Using Playfulness as an Intuitive Compass: Learning to Surf in the Algarve

by Savannah Wishart
Surf photography by Savannah Wishart of the Primal Revolution. Capturing the rugged coastline and rough waters of surfing in the Portugal Algarve.

I’m experimenting with different platforms to share work – especially with embarking on a new chapter of my life, pivoting direction to Portugal. Originally published on Exposure to see how the platform works. You can follow along there, where I’ll be focused on telling current travel stories.

Gone surfing, be back never.

Sitting on the beach overlooking Amado after my double session of surf, I couldn’t help laughing at where life has taken me. Or where I have taken life. Whichever it might be – probably a team effort, I suppose.

As the sun slowly sunk closer to dunking itself like a glowing cookie into the Atlantic, I watched waves build, form, roll toward shore, and break. Small dots that were surfers watched, waited, and began paddling. Or they didn’t.

Suddenly the ocean is something to analyze and understand.

How is this wave different than the wave that came before? What made the surfer(s) paddle for this one? What were the cues they saw? Felt?

I couldn’t help but to laugh at myself because never in my life had I felt much interest in surfing, and here I was: about a week into my travels with surfing guiding my every move.

It made no logical sense, and that itself is a clue that this is the right direction.

No home, no anchor pulling me anywhere. Just me, my life compressed to fit in a backpack, my sense of self infused in the present moment, a playful curiosity, an openness to adapting as I gather information and meet people… Here is where I am, and this moment is all that I have.


Reset. Pivot. Find life and live it.

At the root of this intuitive quest to learn to surf and let it guide my way:

Playfulness as a compass.

It sounded simple, but I knew that it wouldn’t be easy.

With a lifetime of conditioning telling us that we are supposed to hustle and grind, I knew shifting my mindset wouldn’t happen overnight. Even as someone who has had a business for over a decade and lived life according to my own rules: my relationship with intuitive ease, light-heartedness, and playfulness is one that needs some TLC.

And as my frustration built in the ocean, I reminded myself: I’m not supposed to be frustrated. Learning to surf was meant to be playful.

“Allow it to be easy,” I told myself. This chapter is all about stepping into a new way of being.

As I paused to breathe deeply into my belly, I tried to surrender to the rise & fall of the waves.

The ocean, like any woman:
to understand her is to feel her.


Featured photo chosen as Editor’s Choice with 500px.
Featuring a board from Flysurf Boards & wetsuit from Ripcurl.

You may also enjoy

Leave a Comment

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?