Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Texas paddleout

Ah, the Texas paddleout. The one I once called "all paddle and no stoke" somewhere on this blog, long ago the last time I was in Texas. The one where the waves come at you from all directions and there are no lulls to speak of. The one that makes your arms sore the next day. Ah, the Texas paddleout. There is nothing to compare in New York, I don't think. We might have to make it past three waves to get out, max. In Texas it seems like it's about ten, it's such a long way out. And then you get pushed back and it's another ten.

It was choppy and sloppy today but sizeable and in Texas that's considered good surf. Truly I wasn't in the mood for a Texas paddleout and nearly turned back but I saw two shortboarders make it out without much difficulty and if they could, so could I!

And it wasn't really all that hard.

Once out, I caught my first wave and even though there wasn't much of a lineup---just the three of us---the shortboarder was directly in my path after I popped up perfectly and was riding down the line! I had to bail to avoid hitting him which was very disappointing. He'd seen me get the wave and knew I had nailed it so he was very apologetic. "That was a big wave too," he said. "Sorry."

No one in New York would apologize like that. It was great being admired for getting a ride on a big wave at a foreign break. It made me feel terrific. The shortboarders, a couple of young boys, continued to be friendly and even hooted for me when I made another wave. I didn't get the rides down correctly all the time but to be catching waves at a break I didn't know, on a rented board, and riding them at all, wow. Three years ago when I was at this break last I wasn't able to catch or ride anything.

I guess the waves were maybe shoulder high. It was a bit of a challenge to figure out where they were breaking but I did.

The sun even came out and the day warmed up like summer.

I got pushed back a few times and Texas-paddled-out again, but I must be stronger or something because it turns out my arms didn't hurt at all the next day.

It was just glorious to make it out when I doubted myself, make waves and have other people see him make them, have fun on a day that had started out cold and foggy and with me feeling like crap. I was able to just focus on the waves and then the next waves and that is a great thing to do when you feel crappy or stressed, it turns your mind right around. Surfing, bless its heart (despite what I've said elsewhere on this blog,) is just what it is and nothing else; it requires your full attention lest you should get smacked in the head. I didn't get smacked.

It's great to have that "Yes I can" competent feeling about surfing (especially when you don't feel competent about much else in life at the time) and to be seen as competent by others when the length of this blog attests to how difficult that has been.

I didn't even want to come out at all but eventually I was in dire need of lunch so I had to. I ate a whole pizza and spent the rest of the day lying on the beach and then in the hot tub watching a beautiful Texas sunset. Yeah, it was 78 degrees. In January. Sometimes surfing can really save your life.


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