I didn’t realize that if people don’t surf (or who haven’t spent a lot of time around people that surf) it’s hard for them to realize that surfing always comes first. I only realised this last year. A friend was staying with my husband and I, and I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was enough for me to have to explain exactly that, surfing is first, then all other activities can take place. It kind of shocked me that this needed to be explained! I never even thought that it would occur to other people that surfing isn’t a number one priority!
I figure a lot of people that read my blog, or look at my Instagram, may wonder about me and surfing.
It isn’t because it’s what I’m the best at (I’m not). It isn’t because it’s more fun (it is). It’s because getting the right conditions to surf isn’t as easy as, “I feel like surfing, let’s go”. The waves have to be the right size, the wind has to be calm or blowing (lightly) offshore. The conditions can change in an instant, if it’s good now that doesn’t mean it will be good later.
The same friend asked “Well, what time are you surfing?” That seems like an easy question, and sure, I can give you a time. I might go to check the surf at 9am, and if it’s good, I’ll head out. But if the first spot I check doesn’t look good, I will have to go on a ‘surf check’ and drive up and down the coast looking for the ideal spot to surf. (Then, generally head back to the first place I’ve checked!) If I do find a spot that’s up to my standards (and after traveling and living in some amazing surf destinations, I think my standards can be pretty high) then who knows how long I will surf for? If everything is perfect I’ll stay out for hours, until I get hungry, and if the waves continue to be good and not crowded with other people, I’ll get food, and head back out. If it’s not the best day for surfing, but I haven’t been out for awhile I could head out for half an hour to “get some exercise”.
I’ve just realised that I never had to answer questions like these until now because since I started surfing I generally had surrounded myself with people of similar interests. There was never any question of what we would do on a day off, we go and check the surf. If it’s no good, then we find something else to do. In a way, it is very similar to running. If you aren’t friends with runners and they want you to have a big night out before your long run, they will look at you strangely when you say you can’t.
I surfed first, then I started running. I started running in Florida, which has terrible waves (don’t let anyone tell you otherwise – I think in the four years I lived there I had amazing surf twice!), this meant that I didn’t worry about missing out on surfing if I went for a run. Now, I live in Hawaii, and if the surf is good, I want to surf! This isn’t very conducive to my running training, as I can be exhausted from paddling for hours.
However, this isn’t going to stop me from surfing. I don’t care if I never get a Boston Qualifying time. Surfing is the one thing that will always win… It’s the sport where I can have the most fun. There is no better feeling than being in the ocean.