You can’t make it if you don’t try

may 10 surf photo 2I work at a surf shop and during the day we show surf video’s. There was one recently where they showed a guy who had lost a leg and who’s hip was badly deformed surfing on his one good knee. When asked about how he felt about surfing that way in large surf he responded by saying, “I was very intimidated out there but you’ll never know what you can or can’t do if you never try and in the end it was fun”.

Those words were both absolutely spot on and hit a chord in me. With all of the tropical storms that have hit our area within the last month we have received some pretty intense swells that offered large, steep and hollow shore breaks. To say it was intimidating to throw my aging body down into those beast would be an understatement. On a few days it seemed as though the success rate of actually making the drop and out onto the shoulder was about 30% for most of us mortals out there.

Certainly I took my share of poundings but somehow I convinced myself to keep going for it. There was this hope that the smaller waves would be easier to navigate but unfortunately it was generally the bigger sets waves that were steep enough to catch. Thus the dilemma. Do I let them pass me by or at least give them a go.

In such situations I have found that you can’t half go for a wave. You have to fully commit and have faith in your ability or either miss the wave or possibly take an even worse beating. As the guy in the video said, you won’t know what you can accomplish unless you try.

This came true for me when one of the biggest waves of the session approached. It was big, steep and I knew I would have to drop in just under the lip and possibly get hammered. I decided to go for it anyway. Somehow I managed to make the drop and cut right just ahead of the crashing lip whereupon I got fully barreled. The speed took me back out onto the shoulder and headed for another barrel. Two barrel rides, at least for me, are a very rare phenomenon and I couldn’t wait to enter it.

As I entered it from the backside it gave every indication that it would hold up so I charged into it frothing at the mouth. Unfortunately, about half way through it collapsed and I got rolled pretty good.

Sure I got my butt handed to me but in no way did it take away from the thrill I experienced during that ride and the feeling afterwards of the accomplishment. Sure my old body hurt for days afterwards but it was battle wounds that I’ll gladly deal with for the sake of a good session.

Bottom line, I never would have had such a great thrill if I had backed away from that wave and in truth, in looking back at my life, it was after taking leaps of faith and going for things that were either scary or difficult that I was able to find the best success or at the very least learn from.

Sure there have been too many times during my life to count where I was not successful in either life, endeavors  or surfing but winning and financial success, I do not believe, are the best measures of a successful life. Instead, I believe it is all about the journey, getting out of our comfort zone, doing our best, enjoying what we do and the process and of trying to make the world and ourselves a better place that should be the measure of ones life.

Thanks for checking in this week and I hope you have been kept safe from the storms and going for it in your own lives.

Aloha, Paul


About authorpaulhayden

Author, artist, screenwriter, environmentalist. husband, father, surfer, surfing instructor, volunteer.
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