Small waves, giant board, no leash, a dozen surf school students. Them's odds I like.
Small waves means I get to screw around on a giant board with no leash using a dozen buoys as an obstacle course. I haven't expounded lately on my giant Cooperfish because I haven't been riding it since I got Doc III, but for giggles I took him out and rediscovered the fun.
Today was even smaller than yesterday if possible and there seemed to be a plethora of boards to try. Board swap! Johnny R brought an old school POP board which Sensei J rode most of the session, leaving his new V1 Cooperfish lonely on the beach. It was just out of pity, really, that I asked to take it out for a spin. The V1 has a V-bottom and a really hard tail. I really don't know how to explain it, you just have to see it. Here's an example, but it's even more pronounced in person. The V-Bottom makes turning interesting. It's not a real forgiving board (as I found out on my first face-plant) so you're constantly managing your balance, but it's wicked fun once you dial it into the wave.
I seem to get extremely tired after sessions on small days. I think it's the amount of paddling that I have to do to get into waves as compared to my lazy efforts on big days. Small days also encourage me to keep going back for more waves, especially if the shape improves with the tide push like it did today.
Small days in the sun on a weekend with a growing crowd also make me appreciate how far along I've come in this whole surfing thing. I used to get really nervous and tense and not take waves because I'd be scared to hit someone. Now, I'm amazed at how relaxed I am. I think a big reason has to do with the kick-out. Like some worn Yu-Gi-Oh! card I got tucked in my boardshorts, I throw out Magic Rearing Kick Dragon to save me whether my opponent be Cursed Foam Board or Closing Jaws of Death Water.
Oh, there's also a wonderful thing that comes with more experience in the water: Trust. Yesterday, I found myself paddling out after a wave and I saw Johnny R taking off on a wave. I could see the ideal line he would have wanted to draw and I was in it. In a similar situation six years ago, I ditched my board in a panic and got yelled at. Yesterday, I paddled like a mad-woman for the shoulder and trusted Johnny R would go around me, hoping it wouldn't ruin his ride too much. He was fine because he's got skills. I was fine because he's got skills.
Today, I'd taken a pretty so-so wave in on the V1 and turned around to see a pretty so-so wave with Dancer and SurfSister both on it. Sis was closest to me, and I shifted to the side as best I could to give her some room to play. I knew Sis saw me and and I trusted her to keep her board under control. Not a moment of panic.
I think trust is a good skill to acquire in surfing. Trust in yourself, trust in others. Trust that the ocean is unpredictable and you have to open up your senses to take in all that is around you.