Can Surfing Help With Depression?

Depression can be a crippling disease that drives people indoors, away from their friends and family, and is utterly painful to live with. Often, the first solution many people are given is medication. However, getting outdoors, interacting with the world, and enjoying the sunshine can be beneficial to individuals who suffer from depression. Here are three ways that surfing can cure depression:


Exercise is beneficial for mental health, and physical health, overall. When you are surfing, you are not only standing on a board and letting the waves do all the work. Instead, you’re swimming, balancing, and using many muscle groups. As a result, your body is releasing endorphins which improve your mood and can calm worry as they also act as a sedative. 


While any exercise can be beneficial to mental health, a 2015 study showed that being outdoors in nature, rather than in a gym or jogging in a crowded city, is particularly useful. Specifically, people who were in nature had “decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with a key factor in depression” When you are surfing you are away from the noise and crowds of the city, fully immersed in the ocean, and able to experience the outdoors – and hopefully also have the same results as the people in the 2015 study.


To surf well, you must be paying attention to your entire body and your surroundings. You cannot balance effectively if you are distracted, nor will you catch a wave if you are not paying attention to the ocean. As a result, your brain will be entirely focused on the activity, the sunshine, and the feel of the water – not worries. By living in the moment, you can focus your brain on living, giving you a chance to feel the cloud of depression lifted as you enjoy surfing.