Flyer: Oh no FOMO!

Stu Nettle

Each year, when January rolls around I draft up a list of vague new year’s resolutions.

Vague because when they inevitably get broken I don’t get too down on myself. I mean, why beat yourself up when you were only half-serious anyway?

This year, one of my resolutions is to rise above the whole FOMO phenomena - or Fear Of Missing Out - and to see FOMO for the deceit that it is.

Which, if you’ll excuse a moment of earnestness, is a consumerist fiction about ‘having it all’, that once unpacked says happiness and satisfaction can only arise from external matters.

Which, as the Buddha wisely said, is bullshit.

Not three weeks into the new year and on Wednesday my resolve was tested. Last week, Ben forecast a very big swell to hit my coast late Tuesday and early Wednesday, and I was suitably excited at the prospect of a big, clean south swell in summer.

I checked the local on Tuesday afternoon and the needle hadn’t budged. Never mind, I thought to myself, it’ll be here tomorrow.

Rising early Wednesday I wondered about the lack of sound from the east. Its absence was explained after I pulled into the dark carpark, empty save for the two cars belonging to the two Phil’s, who both wanted to know where the hell the swell was.

No swell? I didn’t believe them. The swell was a gimme, a slam dunk, and it wasn’t just the wave models that agreed, there was evidence via ASCAT readings and photos from Tassie taken the day before.

None of that computed with the dire view in front of me, but there you go. We were missing out. I was missing out. Let the testing times begin.

I was proud of the way I handled myself in the aftermath of the missing swell. Disappointed, sure, but I took a philosophical view noting joy and stoke are but fleeting, and I wasn’t a lesser person for missing out on good waves. Anyway, in a week’s time it’d all be memories yet I’d still have to deal with my real nature.

It sounds convincing, right? But is that rationale enough? Could a lifetime of abstinence really lead to happiness?

Don’t ask me, I only had to hold the belief for eight or so hours, because by then the late-running swell showed its head and I was getting barreled across the local ledge.

But I’m still counting it as a win, and my vague resolution remains intact.

Hope y’all got some - yet if you didn’t, never fear.

- Stu

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Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 6:00pm

Don’t fight it Stu !

Let the incredible power of the self indulgent whinge overwhelm !

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 5:52pm

I'm pretty bad for getting in a total surf panic/FOMO but my mate Bernie was the king of it.

if he was here and he heard it was better there he'd get in the torana and hit the road.

if he got to there, say Noosa and they said Angas was better he'd turn around and high tail it back.

god bless you if you are reading Bernie.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 6:04pm

Watching those Indo swell blogs on YouTube makes me feel ill. True story. I get a ball of bad vibe in my gut and have to switch it off. This was never the case when I had easy and reliable access to , and from , Indo

Surf movies don’t have the same effect .

FOMO obviously has a shelf life.

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 6:31pm

Cry me a river. Move to Adelaide so you can get the feeling of really missing out.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 6:42pm

If I lived in Adelaide I’d get FOMO watching test pattern cause I was jealous of the action scenes.

mattlock's picture
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mattlock Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 9:28pm

Fair cop Blowin. I get plenty of action looking after the kids. Ungrateful spawn they may be.

surfstarved's picture
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surfstarved Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 9:27am

I feel your pain Mattlock. What's the record for consecutive days of onshore winds?

mattlock's picture
mattlock's picture
mattlock Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 5:26pm

It seems like it has been pretty much onshore for about seven years. That is when my first ungrateful spawn was born.

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 7:05pm

off topic that artificial reef at or near surfers paradise u haven't showed any video for awhile, i was wondering how it was going in the cyclone surf

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter Wednesday, 27 Jan 2021 at 11:52pm

Might wanna give the Wiz a call...

lucky-al's picture
lucky-al's picture
lucky-al Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 12:39am

Gee I wonder if you're going to be able to keep this resolution this year Stu. You don't sound very sure of yourself.

DBEARINDARE Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 5:57am

The theory of, that if you drive a certain car.
Live in a certain location.  Dress in certain clothes. You will be on your way to happiness. 
Only comes from those who are selling that shit.

My theory on life is.
If i have a full belly and lead in the pencil. 
Everything else is a bonus. 

It works for me.
I have everything I want. 
Because,  I have nothing that I need.

Think about that.

frog's picture
frog's picture
frog Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 10:43am

FOMO is a struggle. The classic call in the grommet days to the guy who missed the great session was "missed out, missed out" as soon as we saw them.

Since then I have built up a good swag of perfection over the years the FOMO has lessened a lot. It took till my 40s though! Some great trips to the Mentawais largely put it to bed. Spot X was perfect and I missed it? Well I have surfed one of the world's best waves almost empty at 4-5ft for two days etc.

I am particularly philosophical about times when work or family just make it all too hard. I like my sessions to fit with my life and not come with hassles or guilt. When I calculate the probability of getting a swag of great waves is low I would rather not go than chase some maybe surf somewhere - particularly when the crowd equation is likely to be high. A frustrating surf is worse than no surf at all when you have dropped everything to go disrupting family or work.

These days though I still hate making the wrong call when I was free and able to make the trip. The other day I woke early and was awake and ready to go but checked my indicators and went back to sleep thinking it was wrong feeling pleased with myself for getting a snooze after a bunch of early mornings. Annoyingly the swell had kicked and I missed out. I felt out of sorts all day. Fortunately the next day was really really good and I surfed empty waves at the perfect tide and swell. I was almost more annoyed at my poor decision making than than the waves missed.

What helps with FOMO is looking back at all the great sessions you have had. Another thing is to look ahead and think with certainty that a good surf just missed is just proof that such days happen and that some time in the next week, month or year you will surf similar waves again.

If you imagine your future as littered with good days yet to be surfed it gives a sense of possibility rather than FOMO loss. That is one of the biggest gifts surfing gives us. In an often mundane life, surfers all have a sense of anticipation that one day soon you will be running up the beach excited to surf something amazing.

Solitude's picture
Solitude's picture
Solitude Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 9:25am

Enjoyed your post Frog. Thanks mate.

One thing I've learnt to do more and more is go with my gut. There'd be times in the past where I'd have a plan of where I want to surf (be it for certain conditions or purely to escape a crowd) but decide to listen to a mate instead, it would often end in a less than satisfying result.

It would be either where we were wasn't that good, where I thought to go in the first place turned out to be pumping or I was at mate's spot wondering what the other was like.

I don't really do 'surf checks' anymore. Party because I'm not into wasting time checking several beaches but mostly because if there's a surfable wave where I'm at I'll head out. Chances are that in that 1-2 hour session there will be a moment or two that will make it all worthwhile.

One in the hand is worth two in the bush.

freeride76's picture
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freeride76 Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 9:10am

so true.

batfink's picture
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batfink Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 9:22am

Keep ya self healthy and there’s always another good day of surf in front of you, often meets you at the most unexpected moments.

The best sessions are always those ones where you thought the odds were pretty low, but by the time you got there the wind turned, and/or the swell kicked, or it’s Sunday arvo and all the tourists have gone home.

School holidays are over and now you can get back to having a surf by yourself or just a couple of mates, if you can find that right moment. There’s one just ahead of you now. Can you see it?

Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Thursday, 28 Jan 2021 at 5:29pm

FOMO is the mortal enemy of the sane minded surfer. Let go of the FOMO you must.

san Guine's picture
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san Guine Friday, 29 Jan 2021 at 10:54am

Great comments. I have come to terms with FOMO only as I got older.
Agree with Frogg and Batfink, great moments are just around the corner.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 Friday, 29 Jan 2021 at 12:05pm

surfers can't live without FOMO.

it's part of what drives us on.

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster Friday, 29 Jan 2021 at 7:09pm


Spuddups's picture
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Spuddups Friday, 29 Jan 2021 at 7:28pm

I wonder if FOMO on FOMO is a thing? Admittedly it would take a particularly messed up individual to feel this sort of thing.