Shaggy hair, Flip-Flops, and words like “Dude” or “Brah”, all come to mind at one point or another when the term surfing is brought up. Keep in mind that surfing has been around as early as 1779. It was referred to by the Hawaiians as he’enalu. Since then, surfing has evolved from long 50lbs hand carved wooden boards to light weight short boards as small as 5’2”. Like the variety of boards out there, the surfing community is just as diverse. Beginner, advanced, men, women, young, old, Asian, Caucasian, straight, and recently brought to light gay. No matter who you are or where you came from, the joy of that first ride hits you. Your arms are exhausted but you’re too excited to care and somehow manage to stand up. The adrenaline rushes through your body. You’re now hooked, you’re stoked, you’re surfing!

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It’s never too late to get into surfing. It’s a hobby and sport you can enjoy simply because you just love to do it. It helps with balance, patience, and body coordination. Never be afraid to get started or ask for help. There are endless surfing schools out there. They offer beginner classes that’ll get you started with a long board and eventually as you progress based on your comfort and skill level, a decent size short board. Like any other sport always be sure to stretch. It’ll always be hard the first time you get out there, but have trust in your instructor, most importantly yourself and you’ll be fine. Although surfing isn’t for everyone, don’t give up the first time, keep at it. You’d be surprised what you’re capable of once you get started.

Peace of mind, keep any negativity on land. Don’t bring it to the water. The ocean is considered a sacred place to clear your mind or escape every day troubles of the modern world. Respect the ocean and what it has to offer. You’ll find that once you start surfing more you’ll begin to socialize with other surfers. It’s a great place to meet new people and make new friends and sometimes network, although you really should leave work at work. Surfing doesn’t have to be something you do alone. Families do it and often brings them closer together. Work offices do it to improve morale. Point being, surfing brings all types of people together.

Hang loose, smile, and just have fun.

This article originally appeared on DifferentReasons.com.