Paddling Out... I know...
In advance sorry for this long post, but I could really use some help...
So I have been surfing for about 5 years now (4 successfully). I stood up for the first time on an 8'6", and last fall I bought myself a 7'4" and have been loving it. My ultimate goal is to be able to surf all shapes and sizes of surfboards. Anyway enough about my past.
I believe I am a fairly competent surfer. I always make my drops (thought I am a little rusty going backside). I catch most waves I go for. I feel confident out in the ocean.
Today was the first somewhat big day I have surfed in, since probably the end of last summer. Today was said to be 4-6ft, but by the time I got there, I assure you it was more like 6-8ft. It was pretty nice, and I was really excited (and nervous) to get out there... Then it happened.
I watched surfer after surfer, paddle out along the jetty, with definite resistance but all at some point successfully making it out. So I tried once, twice, three, four times!, and STILL I could not make it past the larger sets that would break. It sucked.. I kept riding white water back to the beach and trying again..
Finally I told myself "dude... stop being such a p*ssy" and get out there. So i took a deep breath, jumped into the wash, and started paddling. Of course at first with the slight rip off the jetty I seemed to wash right out to sea, and then the sets started coming, one after another, but this time I think I got lucky, and just got out past them. I finally made it.. I sat in the line up, caught my breath, felt really happy but still upset with myself. I am a young guy, 25 years old, I have been surfing for a few years now. I am not extremely overweight, (though I have some pudge.) But there were plenty of older guys, and even this one guy that was HUGE who seemed to get out no problem on a longboard. I just didnt get it.
I waited for the right wave (in fear of not making it, and having to paddle back out) and finally it came.. Had to be 7ish ft, if not an 8ft set. I paddled, dropped in no problem, rode a nice line, then it closed out. I was too far in, so I went back to shore. I went back to the jetty, started paddling out (feeling better) I said to my self "you know you can do this, you already did it once." And of course.. epic fail. I couldnt get out. I tried 4 more times.. and gave up. I relished in my one wave, was happy that I could still call my self a surfer to some degree.. packed up feeling ashamed of myself, and drove an hour home..
I dont get it. What went wrong. Has anyone had this kind of thing happen to them. I know we all have our days, but why was everyone else doing it fine. Part of me says the board isnt as fast as my longboard, but also I definitly cannot duck dive this thing. I am like 5'9 180lbs.
Anyway, any advice would be awesome. The best advice I can give myself, is not to despair, but to get in a pool and start swimming, or get in the ocean and start paddling. but at the same time, I could use a little encouragement, because after today I feel like I am not a true surfer. And it was the one thing in my crazy life I had to keep me happy.