Photo: Catherine Bernier
Ever fantasised about quitting that office job, taking up surfing and becoming a digital nomad? Well now is your chance thanks to Unleash… A high-end travel-experience that takes you off the beaten path to places with great waves, solid-internet, minimal-crowds and vibrant local culture.
The brainchild of Amy Schwartz, who hatched the idea with her partner while they were living in Peru, Unleash aims to make it easy for people to be productive at work, surf as often they want and have more time to reconnect with themselves and their partner.
Here she talks to us about why she thinks surfing together is the best thing you can do for your relationship…
The most romantic thing my partner and I do is surf together. Call me crazy but sunset eyes, tight wetsuits and gliding through glassy waves is way more alluring (and more soul-filling) than “Netflix and chill”. It’s also the perfect antidote to the stress that busy jobs, over-scheduling and parenting can put on a relationship.
But more important than keeping the romance alive, we’ve experienced the greatest highs and toughest lows by surfing together, which has deepened our bond and made us more resilient as a couple.
Here’s why surfing together is the best thing you can do for your relationship:
You become best friends
Before we officially dated, my partner and I spent hundreds of hours driving around looking for waves together at ungodly hours of the morning. We got to know the pre-caffeinated versions of each other and discovered that we really liked the other person at their core.
We shared waves, failures and inside jokes about the same unrepeatable moments, created memories together and always had something to talk about out of the water. Our time spent surfing developed the foundational bond of our relationship.
You are vulnerable together
No matter how athletically talented or experienced you are, surfing will humble you. Witnessing your partner in a moment of powerlessness gives you an opportunity to understand their emotional processes and react supportively, which is is great practice for vulnerable moments in your relationship.
You get high together
Riding a wave is the greatest feeling. The physicality of it pumps you full of dopamine – the brain chemical that makes you feel motivated and energised. According to Psychology Today when you experience that feeling of awesomeness together you feel more satisfied with your relationship and more in love.
That feeling of happiness translates well into the bedroom too, which is a perfect way to end a dopamine-high day filled with waves.
You develop compassion and patience for each other
There are days when my partner gets dozens of amazing waves, meanwhile I’ve floundered inside like abandoned styrofoam. On the ride home he’s abuzz with stoke, which makes me feel sorry for myself and all the waves I missed. He has learned strategies for dealing with my crank (including giving me waves if I’m struggling) and I’ve learned to appreciate his efforts and not drag the mood down when he’s had a better surf day than me.
You learn how to compromise
My partner likes big take-offs and I like long and glidey waves, so picking a spot to surf is often a negotiation in which we both have to stretch a bit. This has taught us to adjust to each other’s wants and limits which is an important pattern in a successful relationship.
You can simultaneously prioritise what you love and who you love
When life gets busy, research shows that your spare time to exercise or nurture your relationship is most likely to get squeezed out. This can start a downward spiral of conflict, hurt feelings and even break-up.
But if you’re both surfers, you probably have a shared priority (or addiction) of riding waves. So you’re more likely to make quality time with your partner simply because the waves are good that day and it was important to each of you to get in.
When my partner and I are stressed out or are having a fight, surfing together becomes our reset button. The time together puts us back on track and the fun of surfing reminds us why we fell in love. This is an invaluable tool in a long-term relationship.
You keep things exciting
A lack of individual identity can lead to boredom in a relationship. Even if you’re together when you’re out riding waves, you are doing so individually, with your own effort and flare. Researchers who study interpersonal relationships say it’s difficult not to admire your partner when you see them happily testing their boundaries in a challenging activity like surfing.
Research also tells us that physical activity, produces patterns of physiological arousal that mirrors romantic attraction, which can amplify your attraction to your partner if you’re doing something like surfing as a couple.
And let’s be honest – toned shoulders, tight glutes and fluid hip motions are a by-product of surfing, which looks great on everyone – especially the person you love.
Unleash is offering 1 – 4 month trips in Arica, Chile and another 2 in Huanchaco, Peru. The first trip departs in January 2018 and for $4299 a month, the company provides you a private apartment, surf-coaching, an exclusive co-work space, free yoga and Spanish language classes, weekly trips to regional surf spots and cultural activities, and a group size of fewer than a dozen – with an add-on trip to Machu Picchu.