love surfing

love surfing

Do you check the surf cams multiple times a day? Blow off family occasions when a new swell fills in? Sneak glances at the waves over your honey’s shoulder during candlelit dinners at beachfront restaurants? Then you may be addicted to surfing.

Behavioural psychotherapist Dr. Gary Stollman says there are ten key signs of having an addiction.

If you recognise yourself in a majority of these, then it’s time to seek – I was going to say “help," but then, it’s not a really a bad addiction, is it...?

1. You Can't Resist Getting A Quick Surf In

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Oahu, Hawaii

What Dr. Gary Says: "Recurrent failure to resist impulses."

You planned to do something else today. Maybe mow the lawn, call your mother, or read more than a few pages of that book that’s been lying around for ages. But your mate texted that your favourite peak is going off. Quick as that, your surfboard is in the car and you’re out the door.

Or you’re driving home from work on a long summer day, with soggy gear still moldering in the back from dawn patrol. You can’t help making a little detour to see if evening glass off is more than a myth. Since you’re there anyway, you might as well paddle out to catch a few more waves. The pull of the sea is irresistible.

2. It's Always 'Just One More Wave'

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Frequently engaging in those behaviours to a greater extent or over a longer period of time than intended."

Just one more good wave, you’re thinking. But you should’ve left for work ten minutes ago, you don’t want to do the paddle of shame from the lineup to the beach, or end your session on a wipeout.

So here you sit, with the clock ticking, waiting for that last fun ride to put a little stoke in your step before you start the daily grind.

By the time you finally hit the road, the traffic is backed up, and you’re late for work, again. When it comes to surfing, too much is never enough, and too little is never enough.

3. You Don't Do Any Other Exercise Apart From Surfing

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop, reduce or control those behaviours."

It’s been a really long time since you’ve done any exercise besides surfing. You’ve silently pledged to restart yoga/swimming/running/biking, but like many resolutions, that hasn’t quite worked out.

It started well on Monday when the surf was small and junky and you made it to the gym. Then the swell picked up for the rest of the week, and well, you just had to surf all those other days, because who knows if next week will be any good?

There will be plenty of time for non-surf exercise on the blown out and flat days, whenever they might come around again.

4. All Your Spare Time Is Spent Surfing...

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Inordinate amount of time spent in obtaining the object of addiction and/or engaging in or recovering from the behaviour."

Being a landlocked surfer has to be one of the circles of hell. But, if you get up early and drive for four hours, you can surf for three before you have to drive home in time for dinner with the family.

So what if you’re too tired at the end of the day to do anything more than hold down the couch after supper? Your life has been consumed by chasing pleasure on the waves.

5. ... Or Thinking About Surfing

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magic seaweed secret web work

What Dr. Gary Says: "Preoccupation with the behaviour or preparatory activities."

Check the surf cams much? Sitting at your desk at work, hitting refresh every few minutes? Bring up that tide chart again to check if the water level is too high or too low?

Your car is already packed with gear and board you waxed the night before. The second that clock hits five, you bolt out the door to whichever spot looks best on screen at the moment. Because obviously when you’re not surfing, you’re thinking about surfing.

6. Surfing Is Way More Important Than Chores

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Frequently engaging in behaviour when expected to fulfil occupational, academic, domestic or social obligations."

You know you should study for that test. The laundry is piling up, and so are the dirty dishes. You promised your spouse that you’d wash the cars today. But damn, the waves on the local surf cam look mighty fine!

Oh, and too bad another romantic beach walk has been spoiled, when your special someone caught you mind-surfing the waves instead of gazing into their eyes. Everyone around you should know by now that surfing is priority number one.

7. You End Up Neglecting Work/Spouse In Favour Of Surfing

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Continuation of the behaviour despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent social, academic, financial, psychological or physical problem that is caused or exacerbated by the behaviour."

Your spouse is feeling neglected, and complains that it’s been ages since you’ve taken a vacation that didn’t involving surfing.

Your boss thinks you’re a slacker, and you feel eyes boring into the back of your salty, sandy head each time you slink to your desk a bit later than your non-surfing coworkers.

Every spare cent goes to surf gear, trips and magazines. That niggling shoulder injury isn’t getting any better, since you won’t give it a rest from paddling. Still, you surf each and every chance you get.

8. You're Always Chasing Bigger, Better Waves

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Need to increase the intensity, frequency, number or risk of behaviours to achieve the desired effect, or diminished effect with continued behaviours at the same level of intensity, frequency, number or risk."

It’s just not the same anymore. You grinned from ear to ear the first time you stood up on a big foam longboard and somehow managed not to fall off as a tiny wave pushed it to the sand. But now that seems so lame.

While whitewater used to be enough, now the surf has to be at least head-high with decent form. These days, it takes more and more to get you smiling - bigger waves, bolder manoeuvres – but you keep on chasing the stoke.

9. "Sorry Guys, I'm... Errr... Busy" Is A Regular Line

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Giving up or limiting social, occupational or recreational activities because of the behaviour."

Your friends asked you to join them on an early morning bike ride this weekend, but you were non-committal. The forecast shows there might be a swell coming in, and you would have to get out to the lineup early to beat the crowds and the wind.

Last week, you turned down a promotion because it came with more responsibility and a start time of 7am, and you just couldn’t give up those early morning dawn patrols. Surfing is at the centre of your universe, and the rest of your life revolves around it.

10. You Get Irritable When There's No Waves

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What Dr. Gary Says: "Resorting to distress, anxiety, restlessness or violence if unable to engage in the behaviour at times."

It’s been flat for weeks, or at least it feels like weeks. You snapped at your best friend this morning, and blamed it on not having finished your coffee. But that’s not it, is it? You haven’t surfed in far too long, and you’re itching to ride a wave.

Life’s not so good without that water time. You’re constantly irritable, and eating and drinking more than you should to try to fill a void. Surfing is your drug, and you need a fix, you salty addict.

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