Going over the falls
It might have taken that wave hundreds of miles to travel to your spot. But don’t worry, it’s been nice enough to wait for your perfect positioning. Now for the warm embrace.
Route one, straight into the depths with the most powerful part of the wave.
Unceremonious, unavoidable, indiscriminate
You know that feeling when you step off a curb you hadn’t seen?
That roller coaster lurch.
The churn you feel when a plane drops through turbulence or a sketchy lift hits the ground floor.
At first you think you’ve made it safely past the wave, or tucked nicely in under the lip. Then that sinking feeling tugs at you. The sixth sense lets you know it’s all about to go pear-shaped. Sometimes you make it.
Sometimes though, you don’t.
That heart-in-mouth feeling spreads. Before you’ve had time to react the world spins off it’s axis, and you rush down with the wave.
The last thing you see is the white, crackling veins of the wave energy as it surges down. Like stretched arrows pointing down to your inevitable fate.
Then you’re underwater. Left, right, up, down. The persistent wave energy clutches at your fingers. The leash tugs at your ankle as the board thunders along on the surface above.
You do nothing.
Because that’s what you’ve learned to do. That’s what’s most effective. Fighting wave energy is like trying to stop time.
Eventually it calms, and you try to get your bearings. Aim for sunlight or climb up the leash.
Then you take stock. Next wave? Another drubbing? Free to paddle away?
Going “over the falls” is at once one of the most unsettling and liberating feelings.
It wakes you up, scares the blue hell out of you. But you bounce back. It’s another one of those moments in surfing when you learn to center yourself.
System check. Am I okay?
If the answer is anything but “no”, get on. Keep going.
If you’re scared of surfing, you’re doing it right.