SQ: Intelligence that gives you an unfair advantage in the surf

You’ve heard of IQ, and you might’ve heard of EQ, but have you heard of SQ?

SQ stands for surf intelligence; it’s a measure of a person’s feel for the water or surf sense.

In other words, SQ is putting together all you know about the ocean, with experience, decision-making, problem-solving, real-time processing ability and behaviour to give you an unfair advantage.

On top of that, ocean swimming is intrinsically connected with other human sciences like oceanography, physics, meteorology, hydrodynamics, and biology.

For many with high SQ, it is an innate ability, for others, it’s been nurtured through hundreds if not thousands of hours in the water.

But, scoring high in SQ involves much more than measurable attributes.

Factored into your score are your respect for the ocean, courage, mindset and belief in yourself. It also takes into account your ability to connect your physical attributes, like fitness and skills to the intangible.

What does a high SQ look like, personified?

It looks effortless.

It looks like the person gets all the good waves… every time.

It looks like the ocean is working for them.

It looks like they are in tune with the ocean, a part of the rhythm, one with nature.

You see it in your local waterman, the old salty dog, and the winningest surf athletes.

The good news is that you can increase your SQ.


Spend more time in the ocean, catch more waves and vary your pursuits; swim, surf, bodyboard, bodysurf, sail, paddle, fish, and dive.

Read and be a sponge for learning from wise watermen.

Enjoy the journey, but don’t aim for perfection, it’s a crest you’ll never reach.

Developing your SQ is a lifelong odyssey and even the ocean masters amongst us are still learning with every experience.

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