PADDLE AND DON’T LOOK BACK.
I have always liked surfing, but I fell in love with it this weekend at Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Alongside my best friend Melissa, we stayed in the water catching waves for a solid five hours. I literally surfed until my feet couldn’t take it anymore. I may be an endurance athlete, but my arches aren’t used to gripping a moving board as an endurance event. But I did as all endurance athletes would do when in pain; I just kept going. And it was totally worth it.
Mid-way through the day, I locked into the surfer sweet spot. I had noticed that my worst rides were those when I would look back while paddling to see where the wave was in comparison to me. Essentially, on those waves, I had committed to paddling and riding it in, yet I found myself doubting where the wave was. Looking back not only threw off my rhythm, but also my balance, resulting in below average surfing. Once I realized what was happening I took Melissa’s advice: “Start paddling, commit, and never look back.” Amazingly, it worked like a charm. From thereon forward, I picked my waves and committed to paddling with certainty and patience, keeping my eyes locked on the shore. This seems like an obvious thing to do, but it’s a lot easier said than done.
There is a point in riding waves that you catch the ultimate sweet spot; I learned yesterday that the only way to find that sweetness is by not looking back. The sweet spot catches you as you paddle and it’s when you just know that the wave is yours. Those momentary sweet spots are euphoric and addicting, not only for the high that the smoothness of the momentum bring, but also for the incredible surfing that comes afterwards. Yesterday, the waves were mine. With each new hit of sweetness that I caught, my skills and board handling became better and better. Never again will I look back or second-guess the wave when paddling, now that I know the power of true commitment.
What I loved most about surfing was its parallel to life. When you commit to something, commit and don’t look back because you just never know when that perfect sweet spot is going to come and if you paddle distracted, you will end up missing it entirely. Like surfing, life has a lot of waiting, but must be done with the same attitude of assured anticipation that the next best wave is just about to rise up. It’s when you live in patient expectation the the greatest waves of your life are yet to come, then you are truly living with the right mindset.