Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

How is surfing just like speaking English when you are just learning?

Today Lindsay tells her story about surfing in Nicaragua. What do surfers and English learners have in common?

More than you would think! Let’s find out more today.


So Lindsay is back from her trip to Nicaragua!

It was amazing.

We went volcano boarding, rented a motorbike, went horseback riding on the beach and in the hills, and climbed an active volcano.

It was an adrenaline high the whole week.

But one of the coolest visceral experiences we had was surfing.

It was Lindsay’s first time.


What was it like to surf in Nicaragua?

Quote from Lindsay: I think “intense” is the big word for it but when I finished my lesson I was having a beer and reflecting and I realized that surfing is so much like one specific moment in the daily lives of our listeners when they are learning English especially if they are living abroad.”


So how is surfing like learning English?

In surfing you paddle out to where the wave breaks and you hang out there.

You wait for a wave then you spot it and you decide that’s going to be the one.

So you start padding and catch the wave but then you have a choice especially if you are just learning.

Are you going to stand up or not?

It’s scary to stand up.

You are being carried by this super powerful wave and you feel safer just staying on your stomach and riding it in.


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So how is this like learning English?

The moment we make the choice and have the courage to stand up is when we become vulnerable to getting hurt.

It feels scarier to stand up, but it’s the moment we decide to be courageous.

The thing is, if we don’t stand up we never experience surfing fully.

We just get thrown around and pulled under the surf while dragging this 10-pound surfboard tied to our ankle.

It’s not truly experiencing the sport if we don’t stand up.

 It’s the same as the moment when we are in a group of native speakers.

They are speaking fast.

An idea of something that you want to say comes to your head and you decide to jump into the conversation and speak.

 It’s a kind of a form of surrender.

You are putting your life energy out there and letting yourself become vulnerable but it’s the only way to get better, learn, and to connect.

 And sometimes we don’t have full control over how that effort will be received.

Certainly with the ocean we have little control. The waves can be big and violent. 

It’s the same with native speakers.

Will they be friendly? Annoyed? We really don’t know until we try.



Stand up!

Jump into that conversation.

The bigger the risk feels the bigger possible reward you’ll have.

So next time you have that chance to stand up and speak in English or jump into a group conversation with an idea think about surfing. 

Just stand up and take that wave.


What questions do you have today?

Let us know in the comments below.

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