25 January 2006

Longboarding Builds Character

What makes me make such a bold statement? Well, I went out today at a spot that scares the shit out of me. I knew I was going to get worked. I knew, in essence, I would once again be out there paying my dues. Now I'll back up and start at the beginning. CYT and I were determined to surf today. As of last night, I couldn't figure out where to go. I'd looked at the surf reports for that day. I'd checked all of the pictures I could find. Yesterday, from what I could tell, it was flat up and down the coast (obviously with secret pockets with waves here and there). I didn't even think we'd go out today. I told her to call me in the morning. That would allow me to check the surf reports when I got up. Again, from what I could tell, it was flat in most spots. However, El Porto was said to be at two to three feet. So, we decided that's where we'd go. Normally, we surf 26th Street when we're down there. It seems to be the spot where most of the longboarders go. Well, that spot was flat too. Then CYT looked north, saw that there were definitely waves further up the beach, and suggested we head to that spot . . . the spot I consider the real El Porto. (I don't even know if 26th Street is considered El Porto by everyone else.) I immediately started trying to come up with reasons not to go down there. Finally, I decided we should just go. Once we got there, I was not at all happy. I was not looking at two to three foot waves. And the sets were putting the fear of God into me. It wasn't huge. But it was El Porto, dammit. That place scares me. It always has. It scared me even before I started surfing. I'd ride by on my bike on big days and marvel at the waves. Once I started surfing and understanding what I was seeing in the water, it scared me even more!!! Yet here we were, looking at set waves that were overhead. CYT knew I was scared. But she said something that surprised me. She was amazed by the fact that I will allow myself to be scared and then face the thing that scares me head-on. She said she will not allow herself to be scared. Interesting. I don't know how not to be fearful about things. I'm simply able to subjugate my fears and go on about my life. I thought everyone did that. It never occurred to me that you could actually keep yourself from being scared. Anyway, she went on to say that this ability is what makes me a strong person. Huh? Me? What's funny is that by the time we were done with the conversation, I was already preparing myself to go out there and do battle with both my fear and the waves. I never EVER thought I'd surf that part of El Porto. And I KNEW I wouldn't be surfing it on a longboard. I mean, it's not like you can duck-dive that thing. But I put my game face on, cleared my head, and went in. I was determined to do it.

The first amazing thing that happened was my dry hair paddle out. That was unbelievable. Somehow I timed everything perfectly and made it out to the line-up. Then I amazed myself by going for waves. I got a few rides. I don't remember them. All I remember is coming to terms with the break that scares me to death. I got worked. I got scared. I got caught in the impact zone during a big set. I got into complete oxygen debt (to the point of thinking I would drown once the next set wave crashed on top of me). I didn't drown. I did have the presence of mine to belly into the inside, hang out there while I caught my breath, and then paddle back out for more. What was so shocking about the session was that CYT went in and I stayed out. That never happens! But she wasn't feeling it today and I was. So I went back for more. Of course, then the ocean calmed down a lot. I waited for at least 10 minutes for my one last wave. When it didn't materialize, I started paddling in. Then a small wave formed behind me. I easily caught it and took it all the way to shore. I got out of the water triumphant. It wasn't that I'd surfed El Porto on a big day. Frankly, it wasn't that big. (It wasn't that small either.) It was that I'd surfed El Porto without giving into my fear. As a result, it was a breakthrough session. Each time I face a fear in the water and conquer it, my surfing improves. Once I realize I can do a thing I thought I'd never do, I lose some of the inhibitions that often stifle me in the water.

5 Comments:

At 1/26/06, 1:49 PM, Blogger Whiffleboy said...

Good for you, Sis! It's great to hear you're 1) tackling the fearsome stuff and 2) hitting up El Porto. That place is a love/hate thing with me. Always seems to strike anxiety in me for some reason. Guess cuz I've been worked there so many times. :-)

We need to surf again. I want to see you out on that 7'0.

 
At 1/26/06, 2:56 PM, Blogger Alan_M said...

There ya go Sis, you can't fail unless you try. Take that attitude wherever you go and apply it (wihin reason, of course, I don't think I'll be tackling Maverick's anytime soon) and you'll surprise yourself, boost your confidence and abilites all in shot. Good for you!

 
At 1/27/06, 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

come on sis, it was small out.

 
At 1/27/06, 6:51 AM, Blogger Surfsister said...

I think I said it wasn't big. It was the set waves that had some size and I've surfed bigger waves than that . . . but not at El Porto.

 
At 1/30/06, 1:03 AM, Blogger elsegundolocal said...

El Porto is fast, steep, and unpredictable. Nothing good about that when you have a canoe under you. Congrats on having a good sesh, just make sure you keep going out there. Grew up bodyboarding El Porto, just started surfing it this last summer. Totally different story. Many times heard of paddle outs in the winter that take over 40 minutes, so good thing you got some love from the ocean...

 

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