Hold on to your shorts, this is not your average Tuesday.
This is, Jim. He’s stoked. We’re getting out there. Out to those clean breaking waves that you see forming beyond the tumbling whitewater. This is the next step in a novice surfers pursuit and it isn’t going to be easy.
Time it wrong, paddle out with poor positioning or technique, and a wave will catch you off guard, sweeping you back to shore.
Patience, persistence, board control, and a bit of luck are the key ingredients to getting out ‘past the break’. This is what surfers call the zone beyond the crashing whitewater, where open ocean swells have yet to break.
It may be a ‘paddle battle’, or, if the ocean permits, you may make it out with relative ease. We eye the horizon as we stroke seaward.
We’ve scored! Clean conditions with lengthy lulls between each wave allow us to make it past the break in a matter of minutes. A multitude of emotions flow in. Relief, reward, and gratitude that the ocean granted us easy passage to where we wanted to go.
It isn’t always this easy. We pause, catch the breath, and glance back to shore to check positioning for the currents may have carried us.
Thoughts and eyes drift to the ocean. The waves we hope to catch are somewhere in deeper water, yet to reach us at our chosen spot. All the decisions we made in the lead up to that surf: The journey to the beach, the surf check, the paddle out, choosing our first wave, all have a cascading influence on every moment after that.
What we may initially regard as a bad decision, going for that wave when an even better one loomed behind, may actually have been what allows you to later be in the right position for a truly brilliant ride.
Giving in to that impulse to take the first opportunity that presents itself can put you in a sticky situation and the only way forward is to take what you have learned and apply it in a future situation. The next set approaches. Let’s wait and see what looms behind the first one this time.
We’re paddling out in our own way at Pacific Surf Company.
We have created this blog space to share stories from our surf school like this experience of paddling out, from a surf lesson I taught Jim earlier this year.
Where we go from here depends on what experiences the ocean offers us and how we choose to learn from them. We want you to be a part of that story.
Let us know what you thought, what more you want to learn. Then keep your eyes on this space for the next opportunity.