Just Paddle Out
When was the last time you put on your tennis shoes or grabbed your golf clubs, took a ride to the courts or course and decided, never mind, maybe tomorrow?
The luxury and the curse of surfing is you never know the conditions until you get there, and when it’s good, it’s special. When it’s not, you hope it will get better later or the next day.
Then there are those in-between days, when its a little too windy, the rides may be short and peaky, the waves are closing out or all over the place. Surfers happen to be social pack animals, whether we like to admit it or not. We instinctively look to join the cluster of surfers in the line-up, or on the beach while checking the surf. This is true on any day, regardless of the conditions.
There are days that look iffy, and those are exactly the days in which you should just paddle out.
The best part about so-so conditions, is the appreciation you have for when the surf is spectacular. If you workout at all, your motivation doesn’t cease when you put on your sneakers or roll out your yoga mat, so why drive to the beach only to shrug your shoulders and leave?
Maybe we are a bit spoiled by the unlimited access and close proximity to fun breaks, so we become picky as to when we will surf. Or if the surf is not up to our standards, that’s the day we choose another physical activity. Being able to surf is a gift and a privilege, and we should take advantage of it every chance we can.
Often people say that on the evenings they never feel like going out, are often the best ones, full of surprises and lacking expectations or pressure to have a good time. With surfing, paddling out on a day that’s mediocre allows for play, practice and catching up with your surf buddies, (the ones that may find themselves paddling out if you do). The feeling of accomplishment is a nice boost to your day as well, you didn’t feel psyched about doing something, you did it anyway, and now you feel much better. I can’t recall a day someone came out of the water and wished they never paddled out. Have you ever taken a yoga class only to wish you spent that last hour doing something else?
Surfing also quietly allows a slice of time without our phones in our hand, when we can be surrounded by water, gorgeous views, and friends. We are never too good for human nature, and being an outdoor athlete means you embrace all conditions. That’s why we surf instead of going to Soul Cycle.
The next time you feel the instinct to turn your back on the ocean and drive away, put on your wet suit and paddle out. You may just have some grateful social pack animal surfers in tow behind you.