6th Surf (Woolacombe): All I Learned was Humility

Learning to surf is hard work. My surf yesterday, on a day with some beautiful 4-5ft waves, was my worst to date. Surfing is difficult. Getting out through a lot of whitewater is difficult. Watching good surfers further out while you are floundering in the shallows is difficult. Persisting through a demoralizing surf is difficult.

This was a far cry from the relaxed sunset surf I had at Putsborough last month when just bobbing about in the water was a beautiful experience and the waves were my friends. This was persistent medium size waves, producing a wall of whitewater, which seemed to be trying to communicate to me that all my efforts were fruitless.

Fortunately I had bumped into Glen from Surfed Out the day before who had happened to suggest the advice to "concentrate on improving one aspect of your surfing each time you go out". And so the hour (the most I can physically manage in the water at the moment,) I decided, could only be spent trying to learn how to paddle out through whitewater.

I quickly discovered that duck diving on my 7'6 Mini Mal seemed impossible. The only way I had any joy was to push the nose down through the wave while lifting my body up and trying to get the whitewater to go mostly under my body and through my legs (I had seen people doing this). This proved to be pretty effective but I found it hard to stay balanced. The other way on a longer board, which I have just read of online and had no idea about, is to eskimo roll underneath the whitewater. I'll look forward to trying that next time!

Learning to surf is, it seems, not all pleasure! Like any skill it takes a lot of work, effort and persistence and I am quickly learning that a sport that appealed to me partly due to its apparent simplicity is anything but. However, I can't wait for my next time out. I can't wait to get better - this has only fueled my impatience to improve - and I can't wait for that moment when I'm stood in a surf shop deciding on whether my next board will be a fish, a magic carpet, a longboard or...


  1. Hey Tom,
    this is a great blog, and was wondering if you would mind if I post a link to your blog on mine. I have been gradually getting up to speed with mine, and still can't decide if it is more windsurf or surf, or picture rather than prose. Keep on blogging


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