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The Dilemma of Surfing (Tiny Surf 2)

Years ago I wrote one of my favorite pieces on the joys of surfing tiny waves. All this time later, I'm still having new experiences that support the same thesis: it's not the size of the wave that matters, but the fun you can have on any wave.

I decided to write on our calendar every time I surf this year, just to get a gauge of how much I'm surfing. Early in January, I wrote my first mark with pride -- a good start to the year -- and then didn't surf for about five months...I had an ear infection and some subsequent stubborn fluid in my head, causing several doctor visits, including an order to not surf until I figured it out. Follow that up with COVID-19 and closed beaches, and it's easy to imagine how such an atrocity could occur.

First surf of the year: January 2nd
In May my first session back was a scary night surf at Leo Carillo with my good friend Russell, which was instigated because I wanted to surf the bioluminescent algae phenomenon that was hitting Southern California. It was like surfing in the movie Tron, but that's another blog post.


A few weeks later, and I'm finally falling back into a routine of surfing 1-3 times per week, which is a pretty workable and balanced amount for a family man like myself. One of the early sessions in this new series was a late afternoon surf at the typically less-than-remarkable Hermosa Beach. I used to surf there often when I lived in Redondo, as it was a direct drive from our place, but it was always more of a consolation than a preference.

Mitchel, Aaron and I paddled out into surf that I admittedly almost skipped for lack of size. The reports and cameras showed horrible, mushy, small surf; but when a friend asks you to go, sometimes you do it just for the fellowship. Unbeknownst to me, I was showing up for a really fun surf session, likened to the one that inspired the Tiny Surf blog I referenced earlier.

My second session back from quarantine with new friend Josh.

I caught a ton of waves that day riding the Wavestorm, official board of tiny surf. But instead of beach break closeouts, these were often long rights and lefts, allowing me to pump the wave or cruise low and slow. Mix that with two good friends also having a fun session, and it was a beautiful day of surf.

Out on the water I remarked to Mitchel, "We'll drive an hour-and-a-half to surf north Malibu and only catch two waves. I come out here and I'm catching twenty. What's up with that?" The answer is obvious in a way: we can't surf tiny waves forever, and so a long drive in pursuit of the heavier stuff is always necessary for progression and adventure. The fallacy of it all, however, is when you get a taste of those overhead waves and become less keen to paddle out on a waist high day. But sometimes quantity does beat quality, at least in the realm of simply having fun, and on those tiny beach break days, I usually do have more fun.

So the lesson is to not shy away from any surf, big or small. Both have value, and when your perspective and attitude are in the right place, you can enjoy just about anything.
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:11b-13)

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