During the summer, sometimes, I surf until the sun has just set. I have done sessions that lasted a bit longer than that, in which case, I had to paddle in with a guide of lights on the street or cars, but that's really rare. I don't think that's very safe to do that, though I have even hard of night surfing under the full moon, and there even are some places that let you surf under artificial light. I guess if there is a will, there will be a way. Back to these summer sessions, though, there will always be one or two surfers that would start to get in just when I thought there is no more light left, and if it is left, it would not be any more than the next 20-30 minutes!
I have been thinking about quality vs. quantity thing for the past few weeks. Now that I am working again full time, I my time to surf is either at the start of a day, or at the end of a day unless I am off. So I have been opting for dawn patrol, and I think I will be in this mode for some time. Actually I have became somewhat of a late morning person in the recent months, so I end up getting there and only get to do a 45-minute session.
But would a 45-minute or even 30-minute session just too short to be worthwhile? In my case, I think it would well worth it, because two things. The first and foremost is the whole experience of surfing, and as I surf more and more, I start to really appreciate and miss being inside the water world. It is totally a different medium, the texture of the water under my paddling hands, the floating feel, and going through the water, and just sitting quietly in the outside is just something that I don't get tired of experiencing. That's really a high quality experience no matter which break I choose to go. I am not bothered by the crowd at all any more. Even if I did not catch a wave on a given session, I just am happy that I have been there for a part of my day, and also I pick waves that I like, they are usually small and easy, and in high quality shapes. Sometimes they can be big, but still they are in high quality shapes. Then if I take a nice ride in one, that's just a bonus.
Also, from the physical and mental stand-point of surfing, you can also take advantage of a limited-time session. I have competed several times, and I have realized that I can actually do better under some pressure, like a limited time in a heat. On a limited time session, I know there will be an end shortly, and then I would like to paddle and keep moving around, a strategy that is clearly required for a highly skilled surfer. So if I know I am only going to surf for 45 minutes, then I kind of set myself a bit of goal to make sure that I will do my best within that time limit, and that's fun too. So, if someone gives me 20 minutes to surf, no problem, I think I would still go in for both the experience of it and for improving my surfing skills.