Saturday, March 24, 2007
I had a great trip to the southern part of Mexico March 12 through 20th. I cannot tell you exactly where I was, but please check out the pictures.
In this area, all paddle outs to breaks are at least 5 minutes. They break way way out in the middle of the ocean. Especially at my strength and being on a short board. In most places I hang around here in nor-cal, we just paddle out for a minute and take 2-second rides.
I did try a long board, that made an enormous difference in terms of how quickly I can get out to the break.
On this trip, it was also the first time I tried "boat surfing" where we got dropped off in the ocean to go surfing rather than paddling out. You don't really gain much other than the convenience of getting there. You still need to paddle back out after a ride, and there were some moments when I through I'd never make it back to the boat, as I was severely caught inside.
But a week of long paddling did some good for me. One thing was that I learned to focus more at each job at hand.
Sometimes, especially when I am caught inside or swept by current, a fear sets in. I am paddling and paddling, all tired, and seems to get nowhere but the same place, or sometimes, it seems to be moving in the other direction, not winning the current or the crashing white water.
It is often the case that other more experienced surfers would go right passed me in the same water, they are all relaxed, smiling and making good progress, when I could be all in panic.
What works the best when this happens is to forget about the destination, but just focus on a work at hand, which is paddling. Am I stroking deep, and steady? Am I making each stroke steady? Am I breathing deep and good to supply the oxygen into my muscles?
I don't even look at where I want to go constantly. If I do, that's when the panic sets in. I just look at a few bubbles in front of me and see I am going past that. If I know see that I am going past each of the bubble then I know I am moving forward, so I just let the other worries go and really focus on just paddling.
By doing this, I'd often make to the outside even before I realize. I really like the transition from the inside to the outside. It suddenly calms down and become peaceful. It is kind of like living a real life with a lot of turmoils, and if I keep my focus, I can get through, and before I know it, things get easier. The more I practice this, I also gain more confidence and be more relaxed to handle the situation.
For many of you that just started surfing, I am the guy that passed you by all relaxed and smiling while you were struggling to paddle out, and looking all panicked.
For many of you that have been surfing, I am the guy that you passed by me while I was struggling to paddle out, and looking all panicked. You looked all relaxed and confident.