Limits

A few months ago, a large swell hit the North Shore of Hawaii. The surf report was calling for 10-12+ f00t waves at the surf spot I frequent. I had been out in 8-10 foot surf and been alright, so I didn’t think 10-12+ would be too much of a problem. When I arrived at the beach the waves were huge. Some of the sets were closing out in quarter-mile sections. It honestly scared me a bit. I looked hard to see if anyone else was already out. I caught a glimpse of a few people on the outside of the main break, so I decided to paddle out. The paddle out was surprisingly easy.  After waiting in the line-up for a few minutes I found myself in the perfect position to catch an incoming wave. It was big. I paddled hard but didn’t mentally commit. I felt the wave behind me but before it could pick me up, I pulled off and let it pass by. I was immediately angry at myself. Why did I paddle out if I was going to be intimidated? I spent the next 20 minutes beating myself up. After a while another set rolled in. This time I lined up with a wave and paddled as hard as I could. I felt the wave grab me but I didn’t stop paddling. After a couple of extra strokes I jumped to my feet…the wave rolled by. I went to early! I turned to paddle back outside and found myself under a giant wave that had snuck up on me while my mind was focused on the last wave. I got pummeled. I mean really pummeled. When the wave finally let me go I was almost back on shore. I felt completely defeated. I decided I should call it a day and paddle in. With each stroke towards shore a frustration grew inside of me. There was no way I could paddle in without catch something. So, ignoring the voice of reason, I paddled out again. Before I completely made it outside, a rather large set rolled in. A little spooked by the beating I had received from the last set of waves, I didn’t time my duck dive under the wave correctly. The wave broke right ontop of my head. This time though, instead being pushed to shore, the wave pushed me to the bottom. I came to the surface, took a breath, and got slammed by another wave. Once again, rather than being pushed to shore I was pushed to the bottom. I felt myself slipping into a state of panic. I reminded myself to remain relaxed. After repeating this surface/bottom cycle a few more times, a wave finally picked me up, tossed me around a bit, and let me go near shore. This time I swallowed my pride and paddled to the beach. The ocean is amazing.

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