The British rocker relocated to the U.S. while working on an album with his supergroup side project Atoms For Peace, which includes Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Flea.
Yorke admits surfing helped him relax during his time off and gave him a new-found patience during his studio work.
He tells Britain's The Observer newspaper, "(I'm) pretty c**p at it (surfing)... I used (sic) always to try to force things, in the studio.
"But it's like, you can sit out there on a board for ages waiting for the right wave to come along. You can't get angry about it. You know it will happen eventually and you start to understand the waiting itself might be part of it. Part of the fun..."