I used to be a pretty determined guy on a skateboard. I would try tricks for hours, endless attempts, over and over. Usually my friends would stand on, watching, often video taping the tries. As I've scanned those old clips, I've apologized for making them do that; but at the time, all I wanted was to land that trick. Even though I probably took it too far, I look back on that time as character-developing -- it's good to be persistent, and skateboarding was where I learned that.

Now, an older Rick who still skateboards has chilled out a bit. I've learned that beating my body and getting frustrated over a skateboard trick isn't as important as it used to be. It makes my sessions more relaxing, but sometimes I lament the fervor with which I used to skate. But sometimes this relaxed approach to boardsports goes a little too far. Sometimes you need to push yourself, and today was one such day.

Glove box fix for a broken toe.
I broke my toe about a month ago surfing, and so most of my activities have screeched to a halt. A week ago I tried for a session at Dockweiler and after four waves decided my toe was too injured to stay out. This week, my family took a trip down to Carlsbad, where I've never surfed. We're receiving a little swell that is supposed to dissipate as the week goes on, and so I wanted to paddle out now, even though it's only been a week since my last painful attempt. I wore booties this time, so at least I'm taking some precautions.

All of that is to say that I am rather out of shape at the moment, and for the first 15-20 minutes of my surf I struggled. I couldn't catch my breath, my arms felt heavy and my body wasn't reacting quickly in the cold water. On top of that, the waves were smallish and the water was rather choppy. As a result, I nearly paddled in after just a couple closeouts.

But as the thought passed through my head, something shifted. I was reminded of those days when I would stick to a trick for hours on end. Surfing is kind of my new skateboarding, and though progression has been slow, I am still learning new things. I asked myself if maybe this was the kind of session I need to stick with, learn how the waves were breaking, figure it out. And so I did. The waves broke fast, and I kept leaning too far back and falling -- okay, that's easily corrected. There were weird cross-currents and backwash hitting the sets -- that's a little harder to adjust for, but something to look after.

So I stuck it out for another half-hour or so, and you know what? It wasn't a great session. However, my 32 year-old body did push through that ever-increasing warm-up phase, and by the end of it, I felt pretty good. I did find myself a little more comfortable on a break that was as wild as a windy East Coast day, though I never quite caught a good wave. Still, I was proud of myself for sticking with it. It reminded me of those old days on the skateboard, never quitting.

However, on my last wave in, I caught my toe on a weird angle and reinjured it. I'm icing it now as I write this. So take that for what it is...a relentless approach doesn't come without setbacks I suppose, but I would argue it is worthwhile.