The ‘system check’ aka ‘oh good I’m still alive’
In reality, it’s more like: “Oh, that wasn’t so bad was it”.
Back from the dead
You gob and gawp and hack at the briny blue.
Have you been under for three minutes?
That was the biggest wave you’ve surfed. And you ate it.
Has it been four minutes? More?
Show’s over folks, nothing to see here
No, you haven’t been under for four minutes.
You probably haven’t been under for 10 seconds yet.
When you come back up – before you have time to think about anything else – ask yourself: are you okay?
This is what paramedics are taught to do. It’s what Marshalls at rallies are told to do if a car flies off a cliff. Don’t get involved, don’t take action. Not yet. The first thing to do is…
STOP and b r e a t h e.
Before you try to take control of the situation (or panic – which is deadly), take a second. Allow your brain to compute.
Then ask yourself how your body feels. Was there any real worry?
If you feel shaken up, you can paddle to safety — back to the beach, into the channel or further out back. If not, crack on! You’ve got this.
Laugh in the face of it
Recently I’ve tackled some of the biggest waves of my life. Head high and then some. They’re the kind of waves I never planned to take on. Never dreamed I would.
But there’s been a change. The people I surf with wear smiles. When I take a beating, they laugh at my misfortune. They clap me on the back afterwards and tell me how much joy they took from my misery. Nobody’s worried, they’re too busy ripping me.
And it’s working.
With a confident approach (and what gives you confidence like your friends making light of a hard situation?) the experience is much more enjoyable.