I surf since I was 14 years old. I am not a pro, but I am good enough to have fun. Nothing (apart from my wife, daughter, family and friends – of course) makes me happier. I love it.
Last month, I got into Stand Up Paddle (SUP) surfing. The minute I took off on my first wave, it was love at first ride. If you ever wanted to have a go on one, I strongly recommend you do it.
Anyway, here is why I got inspired to write…
The waves were beautiful that morning, glassy and long. Perfect conditions for SUP surfing and longboarding. When I spotted the outside, I dreamt at riding those waves, I could see myself sliding them all the way into the inside.
Started paddling out, the first wave came along and bang! The next thing I knew I was under water. A few seconds later, the same thing happened. And again, and again, and again, and again… I simply could not stand up. The excitement turned into frustration as I was being smashed almost non-stop. 15 minute latter, I finally got to the outside. After a few unsuccessful attempts of getting the waves (almost 30 minutes of unsuccessful attempts), I almost headed back to the beach. Although, I decided to stay a little longer.
The decision to stick to it had somehow helped me to put my head back in the right place. Slowly, I adjusted my weight on the board, regained balance and watched my frustration turn into a lesson. A few more falls, but I had gotten used to it, even stood up quicker than before.
Suddenly, I spotted a set on the outside. I start paddling like a maniac towards it and, when I passed the first wave of the set, I started turning my board towards the biggest one (second waves of the set were bigger that morning), but I fell again while turning. The moment I was under water, I heard a voice out loud inside my head saying: ” F**K NO!!! I am getting this wave ”. So I quickly stood up and paddled as fast as I could. Another surfer try cutting me off, but I didn’t care, that wave was mine… And then it happened, a beautiful sensation only known to surfers, I slid on that glassy, majestic and smooth water wall. It was the best wave I ever surfed on a SUP. I was deliriously happy!
Surfing is the best analogy I can come up with to the importance of persistence. The ocean is a great resilience teacher. It teaches you the value of showing up and sticking to it. The value of discipline and the rewards it brings you.
When learning to surf, you have to show up almost daily. Surf in cold, windy and stormy weather. You need to get used with being bashed by waves, pushed and pulled by strong current, get used to surfing shallow waters with, sometimes, rocky or reef bottom. You need to paddle, paddle and paddle until your arms wear off.
Learning to surf is very much like starting a business or pursuing a lifelong of meaningful work. At first, everything seems like a dream. However, we quickly find out it isn’t as easy as it seems. We may get smashed, pushed and pulled. We may experience frustration and pain. We may get exhausted. We may make lots of mistakes. We may fall and fall again. But we must stick to it, even if just for a little longer. And most importantly, we must keep paddling and never give up before experiencing the RIDE OF A LIFETIME!
I will leave you with a short clip from one of my favourite Surf Movies. I hope it inspires you to go surfing.
Happy shipping (or surfing)
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