Life is Better When You Surf - Shannon Seyb

Life is Better When You Surf - Shannon Seyb

Welcome to the February edition of our Life is Better When you Surf® interview series. This month we chat with Shannon Seyb, a New Zealander now living on the Gold Coast in Australia.

We met Shannon via instagram when she started surfing in early 2023 and we have enjoyed watching her surfing progress over the past 12 months from newbie to an absolute ripper! Enjoy Shannon's surfing journey...

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: Hi Shannon tells us a bit about yourself
SS: Hi! I'm Shan, a Kiwi who now calls the Gold Coast, Australia, home. I’m a self-confessed hobby-aholic...skydiver, turned wannabe aerialist, turned surfer girl and yogi. I started surfing one year ago (2023), I explored waves across Indonesia, Australia, and the Philippines. My friends say I smile so hard my face looks like the laughing emoji (you know, the ones with the happy tears in its eyes) - they also say I’m a full time surfer now, and that’s probably not too far from the truth! It sounds like a cliche but surfing has changed what my life looks like. Being in the sunshine, saltwater, breathing fresh air and the ebbs and flows of progression have given me a constant feeling of returning home. Transitioning from the sky to the ocean has been a journey filled with challenges, overcoming fears, deep friendships and endless amounts of stoke. Life's better when you surf, and I'm so grateful to have found this connection with myself, others, and ocean.

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: How old were you when you learnt to surf?
SS: I was 33 years old! Where’s my learnt-to-surf-as-an-adult friends at? I see you. What. A Wild. Journey. To embark on something so difficult when you have a mature understanding of consequences and a healthy dose of fear for going over the falls is...challenging! But so rewarding. And how wonderful to be a beginner at something, to embrace a curious mindset and to have those leaps and bounds of progression that gradually plateau as you gain prowess. Those constant little achievements that feel empowering and worth celebrating. I’ve heard people say that it’s too late to start sports like surfing when you’re older, but I just don’t believe it. And on top of that I don’t believe you have to be good at your hobbies. You are entitled to suck at something you love, but keep coming back purely because you love it. In my travels I have met women who started surfing far later in life than myself who find SO much joy on the waves. It is a hard sport - but it’s never too late if something is meant for you.

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: Where was your first lesson and who taught you?
SS: To be honest, I think my Uncle threw me on a surfboard in the white water one Christmas as a teenager, and over the next 20-something years I did a couple of one-and-done surf lessons, the kind with ten people to one instructor, took a borrowed foamie out a few times in white water, and went to URBN surf once. I definitely did not consider myself a surfer in any shape or form..

My first actual “learn to surf” experience was in January 2023. I decided I actually wanted to do it, for real this time - and turned up to Kima Surf Camp in Canggu with an 8ft foamie, with a vague memory that I was a goofy footer and an even vaguer idea of popup technique. Three weeks later I left knowing I was hooked.

Funny story: I did one white water session at Kima on my first day then spat the dummy and signed myself up to the next level group so I could paddle out back and catch green waves. I’ve never been a very patient learner ;) It was my first time out the back of a break, and Kedungu in Canggu is a long paddle out. After my first wave I took a set on the head and my leash snapped, leaving me treading water for 10-15 minutes while my surf guide (now friend) Sikel, retrieved my board from shore and gave me his leash for the session.

Strong start to my surfing journey haha…and a lesson learned.

Life is Better When You surf®

GSI: What is the best tip you have for anyone learning to surf?
SS: Figure out what makes you love it and do that! It really depends on what your goals are. If you are happy to spend some time in the ocean with friends on white water - that is totally ok. It’s your hobby, your experience. You don’t owe anyone progression, you only owe it to yourself to have fun.

For me, part of having fun with a sport is to progress. So if your goal is to get better at surfing, my best tip is: be consistent.

I’m not a natural. Surfing was my first ever board sport. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not an adrenaline junkie, and I have a healthy fear of big waves. I didn't progress through any gift or talent. I just showed up (with a smile and willingness to learn) over and over again. For me, that’s not a huge commitment, that’s just who I am - zero to one hundred by nature. But if you’re learning something new, I think consistency and turning up over and over again even when you’re tired, broke, conditions aren’t perfect, or you just don’t feel like it is the fastest way to progress. Surfing especially, relies on being able to read the conditions and the waves, and that takes time and practice.

Also, get coaching. This will shorten the learning curve exponentially. I am fortunate enough to come from a high level sporting background in skydiving and indoor skydiving - sports that have a culture of getting professional instruction. Coaching and being coached by world-class flyers over the past decade has taught me the importance of consistency, perfect practice (practice makes permanent, not perfect), and technique. Put yourself in a position to be a student and you are putting yourself in a position to learn - and be inspired and empowered by some wonderful people.

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: Tell us about a surf session that really sticks in your mind.?
SS: One of my most special and proudest moments in this year of surfing was joining a group of my closest skydiving friends who are also lifelong surfers on a trip to the Ments last August. Everyone said I was crazy to go there 8 months into surfing, but the home spot at Aloita Resort where we stayed was this beautiful peeling friendly magical left. I surfed it from knee height to over head height, and the 10 days I was there was transformational to my surfing. The colour of the water was so blue, the vibes in the water were high, and the wave was almost too perfect to be real. It was pure magic, I met some amazing people, and I shared it with some really special humans in my life.

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: What is your favourite surf spot?
SS: It’s so hard to choooooose! Additional to the out-of-this-world perfect left I described above?

Lombok! Need I say more? I fell in LOVE with that place, its waves, and it's beautiful surf guides. And I still consider Old Mans and Kedungu in Canguu to be my “home” spots, because I learned to surf there, and my Kima guides hold a special place in my heart.

I’ve also had moments in Australia where I’ll sit out at Rainbow or Kirra with my surfer girl pals, in the surreal crystal clear water and a pod of dolphins will play out back or on the waves beside us…like, are you kidding?! What a life.

As I said, wayyyy too hard to choose.

Life is Better When You Surf®

GSI: Our company mantra is ‘Life is Better When Your Surf®” how does that statement resonate with you?
SS: I feel like I live it - I feel so blessed by what surfing has added to my everyday. My life really is better for surfing. The friends I’ve met through it inspire me. I feel happier after every session. I don’t think anything will ever replace skydiving for me - flying really is a whole sense of freedom. But in skydiving you spend the majority of the time inside the plane or inside the hangar. If you’re in the sun it’s wearing layers, jumpsuits and helmets. Paddling out into the ocean and basking in the sunshine while moving your body and having conversations with your friends is just so peaceful and energising and pure! It’s added something to my life that I didn't know I was missing for the past 30-something years….a connection to the ocean.

In 2024 I plan on sharing the ‘Life is Better When You Surf’ feeling, and my love of movement and wellness, with others. My two housemates Ella (a youth worker) and Brooke (a Pilates teacher) and I have started a surf & wellness retreat movement called SummerSama. It’s a play on words for ‘SamaSama’, Indonesian for ‘You’re Welcome’. Our aim is to share the good vibes and joy of riding waves with others using our favourite surf coaches at all our favourite spots, and adding in our own joyful mix of mindset coaching, pilates and yoga. Surfing really does have the power to make lives better.

I hope my story, and our retreats, can inspire someone to do the thing that seems too hard, or the sport they think they’re "too old" for.

Life is Better When You Surf®


Shannon rides a Modern Highline and more recently a Modern Retro depending on the conditions.

If you are interested in attending one on Shannon's wellness retreats you can find all the info here: insta: @summersamasurf | web: | retreat signup:


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