There’s a saying in surfing that the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun.  That’s true, but I’d also argue that the surfer having the most fun is the best surfer.

This morning over breakfast Jason and I were having the progression vs. fun discussion.  I’ve blogged about it before, but the gist is that on a week trip you need to decide how to spend your time in the water.  The options are:

  1. Focusing on wave count and maximizing surfing time (Fun)
  2. Purposefully drilling on specific skills, surfing outside your comfort zone, and working to get better (Progression)

In the first journal about the progression vs. fun decision I didn’t give adequate motivation to focus on progression.  While you can have fun at any level in the sport, surfing at a higher level is much more fun.

Would you rather drive a minivan or a Formula 1?

Here are a few moments you don’t get at the beginning of the learning curve.  I hope they provide motivation to work hard and improve.

  • Late drops – Taking off late on a steep wave gets heart pumping.  Looking over the ledge, not sure if you’ll make it, but knowing you’ve got a shot, then making it.
  • Fast, high lines – Once you’ve mastered trim and pumping there’s nothing more fun that high-lining a walled up section.  Stuck in no man’s land with the lip pitching out in front of you and not enough time to get to the bottom – then making it.
  • Huge bottom turns – Making the drop on a good sized wave and putting everything on rail, paddle bending but holding, fins holding and slingshotting at the lip.
  • Lip-line floaters – Flying down the wave, coming off of a high-line section and riding the breaking lip line down, it feels like jumping down a set of stairs, but with a foaming monster chasing you.
  • Barrels – I probably could have just listed barrels.  If you’ve listened to Keahi’s podcast, you heard him say it’s his favorite moment on anything he rides.  It’s mine too.  Words can’t describe it, so I won’t try.  But it’s worth all the work and time and expense.  And it’s more fun than almost anything else on the planet.

I won’t say that beginning the learning curve in a surfing sport isn’t fun.  Catching your first waves, making your first lines – it’s all magic.  I’m having a blast watching my kids go through the experience.  And it’s good that you have to go though all the steps to get there, because if you just went out and pulled into a big barrel on your first day, unprepared mentally by years of practice , your mind explode.

So, value to process, and know the best awaits.

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