Sometimes when I post it's way to elegant for you readers and I'm accused of copy and pasting. So here's my advice. Don't listen to anyone in here telling you not to paddle out. Some of my best days have been paddling through 30-40 mph winds that make choppy waves but once you get out you are looking at DOH. That stands for double overhead. If you don't try you will never succeed. Just be careful.
Check out the wave next to my name... Little bit of practice and you'll be there. Practice you're duck diving patterns. Be the board..
What's the Over/Under on NJshredmachine's age? If it's over 15, I'm taking the under.
I started learning to surf a little less than a year ago as I didn't have the privilege of growing up near the ocean. A few weeks after I started I paddled out on a day that was above my ability level (head high maybe overhead with fast closeouts). I had just about made it outside when a wave broke on top of me and held me down for what felt like 30 seconds (it was probably less than 10 seconds but I didn't have very good lung capacity at the time.) The ocean has a funny way of putting you in your place. I was pretty shook up but I learned a ton of lessons that day: knowing what conditions I could and couldn't handle, respecting the ocean, and knowing I could handle taking a wave on the head.
Try to find something positive every time you go out, even if its as simple as feeling more comfortable on your board. I was out a few days ago and wasn't catching anything because of a couple converging swells and a strong current but there were dolphins jumping about 10 yards away from me which made the session amazing.
To The OP:
and ShREDMacHiNe could give you ideas on duck diving patterns...lol
Surfing is not an easy thing you just pick up, maybe if you throw up 400, down 4Loco and bang all Hindu Honeys, but for the vast majority of people it requires hours upon hours of water time. Every time you go out the conditions can and probably will be different, so it takes a lot patience.
Work on duck diving, not NJSM's patterns...getting out there is numero uno, then comes figuring out where you need to be to catch a wave, then how to know when to start paddling for the wave, foot placement on board....way too many variables....shoot for catching a wave and riding down the line, first and the rest will follow. The feeling you get when you get it good....it's irreplaceable.