Christina Koch, 41
Surfer|Volume 61, Issue 3 / Winter 2020
Texas surfer, NASA astronaut, record holder for the longest continuous spaceflight by a woman
MATTHEW B. SHAW

There are a lot of parallels between spacewalking and surfing. In both surfing and spacewalking, you have to channel any fears or anxieties into focus. Seeing a wave approach and just knowing it’s go-time and that there are going to be ten different things to think about in the space of 3 seconds, you can’t get distracted by any one thing or any fear. I found myself relying on that same technique in spacewalking, where you know you have a job ahead of you, you know things might be risky and things may make you nervous. You have to compartmentalize those fears and also have a plan for what you are going to think about and techniques you’re going to use.

Surfing has taught me a lot about myself that I couldn’t have learned otherwise.

It’s one place where I’ve really had to face fears. I’ve always been a little afraid of the ocean and waves. Just recognizing those inherent fears and pushing past them was a big help for me in my career.

Surfing allows you to maintain your individuality.

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