Surfing for me, is 90% paddling, 9.5% waiting for waves, and .5% riding waves. I've been a novice surfer for about 25 years and the total amount of time I've spent actually riding waves is maybe equivalent in time to one bike lap at Wakefield. But I love it nonetheless and would be quite happy spending time every day trying to get beyond novice.
Jake, the 12-yr old
Surfing also has a "critical moment" similar to golf's (see golf blog below..), but with a more physical penalty for not succeeding. It's the moment of takeoff, after paddling up to speed, and after being lucky enough to be in the right spot to catch the wave. On small waves, the penalty is usually just a harmless fall, but on bigger waves, missing the takeoff can be quite painful.
Yesterday, after catching lots of crappy waves in the morning at Ocracoke, Jake, Ryder, and I wanted another session after we got back to Hatteras, and with a SW wind, we headed to Buxton to the Coast Guard Station north of the lighthouse. When we crested the dunes, we were amazed at the difference in size and quality of the waves here vs. those in Ocracoke where we had onshore winds messing up the surface. Tropical Storm Franklin was sending some weak pulses this way that weren't quite getting around the corner to Frisco and Ocracoke. There were only a handful of guys out, and all of them looked like experienced surfers. Ryder (the 10-year old) said he'd forgotten to bring a waterproof band-aid to cover up his stitches and so he said he'd sit out. I was somewhat relieved since it was a long paddle to get out to the break and I knew I'd have a hard time keeping track of all 3 of us in big-ish surf. Jake (the 12-year old) and I started the paddle out and it was tough. Jake eventually made it out, but I couldn't get through on my longboard. After struggling for a long time, I looked backwards and realized I was still closer to Ryder sitting on the beach than I was to the break. I headed back in and walked south around the groin and then paddled easily out right next to the groin. Should have thought of that the first time.
Anyway, the point of this now rambling post was to pat myself on the back and say that Jake and I each had 3 chances at the "critical moment", and we both made all 3. Good thing, cause it would've hurt if we'd blown the takeoffs, and we more than likely would not have been able to make the paddle back out. I paddled for, and caught 3 waves, all larger than anything I'd ridden in years and I kicked out of all of them before they closed out on me. I don't think I've ever been "3 for 3" before, and since we only had about 30 minutes for that session, that's all we had time for, and we were both quite happy to call it quits.