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Lessons Learned: Thinking Makes It So

From seven years of Surfing Sunset

· Lessons Learned

Here's a start...

Someone gave me a small little book centered around the Shakespearian quote, “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so!” As it relates to surfing Sunset, I deduced that the confidence to take off on waves that seemed beyond my skill level was a function of my thinking. Made sense to me. I set out to change my thoughts regarding taking off waves where the drop was straight up and down.

My daily drive provided me with the perfect opportunity to practice thinking in this way.  Living in Pupukea and working at Punahou meant that I drove to school in the morning and drove back home after.  My job was split between teaching 7 & 8 grade science in the morning and running the 3rd - 6th grade swim program from 12:15 to 2:15. I drove a VW Van with two boards in the back. No sound system. On the way home I headed straight to Sunset.  My daily practice of seeing and feeling myself surfing Sunset was the only company I needed.

At the top of the hill heading down into Haleiwa, my thoughts became very specific.  My “indicators” were letting me know the size of the waves and direction of the swell.  First Pueo Point and the white water as far as Mokuleia. Then Laniakea and finally Three Tables. I always drove straight to Sunset. Go down-go out. Unless nobody was out and it was clearly a day to work in my garden.

I usually paddled out no later than 3:30. My focus was set. Depending on the size and crowd, I  would either surf until the evening crew arrived or get 3 waves and get out. No matter what, armed with this focus as soon as I hit the water, my day washed away.  I was totally present and energized to get to the line-up. This was my time.  I was on the steep section of the learning curve and I was stoked!

Value Added

It soon became obvious that my practice of “thinking in a feeling sense” was working. It helped me to relax and feel my feet, core and lower back as I took off on really steep waves.  Bend my knees and drive forward into the turn and get up speed going down the line.  After a really good or bad wave I would replay the wave and focus on any adjustments I needed to make.  These reps were a huge help in keeping me inspired to continue. As my surfing improved, my energy and strength improved as well.  I was swimming at lunch time, jumping rope in the evening, doing yoga and being way more aware of my breathing. As this was pre-leash days, the increase fitness resulted in increased confidence to be up for the really challenging situations.

In time, I began to loosen up and have “fun.” An important factor, one that I have a tendency to forget. For best results all serious and structured effort needs to be linked to fun/value/satisfactions/success. That’s HiLevel!

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