We are dependent, completely at the mercy of far off storm tracks and meteorological events. And even when the gods play heroes and send surf our way we have the daily rat race to contend with. In no uncertain terms, we simply cannot bodysurf all the time. How can we maintain emotional stability? How can we improve our next session without being in the water? The case for daydreaming.
Research has shown that there are many benefits to visualizing yourself doing something you want to become better at. In several studies, researchers compare the results of people who perform physical practice, mental practice and a combination of both. A statistically significant benefit is produced by the mental practice. Science is telling us to mind bodysurf, but we have to make sure we mind bodysurf well.
Your average daydream may not produce significant results in our quest to become better bodysurfers. To maximize the upshot we have to channel our thoughts into a mental, sensory experience. Proponents of visualization, sometimes called mental rehearsal, claim you have to fully immerse yourself in the environment to prepare your mind for acting on the rehearsal. We should focus on feeling the lift of swell when we turn to drive down the face of the 10ft wave we’re catching. We would smell the warm salty smell of the ocean and the burst of spray at our back as we burst free of the barrel. The hoots of your crew sitting on the shoulder should ring in your mental ear as you relive the new experience in your mind.
When scientist observe the brain of people performing immersive mental rehearsal they notice something surprising. The mind of practitioners mimics the mind of a person physically performing the same task. This may be the link highlighting the blurry connection between the perceived duality of body and mind. So I would charge you to practice as you might, because it’s never a bad time in the Ocean (even if it’s only in your head).