Some, however, bring a different perspective to surfing if they’ve experienced some of those same sensations in other areas of life—like at work, as crazy as that may sound. “There is a rush that people will just never understand unless they’ve done it themselves,” says Peter Cuffaro, surfer and Firefighter Engineer at the San Diego Fire Department. “The feeling I get punting a big air or getting spit out the barrel is the same feeling I get when being dispatched to a structure fire.
Well, you are risking your life to save the lives of others, so…yes, there are major risks involved. “Almost all the equipment we have is extremely heavy and so are people,” says Cuffaro, adding that back injuries among firefighters are common. “The two hot topics lately have been mental health and cancer,” Cuffaro continues. “We unfortunately see some pretty horrific and disheartening things and it wears down on us.
San Diego firefighters work nine to 12 days a month, Cuffaro says, and every month they get one stretch of six consecutive days off. “If you do a couple trades you can have two weeks off to go on that epic surf trip, or bolt on down to Baja for the week.
You may be thinking: “Nine to 12 days a month sounds doable. ” With 24-hour shifts, however, the average work week for a firefighter shakes out to 56 hours. Yikes. “From the moment we get to the fire station in the morning to about six o’clock at night, we are busy training, doing fire inspections, cooking and cleaning.
But, Cuffaro argues, it’s deeply-fulfilling work and the kind that comes with lots of time to regenerate (see: surf). “Helping people is unbelievably rewarding and satisfying, but it can be stressful” he says. “For me, surfing has always been a great stress reliever.
Read more here: Surfer Mag