‘Tis the season, so when the Mrs. could get me out of the water, I went to a couple of parties this weekend. Luckily, I’ve never met a free drink I didn’t like. It was my wife’s family/social circle and out of everyone at two different parties, only two other people had paddled out this weekend. One was F.I.L. who was surfing the Slough (yuck, too much rain for me to surf the Tijuana River). The other was some dude originally from some place in NorCal near the Oregon border, I can’t recall his name; but at least we had something in common to talk about. He told me a great story about surfing one day and having an Orca start swimming around him. Scared the ber-jaysus out of him. There were quite a few people who identified themselves as surfers, guys I’ve surfed with before even; and not one had paddled out for what was the best surf since September and possibly the whole year. “Hey man, did you get out?” “No, *insert reason*.” In a town full of surfers!?!
Man, we’ve all got reasons not to paddle out. A honey-do list so long it looks like Santa’s. Carpet weasels that need to be played with. Side projects, books to read, etc. I’ve had a blank shaped for a 6+ weeks that needs a weekend’s worth of glassing and BLAMMO, new board. But, you sink 4 to 8 hours into surfing every weekend, seems like just doing the chores ‘round the casa, making it to the grocery and cooking the weekend meals are big accomplishments. Which on top of the pre-work, dawn patrol during the week, generates a bit of resentment from a spouse who “gets it”, but she don’t surf, so she don’t really “get it.” Every so often it can be too much for her.
I think I broke my big toe running down the cliff 8 days ago or at least sprained it really, really badly. More than a week later, it’s purple still, the whole foot was bruised up and is now that nasty, post-bruise, green/brown and Mr.Stubby is kind of at a wonky angle, but that could just be the swelling, which still hasn’t gone away. When it happened, since I was at the bottom of the cliff and there were waves, I paddled out for a couple of hours. I figured why go home and waste the ice when I can stick it in the 58 degree Pacific. It hasn’t kept me out of the water. Luckily it’s my left foot, back foot would be a prob.
Just as I was paddling out on Saturday morning I saw a fly. It hovered in front of the nose of my board, just a few inches off the surface. Behind it, a 4 foot high white wash was heading towards it (and me). It looked so small in front of all that water, which just kept getting closer and closer. A little black pixel in a giant field of white static. Something so fragile, in a place that it had no business being in. And, right before it was going to get swallowed by an avalanche of water, it took off and disappeared and I dived under a wave for the first time that day and paddled out. I read they closed the Ocean Beach pier on Saturday.
All of which brings me to my point, I didn’t go surfing today. Just wasn’t motivated, I suck. I think I ate something funky at the party yesterday; the Mrs. was talking to Chuck this morning and I don’t mean Charles Schwab, but somehow I dodged that bullet (if you throw a party, don’t poison your guests, least she ain’t knocked up). The surf just looked uninspiring after the weekend and I’m bone tired. It’s still sprinkling. It was dark and grey out this morning. It’s cold (relatively, my apologies to everyone who actually surfs in cold water). My foot hurts. The days are too short. I have lots of work to do and I needed to get an early start ‘cause it’s Monday. My wetsuit’s still damp. So many social engagements, so little time.
Lame excuses all. I should have just gone surfing and I’m kicking myself for not having done just that. Maybe sometimes a lack of motivation is what we need to get motivated again. Moments like seeing that fly hovering in the surf keep me motivated. That and the adrenaline. So, what keeps you motivated to paddle out?
waves motivate me, plain and simple. i've been missing sessions lately, for real reasons, not due to it being cloudy and cold out, tummy aches, or lack of motivation. reasons like darkness at 4:30PM, flatness when I'm working, and being at waveless locations traveling for holidays or work are holding me back. i monitor the forecasts, every single day. i'm itching to get back in the water. if i had a chance to surf at all the past month and a half, i would have been on it like white on rice.
get it while you can because you could get run over by a car and POOF, no more surfing.
In all seriousness, motivation comes from within. You either have it or you don't. You can control this motivation, just as you can control your attitude. It's a choice, one you have to make each day you wake up (god willing). I find that I get motivated at the thought of not being ready for "the big swell" when and if it finally does come.
I don't want to end up making the walk of shame because I couldn't make it out due to lack of fitness, or lack of water time / experience. I've been there before and refuse to go back, the thought of not being adequate enough for the waves is a driving force. I like knowing that any time I paddle out, I'M READY. Since I don't get out every day, it's very important to me to be ready by the weekend each week, so every Monday I start my preparation for what may occur on Saturday / Sunday, or the occasional after work session when it's actually possible to get out.
When I am successful at paddling out into tougher conditions it validates everything I did the prior week or two to be prepared, and my motivation continues in a perpetual motion. It never stops, as each wave caught leads to more motivation for the next one. It's a cycle that I’ve managed to stay focused on and it's never going to end, so long as I have arms that work and a board to float on.