Surfing is like Golfing and vice-versa

You may be saying to yourself … WHAT? How can that be?

30 Seconds is a Long Time – Keep this point in Mind

Well, I have been surfing for 30+ years and have golfed sporadically for about the same amount of time. Over the years I have mentally compared the two and I decided to take a few minutes to put my thoughts down. Below is my list of things to consider when comparing Golfing to Surfing. If you have other points please share them in the comments.

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Besides the obvious fact that one takes place in the water and the other on land does not take away from the similarities between the two.

Side Note --- I live in Seattle where golfing is often a very wet sport.

Similarities of Surfing and Golf

  • Both activities (can) take hours - When done right!
  • Both are cerebral – Yep, ya gotta think
  • Both can be very relaxing or very stressful

Ironically --- in both Surfing and Golf you are only doing The Thing you came to do for 30 seconds (at most) per interaction with the wave or ball.


In Golf everyone is watching YOU address the ball

In Surfing everyone is watching YOU address the wave

What if you do it wrong?

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Both have a lot of etiquette

  1. If you golf “wrong” people might get hurt and your pride is out there for all to see.
  2. If you surf “wrong” people might get hurt, you might be labeled a Kook and you might get hurt (or even drown)

One difference --- Outlandish vs. Conservative

The Uniform


In Golf when the golfer in question is really bad or perhaps doesn’t take the whole thing quite so seriously  … there may be a tendency to wear quite outlandish clothes.

In surfing … unless you are VERY good you better stick to the basics --- Black wetsuit and White board.


A Few More Similarities

Doing it Right!

  • The Walk / The Paddle --- there is a right way and a right time to get to the tee and to get to the wave. image
  • Address the BallAddress the Wave
    Again there is a right way to do it.
  • 30 Seconds is a LONG TIME – Especially when it comes to riding a wave. A 30 second ride on a wave is nirvana. Any longer and any surfer will be elated.

A golfer typically doesn’t spend much more than 30 seconds to line up and hit either. (Sure some take longer).


  • imageIn golf a lot of people have their local Club and Clubhouse
  • In Surfing a lot of people have their Turf – their home break

In both cases … they defend them vigorously. Albeit, in slightly different ways --- being ostracized at the club is more of a snub to your pride. Being ostracized at the beach might be a different kind of snub that leaves you with a bloody nose.

Terminology – Each has it’s own lingo

  • Golfing has birdies, eagles and The 19th hole.
  • Surfing has corduroy, the green room and the line-up

Together yet Separate

Everyone is on their own. You might be with other people, but they are really individual sports.

  • Golf has an actual scorecard
  • Surfing has a mental scorecard

The Ultimate Goal --- Wearing of the Green

– The Green Room


– The Green Jacket

The Stoke

When it all comes together there is nothing like a great day of golfing or surfing. If you have had the pleasure of doing both you might agree with some of the points I made here. If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying either golfing or surfing I hope my little guide comparing the two helps and encourages you to get out an try ‘em.

For me I try to get out and surf whenever I can. As I’ve gotten older I’ve figured out that it’s more of a mental effort than a physical effort. Sure, it takes strength and coordination to surf --- it takes both of these for golf too. But the sheer joy of getting out and just sitting in the line up, especially with my buddies, cannot be beat. I get a similar feeling when I get out golfing, but it’s different at the 19th hole when compared to the local coffee shop (and if I’m lucky, donut shop) after surfing.

No Matter how to you choose to play … just get out and do it. Life is too short to stay cooped up.

Have Fun, Play Hard!

Image Credits: Happy Madison, W. Bootz, Steve Corey, Dlofink, Jeff the Trojan


Anonymous said…
I've tried both. For me the difference is this: I suck at both. I hate being bad at things (I know, maybe I have issues). BUT, there is nothing like the water, the power, the thrill of that very short time when the wave catches the board, you spring and you're standing, the noise of the water, the bliss. I'll never catch a barrel. But with surfing, I've never sucked so bad at something, and yet enjoyed myself so very, very much.