Riding waves, writing a book and dating

Riding waves, writing a book and dating
Tara Brouwer, co-author of the book, “Everything I Know About Dating I Learned From Surfing,” uses tenets from surfing and incorporates them into her dating life. Courtesy photo

Two local surfers discover a connection between learning how to surf and how to date 

When it comes to dating, there are plenty of fish in the sea, they say — surfers, too, for that matter.

And for two North County women who’ve found a parallel between surfing and dating that’s a good thing.

Authors Nancy Spooner Bsharah and Tara Brouwer teamed up to put their findings into a new book, “Everything I Know About Dating I Learned From Surfing,” ($24.95, surfdatebook.com).

Two years ago, following a surf session, Bsharah and Brouwer started talking over the idea for a possible book on how advice on surfing corresponded to dating advice.

For the past few years that Bsharah had been surfing, she’d been keeping a journal of quotes that she picked up from her surf lessons.

The book would become a personal project for the two, and with some help from a kickstarter campaign, after two years in the works, the book was completed.

Nancy Spooner Bsharah is the co-author of “Everything I Know About Dating I Learned From Surfing.” She found that some of the advice she received while learning to surf was similar to dating advice. Courtesy photo

Nancy Spooner Bsharah is the co-author of “Everything I Know About Dating I Learned From Surfing.” She found that some of the advice she received while learning to surf was similar to dating advice. Courtesy photo

It features some 22 quotes accompanied by their personal dating stories.

With Bsharah now married, Brouwer continues to date, experiencing all kinds of dating situations, where, from time to time, certain quotes from the book will come to her mind.

Brouwer talked a little more on finding the right wave and the right guy.


What came first for you, learning how to surf or learning how to date?

I started surfing five years ago, and I’ve definitely been dating longer than that. So I would say that I learned how to date first. Nancy, I would say, would be in the same boat. But when she started learning how to surf, around the same time, the coaching that she was getting in the water she’s like, ‘This is also dating advice.’

Do you have a favorite quote in the book, or one that you’ve relied on in your dating experiences?

I think it’s, “Sometimes the hardest part is getting out there,” is a good one for me.

Etiquette is a big part of the surfing culture. Would you say that’s the same when it comes to dating?

Absolutely, in fact there’s a quote that pertains to that: ‘It’s not cool to take someone else’s wave.’ We definitely have (a quote) ‘If it looks good, don’t just sit there. Paddle over there and get it.’ As far as it’s OK to flirt a little bit, but I think that it’s not cool to take someone else’s wave as a blanket.

While surfing, is it OK to ask out someone when waiting in the lineup?

Sure. I think it’s always appropriate.

How can this book help someone that doesn’t surf, but is still struggling in the dating scene?

I think one of the biggest comments that we get from readers is that when they’re reading these stories they think, ‘Oh, it’s not just me. I’m not alone.’ Everybody is dealing with this, and so I think more than anything the book is really creating a community of women who have experienced all these same stories. So instead of feeling like, ‘I’m the only person that this has happened to, so it must be me’ — again it happens to many women. So how can I use these quotes to learn something from the past and take ownership of it and responsibility?

In writing the book, did you and Nancy compare who had the worst dating experiences?

I don’t think it’s a matter of who has the worst experiences. When you’re in a bad experience, it’s bad to you — it’s the worst to you. You feel like you’re at rock bottom. There’s something with the opposite sex in relationships and love that as they drift away from you, you tend to feel pretty low. And so no matter the experience, I don’t think there was ever a point where ‘No, you had it worse, or I had it worse.’

How has your dating life changed since starting surfing?

I think I’m definitely more particular. That quote, ‘Have patience, don’t jump on the first wave of the set because you’re tired of waiting’ — I think I don’t jump into relationships; I don’t go on a date with a guy for more than a couple of dates if I know it isn’t right. And it’s also given me a more positive outlook. The quote about the ocean not going anywhere, tomorrow brings more waves, that tends to be my motto these days.

There are proper techniques for surfing. Would you say there’s a proper technique for having a good date?

I think it’s really important, as cliché as this is, to really be yourself, be present, engage, ask questions about your date, and see if he’s asking questions about you as well. And just really take the time to learn about that person.



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