We all like to believe that in a perfect world we could surf every day of the year. Although this sounds amazing, it’ll never happen due to the fickleness of the ocean. Year-round surf can only be found in a handful of places around the world, and at most beaches, you’re lucky to have an epic swell even once a year. Because of this, we get restless, but even on the days when the cams show pumping waves, it might not be right for you to go out. This will be a guide on when and when not to go out.
So when do you not want to go out?
Let’s say it’s been flat at your local beach break for the past week or so. You’ve gotten tired of watching pros online surf perfect waves at wherever their sponsors flew them to. Finally, some swell has arrived, and although conditions aren’t perfect there finally seem to be waves. Instead of charging ahead, take a good look at what the surf is really like, and consider how YOU would surf the waves. Do you typically make it out of major closeouts or tight sections? Are you comfortable dropping in on steep and fast waves? These are the questions you need to ask yourself when approaching conditions you haven’t surfed before, and the answer will always depend on your skill level. It’ll also require you to be honest with yourself. Don’t get me wrong, I surf a lot better in my head than I do in real life, but that won’t stop me from assessing whether 12-foot surf is good for my life expectancy.
Aside from protecting yourself, choosing not to go out on the days you aren’t comfortable will also protect other surfers. Thinking about other people in the water is always a key to success. Even just seeing how they surf, and whether you can match their ability is a good way to tell whether or not you’d fit in at the lineup. And remember, there’s never any shame in rolling up to the beach and deciding not to surf. Since you’re already there, why not take out an SBBC Beach Umbrella and enjoy a nice day on the sand. Remember, watching other people get pummeled is always more fun than getting pummeled yourself.