A huge part of becoming an optimal performer surfer and developing mental strength is turning off your negative self-talk. The thoughts in our head influence our behavior, attitude, and actions. They are affecting our lives and are either empowering which enable us to take positive actions or limiting that stop us from achieving our goals.

Surfers can often be facing situations where they are talking negatively to themselves, specifically during a competition, surfing big waves, or in bad surf day. In competition, thinking that you might lose against your opponent can cause you to fail at winning. On a big day, letting fear gets into your thoughts might cause you to hesitate and not taking quick actions.

The reason our thoughts are so important for us to understand is that they are directly responsible for the results we get. The way we think determines how we will be acting in any given situation and the way we act makes a huge difference in the results we achieve in any given situation, as I show in the diagram below.

negative self-talk


Having this in mind, what is the negative self-talk that could hinder you from being at an optimal performance level? What are the things that you say to yourself that have stopped you and could still hold you from performing at you best?

Here are some examples:

. I am not equipped to be an optimal performer.
. I have no time for this.
. It’s too hard; this isn’t for me, I can’t do it.
. Optimal performance is for pro-surfers.
. It’s too late for me; I am already too busy with life.
. I have already tried everything.
. I am never going to be disciplined enough.
. I don’t need to be an optimal performer, so I’m not going to strive for performance.
. My lifestyle is too complicated; I wouldn’t be able to do it.


Some of your negative self-talk could be coming from beliefs that were installed in you by the people closest to you. You continued developing and confirming those beliefs as your own while growing up as a teenager and then into a young adult, and you chased evidence to support these adsorbed beliefs.

Some of your beliefs could be operating below your conscious awareness, much like an airplane on autopilot. However, understanding how the human brain works and how to make changes can unlock your hidden potential.


All breakthroughs begin with a change in beliefs. So how do you turn your limitations into empowering actions?

  1. Recognise and write down at least five limiting beliefs about being at an optimal performance level, waking up early, and being a better stronger and healthier surfer.
  2. Come up with the opposite of each one of your limiting beliefs.

Start using your new beliefs as positive self-talk by repeating it over and over again.

  1. Create a short-term and mid-term plan where you can integrate your new positive self-talk into your OPP (Optimal Performance Practices), and to reinforce these through your morning routines.

For example, if your limiting belief is about getting started with new routines and you always say “It’s too difficult to start new routines and stay consistent,” this belief won’t serve you if your true wish is to start new optimal performance practices. So, you would have to create positive self-talk like “It’s fun to start new routines, it might be challenging in the beginning, but in no time it will become second nature.”

  1. Stay focused and keep repeating this sentence and the action that follows it, until you feel completely free from the old habit.

In conclusion, you can change your negative self-talk. The first part is to identify what do you say to yourself and when do you say it.


  1. Your thoughts influence your behavior and therefore your results.
  2. Some of your unconscious beliefs were developed during your childhood.
  3. Turn your limitations into empowering actions by repeating the opposite of them.