And So, the Sun Went Down on a Few Bugbears
Unaccountably I had possibly the best, most fun, surf I've ever had yesterday. It was lumpy, touching head high occasionally and... Putsborough! I expected nothing much and except for the fact that I've really been enjoying my McCallum/Kookbox Twin-Pin recently there was little sign that this would be anything more than a regular surfy-surf.
While I was in the water a lot of things seemed to fall into place. What happens in this plateau of being an average/improving surfer is that you taste the turns at the beginning but it seems to take forever to become Dane Reynolds. What's really happening is that you're upping the probabilities, the consistency and banishing bugbears.
My shadowy bugbears:
1. I used to think things like: "I don't like surfing Putsborough; or Woolacombe for that matter..."
2. I used to hate going left.
3. Lumpy waves are shit - I want clean waves, the conditions perfect if possible please.
4. I will fail my pop-up if the wave breaks early/on me.
It became clear yesterday that all of these thoughts have been well and truly banished from my surfy world. At Putsborough yesterday I caught mostly lefts, didn't fail a single pop-up and managed one flying right out of the whitewater when a set wave broke just too soon. This is largely what 'intermediacy' is about, not great leaps in performance surfing but a steady improvement in all the facets of surfing that allow you to get more, and longer, and 'funner' waves...
At this point too I'm having a bit of a change in attitude to board choice. The reason I love the McCallum is that it has a wide nose platform that eases wave catching and take-off but with a pintail rather than fishy/simmonsy width. My confidence went sky-high yesterday and this meant more turns, messy roundhouses, attempts, fails but definitely a focus on turns and speed control rather than wave catching & pop-ups. It could mark the end of struggling with smaller more difficult boards for a bit. As you progress you want to change your surfboard to go shorter (or longer), giving with one hand and taking with the other: as you get better you immediately make life more difficult for yourself with a change in surfboard to take you towards where you want to go. Surfing involves a lot of struggle and it's nice to have a little less of that for once. A point, junction, of peace with my equipment, my surf desires, dreams, hopes and fantasies.
Though: I would still dearly love to get barrelled one day... and I'm starting to fear I took up surfing too late for that?