A breaking wave somewhere in Costa Rica

Surfing and the Blue Mind Theory

Surfing and the Blue Mind Theory

The results are in! Surfing isn’t just good for your body. According to the blue mind theory, it can also cure depression, get you out of a pandemic slump and make you more stoked.

While we don’t want to dwell on the last couple of years, we’re big fans of anything that’s reported to boost stoke.

So, when we heard about a little something called blue mind, we thought we’d do some digging.

In this article, we dive headfirst (pun intended) into the theory of blue mind and discuss the science, positive effects and mental health benefits of this fascinating new concept.

To do this, we’ll draw from the work of marine biologist Wallace J. Nichols (author of Blue Mind: The surprising science that shows how being near, in, on, or under water can make you happier, healthier, more connected, and better at what you do).

We’ll also run quotes from a couple of lifelong surfers about their own interpretations of this theory.


Surfers in a group putting the blue mind theory into practice

What is the blue mind theory?

Simply put, blue mind refers to the meditative state that being near, in or under water induces.

According to Wallace J. Nichols, blue mind is the antidote to the red mind, which is the state of being defined by anxiousness or over-stimulation.

What benefits does a blue mind bring?

Research has proven that spending time near a body or bodies of water has a number of surprising mental and physiological health benefits.

For one, it can lower stress in the body, but it can also increase your feeling of overall wellbeing (the ability to be comfortable, healthy or happy).

Surfing is my escape. It’s gives me the ability to leave my troubles behind and to focus on the “Now.” It’s my creative outlet and a tool to rejuvenate my soul. Surfing gives me great joy and peace!

– Teddy Upshaw, O’Neill Wave of the Winter 20/21 entrant

We have a whole post full of inspiring surf quotes like this one. We also have a post full of the top surfing videos that’s equally inspiring and entertaining.

In addition to these psychological advantages, being in a blue mind state can lower your heart and breathing rate plus enhance your creativity.

Makes you wonder if there’s anything blue mind can’t do, right?

Experience the blue mind at our surf & yoga retreat in Costa Rica

Can blue mind make you a better surfer?

Of course, the big question is whether blue mind has any effect on your ability to surf better.

Well, the good news is that after talking to other beginner surfers and quizzing our team, we can definitely agree that it at least puts you in the right frame of mind to learn more efficiently.

Think about it.

If you’re in a bad mood, you’re not going to be as receptive to new ideas.

If you’re in a calm and open state of awareness though (thanks to blue mind), chances are you’re going to learn a lot faster.

So in short, being in water begets better surfing simply for the fact that you’re in water.

This means that by putting in the time to learn surfing (a minimum of two sessions per day), you’ll not only be picking up the finer points of how to ride a wave; you’ll also be improving the quality of your mind.


Blue mind and our surf camp in Costa Rica

For more information about the blue mind theory, feel free to read more here.

If you ask us though, the best way to experience anything is to try it for yourself.

We recommend booking a stay at our Costa Rica surf and yoga camp to really cultivate your blue mind.

Who knows?

Maybe in the not-so-distant future, doctors will prescribe waves instead of medication!

Discover our surf camp & yoga retreat in Costa Rica