Surfing, […] generates laughter at its very suggestion, it turns […] an inexplicable and useless urge into a vital way of life.”

Matt Warshaw

Surfing makes happy – Happy Faces in our october surf classes

“surfing makes me happy,
so that’s just what I plan on doing”

Alana Blanchard