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3 things surfing can teach you about marketing

Surfing is a hobby I have loved since the age of 10.

The sport was supposedly founded in 1767 in Tahiti, so it has been around for quite some time. I cannot imagine how uncomfortable a surfboard would have been back in those days!

For me, it is one of the most adrenaline rushing sports in the world. I could surf every day of my life and not need a single can of Red Bull ever again.

Marketing is a lot like surfing. You can’t control the waves, but you can learn how to surf.

When it comes to paddling during your surfing session, you have to paddle out that little bit further away from shore and sit and float, until that perfect wave brings you back in-land. This is where patience is required.

Like a surfer, you need to read the ocean to help catch that wave taking you to shore. So, here are three things surfing can teach you about marketing and how to surf the waves.

1. Having confidence within you

“Confidence is the key to success” is a quote I love seeing!

One thing you need when surfing – before even getting out in the water – is confidence.

You must be confident enough so you can swim back to the beach just in case you are in danger.

Not only that, but you need confidence in your ability. If you have a low level of confidence you should stay nearer the shallow end of the sea, until you pick up a real boost to push yourself out further.

It’s also the same when it comes to standing up. If you fear that as soon as you stand up you will fall off straight away and worry the surfboard will fall on your head, then you maybe need to practise with smaller waves and just riding them in without standing up.

Once you get used to the feel of the wave bringing you in, that is when you could progress to riding the board in on your knees to get used to balance. You must start off with small targets until you are confident enough to reach a higher potential.

It’s similar to when you are pitching an idea to a new client or proposing to an existing client. You need to have confidence to sell your idea. If you’ve had the belief within you throughout pitching your idea, you know you’ve tried your best. If the outcome of the pitch is positive, then it makes you feel on top of the world.

2. Controlling your patience

You must be patient when it comes to being at one with the waves.

I would love to say that you can stand up on a surfboard on your very first attempt. If you can, I would like an autograph, please!

Just like your job, you have good days, and you have bad. With surfing, you must be patient while progressing otherwise your anger will get the better of you. This will then result in a bad day’s surf. No one wants to leave the water without a huge smile on their face.

You must remind yourself that “patience is a virtue”, as William Langland famously said. You must remember that quote when also waiting for the right wave to catch. Yes, it can take a while, but when you catch the right one the buzz you get afterwards is like no other!

This is the same when you are waiting on an answer after pitching an idea/product to a client you would like on board with you. You need to slow yourself down, pick out the positives that have happened throughout the process and be patient while you wait.

Marketing takes time, so does standing up on that surfboard for the first time.

3. Setting targets to help you constantly improve

Surfing requires targets, marketing requires targets, making a cup of tea or coffee for someone in your place of work requires targets.

You need targets to help you improve as it will help you feel more confident when the target you have set has been achieved. The next step is to then maintain that original target.

For me, my main target is to stand up on my surfboard every time I go on a trip down to the Cornish coast. But my longer-term target is to be able to ride a smaller sized surfboard and consistently stand up when using one.

SMART targets can help identify exactly what you want to accomplish by breaking down the one target in five different ways.

Setting a completion date for your targets can give you more motivation to reach your goals and help encourage you to not lose track of what you want to achieve for yourself.

For me and my target of standing up every time I’m out in the water, I am confident enough to say I can carry out standing up 95% of the time. That 5% missing is where I need my patience to not rush to catch a wave, because if I do then I know I won’t ride a good wave.

My longer-term target has a date of summer 2023 when I hope to have a shorter board of my own and do more regular trips down to the glorious Cornish coast.

Do you need help standing up on the surfboard?

If you have targets that you’d like to achieve but need some help along the way, then send us an email at or call us on 0115 8965 300.

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