I think most of us grew up going to schools where they preached The Golden Rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. And although I think schools are mostly shit and do a horrible job of actually holding students accountable and teaching empathy, it's still a really good motto.
Because that motto is taking about empathy. Empathy on the water is so important. I've written so many times now about how other people can be doing things out there that really fuck with your goals for the day, but that in no way means that you should stop having empathy and compassion. So, what do you do???
You compliment them! Compliment people when they really nail a wave, a pop up, a trick, a paddle, whatever it is. Build up peoples confidence! You don't know someones internal struggles or goals, so you have the potential to really lift someone up.
If someone is being kooky and showing poor etiquette, explain the proper way, then BOOM, give them a compliment when they follow through.
Compliment strangers, compliment your friends, literally everyone deserves a pick me up. I frequently cheer people on when they catch a wave and I'm paddling in.
It's so easy to get so focused when you are catching a wave, that the idea of other people watching isn't even a thought. So to have someone tell you you're awesome? That's an amazing gift.
I paddled out Sunday, and I had just such an amazing afternoon on the water. I remember I caught a particularly difficult wave (it was closing out, super vertical, and like 6 feet, so not small). And when I was paddling back into the line up, a guy I had surfed past (who was paddling in), gave me a compliment and I couldn't stop smiling.
We are all human. We all love recognition. I'm super awkward and usually make the "Jenna Marbles" face when I get a compliment because I don't know how to take compliments. But compliments on surfing? I BEAM.
This is also a great way to make friends! Because wouldn't you want to be recognized when you're being totally rad and amazing? So share the love. It's fucking cold out there right now, so go warm up some hearts ♥️