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Beach Grit

Science: Navy to study benefits of surfing!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Does surfing offer great promise as therapy?

We have spent some time here discussing surfing’s metaphysical benefits and believe our conclusions are mostly agnostic. Right? Like, surfing can make you happy but it can also make you angry. That whatever mystical communion happens on the water is mostly a reflection of the micro-dosed LSD and not coming from surfing itself. Right?

Well, the United States Navy thinks otherwise. Or possibly thinks otherwise. For The Washington Post reported over the weekend:

In song and prose, surfing has long been celebrated as a way to soothe the mind and invigorate the body. But scientific evidence has been limited. Now the Navy has embarked on a $1 million research project to determine whether surfing has therapeutic value, especially for military personnel with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression or sleep problems. Researchers say surfing offers great promise as therapy. It is a challenging exercise in an outdoor environment; people surf individually or in groups; military surfers who are reluctant to attend traditional group therapy open up about their common experiences when talking to other surfers on the beach.

Hmmmmm. All fine and good, of course, but what if a Navy man paddles out with his post-traumatic stress disorder at, say, crowded Lowers and gets dropped in on, yelled at, burned, yelled at some more? I would imagine surfing would not be helpful here but I suppose that is what the million dollars will pinpoint.

Which lineup on earth do you think is most PTSD inducing?

a) Pipeline

b) Snapper

c) Lowers

d) Mundaka

e) Silver Strand

f) other