Looking back, I can appreciate what it took to take those first few waves. I learned a lot more than just how to stand up on a moving surfboard and take a ride. I found out my competitive spirit was alive and I still had a little balance left in this 40+ year old body. I also learned that the years had finally taught me patience (which probably surprised my mother even more than me).
Unless something drastic happens, like me winning the lottery and paying Kelly Slater or Laird Hamilton to be my personal surf trainer 24/7, I will never be a big wave surfer. The small 2′-3’s, with occasional 4’s sets are fine by me. But that’s okay. It took time, but I accomplished what I set out to do. I learned to ride waves and enjoy the ocean again. The friends I made were a great bonus.
Next time you’re out and you see someone paddling furiously only to miss the wave, pearling their board, or executing a popup that looks like they are crawling across the living room floor, think back. You were there too once upon a time. (If you’re like me, some days you still are.) Don’t judge them on their ability, or lack of. Look at the determination in their eyes and the smile on their face.