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.
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 under the wave or tucked nicely in under the lip. Then that sinking feeling tugs at you. It’s all about to go pear-shaped.
That heart-in-mouth feeling spreads. Before you’ve had time to react the world spins off its 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 arrows stretching down to your inevitable fate.
Then you’re underwater. Left, right, up, down. The persistent wave energy clutches at your fingers. The leash tugs as the board thunders along on the surface.
You do nothing. Nothing? Really?
Really. 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.
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 centre yourself. The system check – am I okay?
If the answer is anything but “no”, get on. Keep going.
And by the way, you’re not alone. If you’re scared of surfing, you’re doing it right.