I agree with the posted statements on the crucial nature of learning to duck-dive. One thing which really pisses me off is when I am out on larger east coast days and people bail with their boards.I can only rationalize this situation if the wave is about to impact directly on-top of yourself.I have had this happen to me a few times last year during Earl and Danielle. The One thing surfing in larger waves has taught me is to hold onto your board no matter what . The first time I was ever scared surfing was when I was 16 in 99' right before Floyd came though. S-turns was firing and I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I remember actually being extremely scared after making it into the lineup. I still get butterflies in waves around 10ft.
Am I the only idiot who learned to surf first time in 32 degree water with 5mm of rubber head to toe on a shortboard in 6ft barrels?
HAHA! No, your not alone. Pretty sure the thought of "How hard can it be?" crossed my mind, which was promptly answered by a 6 footer to the top of my head. Yup, felt pretty stupid.
To the OP, just gotta dig down and paddle your brains out to get into the wave early. Head high gets the butterfly's going for me and I still hesitate to go. Anything plus and I'll stay on land and take photos. Just keep at it, anything worth doing is never easy.
I think Dave's right... accept your fear. Listen to the voice inside your head that tells you when to go and challenge yourself, and when to wait for the conditions to change. It's been said a thousand times... "know your limits."
There's a difference between taking a calculated risk and doing something stupid. Taking a calculated risk means you're pushing yourself past the fear because you know you're physically and mentally capable of handling a worst case scenario on any given day. Doing something stupid means you're putting yourself and others at serious risk of injury... or worse. Don't do that to yourself or the people around you who may be moved (for whatever reason) to try to assist you.
For me, getting comfortable in big surf took years and years of practice and training... and I still get scared. That never goes away, and it shouldn't. Fear can motivate you... give you the shot of adrenaline you need to make it through a sketchy situation... and give you the rush your looking for when you do make it. If you're not afraid, you've lost respect for the power of the ocean, and it's only a matter of time until you do something stupid.
dude, first of all i give you total respect for paddling out in bigger waves after only 4 months. I'm always the guy telling my buds "no guts, no glory" when i'm out there BUT I keep a level head and always have an escape plan set up.
I've eaten dozens of waves and have had my heart in my thought too many times to count but its part of the process and believe me it will get easier. Keep it going mate!