When I first began surfing, I was more comfortable near a sandbar, just in case I needed to feel something that wasn’t moving as much as I did on top of my board. Deep water seemed scary. Even now, it’s fun to launch my board from a standing position when my paddling arms give out. Reasonably flat sandy beaches make that easy.
But you need to know there’s a downside to getting too comfortable in the shallows. A big one.
I’m typing this today from my sofa with my left foot propped up on an ice pack.
This morning our local break was nearly nonexistent. One-to-two foot waves breaking nearly onshore at high tide, and just enough activity on the outside to make us hopeful for some peelers when the tide headed out. But, as usual, we had no time to wait. This was the second time this weekend we had made it out. Yesterday’s trip up the coast had taken a good part of the day, leaving little time left before weekend chores came calling. We were at the beach, therefore we would surf whatever we found. We’re tough that way. Big or small, we’ll surf it all–or at least try.
There weren’t a lot of waves to choose from, so we did our best to choose those that weren’t overhead shore pound and hoped for the best. We each found a few, but there was really no choice but to ride them to shore…into the very shallow water. We’re experienced at this, but as each of us caught a wave, the others kept an eye open to make sure the landings went well. For the most part they did, but we each took a tumble or two. We left after an hour or so, confident we had conquered all the waves there were to be had and happy to enjoy water warm enough to wear wetsuits sans booties.
On the way home, I noticed a twinge in my ankle. I vaguely remembered a particularly awkward jump off my board which didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. A couple of hours later, here I sit, ankle on ice.
It’s been a while since I’ve had a surf related injury. Most of time they were accidents. This was too, but totally preventable.