Tag Archives: learning to surf

No shame in being a buoy

The lineup in Jaco Costa Rica can get pretty crowded on the weekends, but that doesn’t mea

n you will have a hard time getting waves; a lot of people are just floating out there like buoys. I have heard some other surfers refer to buoys with contempt, and it’s true that sometimes I wish there were a few less people do dodge, but

I think there is no shame in being a buoy.

Consider that a lot of surfers in Jaco are beginners and on the weekend, lots of people from San Jose who are just starting surfing and don’t get to practice every day are out there. They have paddled out to the lineup where they have a chance to catch a wave and where they can see up close what other surfers are doing and what works and what doesn’t. But they have enough sense to know they are not ready to charge in a crowd, so they are just sitting their floating and that’s fine by me. Better to be a buoy than a kook!

If you watch and wait, eventually you will find an opportunity where you are confident you can take off and get a good ride without endangering your fellow surfers. Pura Vida!

Learning to Surf – you don’t suck! part II

…continued from previous post

Meanwhile, back on the beach, the other aspiring surfer commented, well, since we are just doing this for fun, there is no need to get upset about it. I would add, if you are not doing it purely for the fun, if you are attached to the idea of getting better or even being excellent, then not only is there no need to get upset, for best results I think you need to actively resist getting upset.

I am kind of attached to the idea of getting better at surfing and I used to get m

ad at myself often, but I read some stuff about sports psychology and I started observing my mental state more carefully.

The best when was there was nothing on my mind but gratitude for being able to have such a beautiful experience. When there was nothing on my mind but gratitude I got my best waves. ( I am relatively coldly “rational” about such things, but it is almost supernatural – the quality of waves I have received when my gratitude was at it very highest. ) Having my mind empty except for gratitude also allowed me to surf my best, with the most flow.

When I thought about my last mistake and how I could learn from it and train the weak point, I got good waves and I improved my fundamental skills and technique, so that was good too. But when I was angry that I messed up the last wave (so many, many times!) what did that get me? I missed the next one or wiped out. So there really didn’t seem to be much point in that.

Also, if you are as unskilled a surfer as I am and you are getting upset with yourself, its really,

really kooky.

Laugh out loud kooky. If someone laughs at you because you are pissed off about missing a charge or wiping out surfing shoulder high waves, please accept their helpful invitation to lighten up and enjoy your session already.

Having observed that I do my best and have the most fun while I am feeling grateful, and I learn the fastest when I notice my mistakes without getting upset, I strive to maintain this perspective in all things.

And I end up falling back into old habits and getting upset sometimes, but rather than get upset about that, I try to remember as quickly as possible how comically ridiculous it is to be upset, think about how its great to be doing what I am doing, and then pick apart my latest “failure” and recognize it for the helpful lesson it is. Then I paddle back out (or re-work the cascasding style sheet) and try again, maybe with a twist that allows me to focus on correcting what I just did wrong.  Or maybe I just try to empty my mind of everything but gratitude and my field of vision to be ready for that state of  flow that can come when you are pumping down the line.

…to be continued…