Why Size Isn’t Everything This Summer
Pic: Shieldsy, P-Pass – Pohnpei.
There’s a drop in the conversation and the silence that rushes in to fill the void is interrupted by a distant thunderous sound. Another wave is coming. The others in the lineup let out a hoot of excitement and paddle to find their place. I don’t share the excitement, I know I should but I’m hopelessly outclassed by the surf, I left my comfort zone somewhere around the 5ft mark. What comes lurching over the horizon like some nightmarish behemoth has me extremely perturbed.
Summer waves are good for average surfers and you’re probably one of them.
Chances are your surfing skills plant you in the average category. In terms of the bell curve, you’re not in the bottom 20% like the guy running down the sand with his fins in backwards but at the same time you’ve probably never picked up a national sponsor, even on your best session, like the top 20%.
If I had to guess, I’d say that you mostly stick your takeoffs but still goof the occasional one, know your way around a few turns, can bounce off the lip, hold an edge on something steeper slowing you down enough to maybe get a cover up. Sometimes you’ve done all of this on one wave.
Being an average surfer isn’t a bad thing. I’m sure if you had the time you could excel your ability, but barring a source of free flowing cash to assist you in ‘the search’ your reality is most likely cut down to one or two surf trips a year and heading down to the local when the opportunity arises – more’s the pity but such is life.
What has this to do with the size of summer waves?
Stay with me, there are few defining factors between a good trip and a great trip. The host has a lot to do with it, good sleep definitely helps and we know our fair share of operators who swear it’s having an icy cold beer at hand. But move away from creature comforts and you’re left with the purpose of the trip – The Waves. Now, think back to the best waves you’ve ever had in your life. I’m willing to bet that only one or at most two of them were big enough to make you feel ‘uncomfortable’. I’ll even raise you that bet and declare that the best one was some long, less sizeable wave that kept going and was even forgiving enough to let you keep going down the line despite the occasional misstep. Summer waves are more like that. No sir, size isn’t everything this summer.
Summer waves are a little less intimidating, with the larger swells the result of Typhoon activity in the Pacific or milder storms in the Indian Ocean – outside of those scenarios the waves are usually accommodating to your average surfer. A wave that simply doesn’t have the presence of its larger winter counterparts. For you, that means fewer severe consequences, more attempts to nail the tricks and a higher wave count – the defining factor between a good trip and great trip.
Summer Can Still Bring the Beef though right?
This is all well and good but what if you want to leave your comfort zone, what if you’re in the top 20%? Well, keep your eye on the forecasts, get in touch with our mate David Scard and he’ll point you in the right direction. Then book a stealth trip and we’ll make sure you’re there when the ocean rises like some angry titan. We can put you in the lineup for that giddy, reverberating madness that earned you the coveted ‘hell man’ title. For everyone else, just book it in already.
Travel Is About the Unknown Though… Leaving Comfort Zones etc.
Absolutely, surf travel is about leaving comfort zones. Hopefully, challenging mental beliefs as much as physical ones but with the lineup usually consisting of you and your mates, pack mentality kicks in and your grandiose attempts at new feats will be exulted as much as your failures mocked making a good trip – GREAT. This generally happens when the consequences aren’t as severe, the wave count higher and of course the usual, great hosts, good rest and an icy one ready when you are.
This year maybe it’s time to give the fearful paddle to the back before the oversized set crashes on your head a miss, maybe it’s time you sat in a takeoff zone on a milder swell than timidly sitting on the outside waiting for an easy shoulder.
Maybe, just maybe, size isn’t everything this summer.