I live in Monterey, minutes from several great surf spots. Got a great deal on a 9/23/3 longboard and 4/3 wetsuit (I'm a big guy 6'3" 280) and I am dying to learn how to surf!! I had one lesson in Santa Cruz at Cowells, it was awesome and now I'm ready to hit the waves and have some fun!! Only problem is I get about waist deep in the water and stare at what I know aren't that big of waves but they look huge and I don't have the balls to paddle out.WTF!!! The fist day I went out I actually got out and paddled around for about 40 minutes and I've been out three times since then and not been able to bring myself to jump on my board. I'm going by myself because I'm new to the area and don't know anyone interested in learning but I'm not the only one in the water I just don't know anyone. So that brings me to my original question...Why am I such a *****???
Its like that for everyone. Even now after surfing for 7+ years when youre laying down on a board it looks a ton much more higher then the wave height really is. Im 6'3 too btw. Anyway I remember when I first started surfing my biggest fear was dropping in, I would look down the face and be like "HELL NO" and then I learned you just have to commit. If your fear is paddling out and not being able to get back in, then just ride that whitewater until you get better and maybe paddle around in a sound, lake ect. to build up arm strength on the days that its flat. Hope I helped!
Thanks for the advice! I know it's a process everyone goes through when they're first starting out and I'm not giving up it's just like Dammit!! It looks like so much fun I wanna be out paddling and wiping out and sometimes even riding one instead of psyching myself out in waist high water!!
It sounds like you aren't confident of your abilities in water. Go swim laps. Spend time in the pool until you're a stronger swimmer. Go snorkeling at your break when it's flat. So few people do this, you'd be amazed at what looking at the bottom teaches you about the wave. Go take some scuba lessons if you're not certified. Learn how to sail if you don't already. Bodysurf or bodyboard your break until getting thrown into the washing machine doesn't phase you as much. I'm not gonna lie and blow smoke up your skirt, you're at a disadvantage to those of us who started doing all this when we were kids; but don't let that discourage you. You'll get a lot stronger doing all of that, you'll be around the ocean all the time and you'll be more comfortable in the water. Commit or quit isn't just something to say. It's so key to it all. If you're not confident and don't commit to making it, you're not gonna make it out to the line up. You're not gonna make that duck dive, that drop. Your feet aren't going stick to the board. This is why people change how they eat, how much they drink, do exercises specifically for surfing, practice holding their breath. All so that at that moment that they need to be, they're confident in themselves and their abilities. Then you commit yourself to the wave. Sometimes you ride it and sometimes it rides you.
Surfing never gets easy, you just get better at it. And getting better takes a lot of commitment.
That and if you're not having fun, you're doing it wrong.
I'm not gonna lie and blow smoke up your skirt, you're at a disadvantage to those of us who started doing all this when we were kids; but don't let that discourage you.
Not exactly true. When I was about 9 y/o, I tried surfing. I hated it. I had a bad experience where I almost drowned around age 5, so at 9 I was still terrified. It would have taken a lot of work to get me around that fear. Even as a teen, I wasn't completely comfortable in the water. Now, as an adult, I feel right at home in the ocean. It has taken many days and hours out in the surf, on boats, and swimming laps to gain a level of comfort. I am now at a level where I am able to swim out to the break without a board and have no issue treading water hanging out or body surfing any wave that comes along.
OP, you are experiencing the same thing 95% of us felt when we first started surfing. Just keep getting back out there and put more hours in. Just last year, I would look at a stomach high wave and say no way. Now, stomach high waves seem gentle and easy. Don't give up!
Sounds normal to me. You will gain confidence as you build up your skill set. Waist high waves for me are still a little intimidating, I am fairly new surfer. The waves that look small from the parking lot look huge when you paddle out. Keep riding whitewater until you gain skills or the waves get small. A longboard, or at least mine can catch a 2' wave and there is no anxiety about that.
You should be intimidated by the ocean. After you gain experience and confidence in your ability and presence in the ocean, your comfort zone will widen. Try to find someone else to go out with... Ask around, you'll find someone. The best way to learn is to observe those who are better then you.
What others have said...swim, paddle, snorkel, patience, practice, committment(in terms of drops, making the wave, etc), etc...I think another part about the whole thing is you're always gonna have a "comfort zone" in terms of conditions you feel confident in...might be waist high now, but you'll end up getting pounded on a slightly larger day and realize oh that wasn't too bad...for me, the best days are when I'm taken just out of my comfort zone and I push myself to the next level. And you're not a puss, the ocean is an intimidating place, hence it's reputation as a proving ground for the spirit...i think normal folks don't realize that until they're trying to make it out and getting dumped on...stay at it, you'll be happy you did.
**sorry Swellinfo, wasn't trying to rip off your comfort zone concept, looks like we were typing at the same time.
The fact you live in California is bonus for one and ditto to what everyone else is saying.
Try popping up on your knees (or one knee) a few times before jumping to your feet (in the same sessoin). I started on a similar size board a couple years ago, it didn't have much of a rocker so I was pearling on steep waves or literally hanging off the back of the board to balance it out before I made my drop.
This is why people change how they eat, how much they drink, do exercises specifically for surfing, practice holding their breath. All so that at that moment that they need to be, they're confident in themselves and their abilities.