Reflecting on a moment, reflecting on an action, reflecting on an emotion and reflecting on the reason can be a means to get back on track.
I had paddled out with an over amplified level of stress, it was busy and the vibe was pretty hectic. It was at my local break and it seemed like everybody wanted a wave right there and then. The trouble was so did I, I had to get a wave, one wave and it felt like my life depended on it.
I joined the pack and began hustling for a wave, I stopped, I was in position, I turned and paddled, but so did the guy inside of me up the line who had just had a wave, he’d paddled back past me into the deeper spot and this annoyed me right there and then. It was my wave because in my mind I had claimed it, I just needed one to settle me down and did not care that others might have been waiting too.
I paddled aggressively, making it obvious that I was going no matter what, I got to my feet and watched as a long left lined up and unravelled itself in front of me and then It happened. Out of habit, I glanced right and spotted the poo-stanced, pop-out riding kook coming down the line toward me. I did the honourable thing and pulled out, I could have kept going but that’s not me on the majority of occasions.
Instead I raised my hands in the air and shouted “C..T”.
People shot me bemused looks, a friend made a comment and I was instantly embarrassed and quite rightly so. The guy had done nothing wrong. I felt stupid, and pretty ashamed of myself. The guy was not the problem; it was my own emotions. I should not have paddled out that day, but I felt annoyed that this one guy had the right to have two waves on the trot. So what, I’ve done it loads of times, I’d paddled past the pack this day and chose my spot, so I asked myself did this happen for a reason?
On reflection, to feel embarrassed, stupid and angry when out surfing goes against everything that surfing is all about. I suppose when paddling out with these emotions surfing has the ability to help if you let it. I was trying too hard, being impatient and chasing respite. If I learnt any valuable lessons that day it would be patience and humility must go hand in hand with surfing. For myself, letting go of a lot of unnecessary stresses are the result of that moment in time.
I can surf, I am happy with my surfing, surfing is part of me, I do not need every wave that comes along and nor should I. Feeling angry, stressed and emotional are good reasons to paddle down the beach a little, finding some solitude and space is the better option. I never wanted to bring my negativity into other peoples day but I did and it affected me more than them, I looked stupid, they looked at me in the same vain as I look at people when their behaving like an idiot, so in fact, rather than take your stress out on others in the surf, go for a bike ride instead.