“A great man (or woman) is like a big wave: when you look back, you may perceive you’re not good enough to catch it.”

My friend and co-author, Nancy, and I recently got some surf coaching via the San Diego Surf Ladies club. Once per month a surf coach jumps in the water with us and gives pointers as we surf. We then later we meet up to discus the video of us surfing that someone else taped from shore (very cool and very helpful). One particular tip that Nancy learned was to glance back as the wave is approaching to judge whether or not it’s good to take and/or to judge just how to ride it. Now to the seasoned surfer, I’m sure this seems obvious. And I’m sure that Nancy both knew that and did this prior (for whatever reason maybe she just wasn’t looking that one time when the coach was watching her). However, Nancy recently pointed out to me that I do not do this. I mean, I know the wave is there—I see it build up a ways back, and that’s why I’m paddling for it. As we were having this conversation in the water, I noticed a nice wave coming from a distance, and I paddled for it without ever looking back again. And I caught it. As I paddled back out I said, “See? I caught it, and I didn’t look back”. To which Nancy replied, “Yeah, and that wave was huge! I did not think you were going to go for that one.” AHA! Bingo. Yes. That’s why I do not look back. If I look back and see the actual size of the wave, I will freak out and either back off or get nervous and pitch instead of just feeling the wave and letting it take me. I know that I am a much more capable surfer than my courage will sometimes allow. So is it really that bad if I don’t look back?

I seem to have the same issue in another area of my life called “dating”—and I know I’m not alone. In the last article I posted, I talked about my cousin, Rachel, and how just like waves, all of these men were rolling up to her in sets (right after a very flat spell). Well it appears that one of these men she caught! She met him briefly at a wedding in Colorado and had a great time dancing the night away. Though she had to go back home to Michigan, they continued “seeing” each other on the phone and via Skype. As days and weeks and conversations started going by, however, Rachel told me that she started noticing something about this guy the more that she got to know him—he was very distinguished and quite out of her league. Now this wasn’t because he was being aloof or bragged on and on about himself—he was actually very sweet. It’s just that Rachel glanced back for a sec and perceived this guy as way too much of a “big” deal to date her. So she called me in a panic ready to back down thinking that she didn’t have the “skills” (aka the beauty, smarts, and the charm) to be with a guy like that. Now that’s just a big tub-oh-bull-$@!#. This girl’s got it all. AND this guy was obviously attracted enough to her to continue long distance communication. But she “looked back” and doubted herself… and then probably started acting a little off or insecure with him which usually just leads to a fall…

Maybe the real issue here isn’t looking back. Maybe it’s about owning the “dang good surfers” that we are and not backing down due to a few insecure thoughts. Now there’s some waves that we just know will hurt us—that’s a different story. But especially on a gentle day when the waves are breaking softly, I know that we all posses the ability to catch bigger and better waves than we ever thought possible. So get out there and strut your stuff. I’m sure you’re better than what you think you are.


  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • Michael from Leucadia

    I bit my tongue after the last article by the same writer, but can’t do it this time.

    I know the Inertia needs to appeal broadly to build an audience, but this writing does not belong in the same place as Tetsuhiko Endo, Cori Schumacher or Matt Warshaw.

  • H!

    Intelligent writing about women’s surfing is marginalized (and rare) enough in the surf world, and Tara Brouwer does nothing to advance its position. NOTHING.

    I don’t understand why The Inertia, the “network for the thinking surfer,” insists on re-publishing these idiotic cheap metaphors, which read like SEO bait, instead of giving a platform to a woman who actually has something meaningful to say about life and/or surfing.

    I’ll gladly take the fierce advocacy of Tetsuhiko Endo over this woman’s simpering, retrograde bullshit.