Losing yourself to Flow in surf

Flow feels beautiful when you’re in it.

Self consciousness disappears. Your field of vision narrows to the task in front of you, yet your senses are prepped for anything in your peripheral world. Time expands. You have all you need to reach your goal and in fact, time doesn’t matter at all. You just know that you will do it; it’s a quiet confidence that doesn’t stem from an egotistical place. It’’s more of a relaxed, satisfied feeling of everything being exactly where it should be.

This is Flow and it is incredibly pure: untainted by ego, external rewards or mindless chatter. Flow – or Optimal Experience as it’s often referred to – helps to explain that lure, the reason why surfers go back, time and time again to visit chilly waters, slick on cold, icy wetsuits and face fearful conditions. Those beautiful snippets in time heal us, make us happy.

New surf documentary explores Flow in five female surfers

A new surf documentary in development, Undercurrents, tracks these very issues from the view of five strong female characters from Jersey in the UK Channel Islands. The documentary crosses the age gap from 12 to 50 and tells the stories of one of the first female British champs, a mother, an environmentalist and yogi, a teenager of the verge of becoming pro and a graceful longboarder.

What soon became clear was that all these ladies – no matter what their age, ability, dress size or occupation – felt the stoke. They all described these feelings of hyper focus, letting go and listening to intuition.

And when they spoke of riding waves, whether they were 1 foot or 4, their words were dripping with content. These girls were at their happiest when in the zone, but perhaps more importantly – managed to only get into the zone when they were non-judgemental.


ARLENE MALTMAN | One of the first British Champs
NATALIE FOX | Yoga instructor and Environmentalist
PHOEBE GOULD | Graceful Longboarder

Tamara Russell

Martial artist, neuroscientist and contributor to the film:

Playfulness and Flow – how playfulness can determine the outcome of an experience:

“There’s an aspect of childlike acceptance around being playful isn’t there? You’re a bit irreverent. You’re not attaching anything and actually that’s a striving quality. Playfulness is about dropping assumptions, being ok with whatever comes because you’re just playing. It’s not important, it’s not life or death, it’s just play… When you do that you get this reward which might be a great wave, or it might be a flow experience in the wave.”

Natalie Fox

Yoga instructor and environmentalist:

Surfing tends not to work when you try too hard. You get that desire and that want and I think that sometimes hinders the actual process, I think surfing is more of a process of letting go of those desires and those needs. It’s more of a process of connection; letting your senses and your intuition take over.

Left brain, right brain

Logic, analysis and reasoning are all left brained characteristics and tend to stop us from truly connecting to experiences that allow flow moments. Right brain characteristics – Intuition, creativity and rhythm – all offer opportunities to open up to this mental space.

Undercurrents is a celebration of female surfing talent and an exploration of what connects us to these flow moments which ultimately leads to topping up our happiness well. How very beautiful then that the right brain is predominantly referred to as the feminine side!

If flow leads to happiness then it feels like spreading the stoke is an important message. “The best gift that you can give to yourself is an activity that nurtures you,” says Tamara Russell. “This is really what’s lost in our modern society. We do so many activities that are depleting and we don’t do enough activities that are nurturing. If we work in a depleting environment, we need to up our nurturing activities because otherwise the tank just becomes empty.”

It’s a message Undercurrents is keen to share. Please help the team show others how to fill their tanks with happy things. Undercurrents has limited time left to raise the funds needed to finish the film in Jersey. If you would like to sponsor the team or join as a partner, please visit the Crowdfunding page here,  or join in the journey on Facebook here.