Everything slows down.
It's when it's hardest to get to the outside that I tend to reflect more on the reality of surfing. Often the picture of surfing has a perfectly poised surfer, tanned body and perfectly balanced making their maneuvers look effortless.
The truth is that surfing is about working with the elements, with what the wave gives you for a few seconds, not about making the wave bend to your wishes. We all wish for those long lines, offshore winds, warm and crystal blue water but aren't always so fortunate to have that. If that isn't what we get in our home break or during our yearly week-long vacation, then we're stuck with just surfing, not surfing with fortunate exceptional conditions.
Today I've chosen a slightly bigger board for stability and the same paddle. Not only is the wind about to change onshore, it's starting to gust a bit and I can see the mixed swell directions in the water. I'm focused on keeping my head up.
I've picked my wave, increased my cadence, compressed a little deeper to compensate for the choppy conditions and am looking up. The world freezes, it slows down for a second and all my possible focus is on what happens next. This is where I usually choke and either the white water catches up to me or I end up at the beach. This time, I can see it all open up, I see the line I'm supposed to draw. My head is clear and my heart is pumping. I open up my chest and feel the board follow suit under my feet, my back foot deepens the pivot as I feel my core twist. The wave closing right behind gives me speed, I'm surfing. I want to do that again, I want to slow the world down and see everything clearly.
Conditions weren't great, wind was on so I didn't get another wave, I didn't get to slow the world down again. However, one good wave was worth it, after all, this is surfing and no matter the conditions, one wave is better than none at all.