I chose fear as my first blog topic because….
Fear is what holds me back the most in my surfing. I recently pulled back on three super sick waves (that for some reason I cant get out of my mind, I just keep playing them in my head on repeat)
I feel if you aren't putting yourself in a position where you are getting out of your comfort zone, you aren't going to improve, not just in surfing, but in other aspects of life as well.
Fear comes to people in all different ways in surfing. It may be just diving under a wave for the first time, or fear of turtle rolling or a fear of wiping out and getting hurt. As surf instructors, these are things we can teach and guide you through. However, when you begin surfing on your own, the best advice I can give you is to COMMIT! Commit to dropping in, to paddling out, commit to getting out your comfort zone and take a few wipeouts. Most the time it’s really not that bad, and believe it or not, sometimes it’s good to just get worked and get it out of the way.
Every time you hesitate in surfing you get WORKED! Hesitation is your enemy, and for some reason, the waves I let pass by or chicken out on are the ones that I can’t seem to forget. It doesn’t matter if you are catching a one foot wave or a eight foot wave, find your inner beast and go for it, let go of the fear and COMMIT.
Here is a super sick wave I should have easily pulled into and gotten spat out of, and fortunately, it’s caught on film so I can watch how I chickened out over and over.
A few things to help you let go of your fear:
If you can, surf with a buddy! Having someone at a similar level as you will help in the water. You can push each other in a positive way.
Choose your waves wisely, don't catch the first wave of the set! If you get out to the line up and realize it is way, way too big for you, don't worry, wait for the sets to roll by, then paddle inside as fast as you can and try and catch a smaller wave to shore.
Know your surroundings. Before you paddle out, look for rips or channels. Take a moment to observe where the sets are breaking. Watch the waves for a bit and then make a plan.
Surf etiquette - make sure you know and understand the rules out there in the line up.
Just because all the surfers are on one peak doesn't always mean that's where you should surf (especially at beach breaks). Lots of times the waves are just as good or better right up or down the beach.
Don't forget to communicate in the line up. Even if you are just a beginner surfer, when you have the right of way, don't let people bully you out of waves. Simply say “I am going…” and yell out the direction you are going. A smile and hello in the line up goes a long way. Hoot for people that get sick waves!
Lastly, we are all out surfing because we love it right? The goal is to have fun! So get out there and catch some waves.