Before the sun rises, the surfers mind starts thinking about the surf. All the computations start going off immediately, and unprompted. The wind forecast for the day combined with the swell period. Add in the tides and the size of the swell that has been around for the last few days, plus what the surf report has guessed, and the surfers’ brain is instinctively doing the math. All the sums and calculations and addition, combined with all the experience, hunch, knowledge and sixth sense that a surfer has inherent.
At some stage your brain is going to throw out a picture to you. A visual of what is probably happening down at the beach. If it’s onshore and small, then you can block it out and continue your day, getting through all the necessary things like work, chores, family and friends.
Yet sometimes the brain throws a different visual altogether. It throws out an enticing, alluring display of perfect waves, offshore breezes and bright sunshine. When this happens, a surfer’s day is in total turmoil, and nothing can make it better apart from a thorough surf check.
Incredible surf destinations -
No matter how busy a day or how many chores are on the cards, a surfer will find the time to do that cursory surf check. A quick jump into the car, a mental reassurance that you’re only going to be a few minutes; that work and chores and duties will resume again after a short break, and you’re off.
It takes full concentration to make sure that you obey all the rules of the road, as nervousness and anticipation override your sensibilities.
Finally you approach the beach. There is a certain view spot that you are happy with, where you can pick up everything at a quick glance. The tide is revealed by a certain watermark on the rocks, and the wind can be seen clearly on the water.Don’t go too fast, remember to indicate if you’re turning, and come to a complete stop at stop streets.
It is also possible to fully ascertain from which direction the swell is approaching, and obviously you can see the cloud cover.
There are two possible outcomes to this surf check. The first one is the onshore slop outcome. The waves are small and the conditions are wrong. There are a number of things wrong with the equation, and the combination of negatives in the surf conditions results in the need to do your day’s work outweighing your need to surf. While it is always totally disappointing to witness miserable surf conditions and waste time in the surf check, this outcome at least provides complete clarity and peace of mind. The waves are terrible, you’re not missing out on anything, and there are things to do and tasks to get through in the real world. This provides you with the decision-making process that you have been searching for since you opened your eyes and glanced at the elements outside, since you remembered a wave ridden a few days ago on your favourite board, since you poured our coffee and saw a branch swaying slightly in a particular breeze, since you noticed more dew on the deck than usual, since you glanced at your wetsuit hanging from the beam in your yard, since you picked up your sun cream from where you had left it, next to the toaster in the kitchen. The decision is made. It is set in stone, and you can continue your day without a semblance of self-doubt, of nagging worry that there might be a party at some sand bank or point somewhere and you need to be there.