So, I'm an 'OK' surfer, I've been doing it since I was 5-6.
I've paddled out in all sorts of conditions, ranging from 6-8ft hollow waves over reef, to the average beach break.
I'm now 29, and all of a sudden, ever since a short (10 sec max) two wave hold I've lost all confidence in larger waves.
I find myself paddling out, catching one, and then telling myself it's not worth it.
This is continuing to get worse, am I just getting older, therefore am more aware of the dangers?
Any advice from anyone that experienced this?
if it cant kill ya it wont thrill ya...embrace it go and do a breath course no hold down is that long especially at manly
Everyone gets a rattle sooner or later.
You'll be right.
Either that or you're entering menopause.*
* sorry mate , couldn't help myself.
Paddle out, wait for a set and take off as late as possible. If you get absolutely smashed, then the worst thing has already happened and you don't need to worry anymore. If you make it, you have had a huge confidence boost. All care, no responsibility, hardly anyone has drowned following my advice.
Unless you are pretty surf fit big waves do really test you. I can be paddle fit from gym work and surfing where there are nice channels but not that aerobically fit and find getting caught by a bunch of 8 footers pretty full on.
The last time i felt fit enough for bigger waves was after a lot of beahbreak surfing in preparation for a trip away where i had to paddle through heavy shorebreaks and dodge and duckdive a lot. I treated each surf as a work out and paddled hard the whole time and viewed getting caught inside as a challenge - sort of as fun. Confidence built up in direct proportion to fitness and exposure to bigger waves.
But right now i would not paddle out in 8 foot waves - except at say a perfect easy pointbreak as i have not surfed much recently and see tnis as totally okay - no desire to get smashed around feeling breathless at all. Big wave fitness can be lost in a month i reckon
Highly rate the BET course mentioned above
I've taken a few beatings this year that have left me a bit more reticent about big swell, MSS. On the other hand, I'm the wrong side of 50 and understand that regardless of training and exercise, physically I'm on the downslope. I'm more cautious about conditions that are beyond my comfort zone now.
The hold downs are catching up with me a bit. In Bali earlier this year copped such a thrashing on one wave after dropping out of the lip, held to the bottom and helpless waiting for it to let go. Got back up in time, thankfully the long period swell helped in that sense, but then got thrashed even harder by the next wave. Both occasions was held very deep, and the second one saw me doing the old legrope climb, the only way to know which way was up.
Shook me up a little, but I have a long habit of not panicking to call on. You do get to that stage where it leaves a subtle impression on your mind. Last Sunday copped another surprising hold down, pinned to the sand and pretty deep, just brings it back again.
The mental side is actually more significant than the physical. Your capacity not to panic is key. It's workable, requires a bit of practice to get it back if you've lost it a bit due to bad experience. But it's eminently do-able, if you want it. That BET training looks like it addresses everything on both the physical and the mental. I'll keep that one in my back pocket for future reference. Would be well worthwhile.
Have been doing a fair bit of body surfing through the summer months when the crowds are high and the surf not so. Great both for aerobic fitness and gives you great practice at getting thrashed on a regular basis. Could be a useful way to build up your confidence again.
Good luck with it, whatever you do.
Good advice from above. If i can add, for what it's worth, try not to stare at it too long. If you think it looks doable, just suit up, don't watch it and get out there. The longer you look and analyse the more doubt will creep in. When you're out there you'll know whether you made the right decision.
I'm kinda of the Blindboy school of thought- if you get smoked on a big one and you come up ok then you're set.
Disclaimer: Always have an exit strategy.