The longer we surf, the more our understanding of the ocean evolves. We become acutely in-tune with the swirling currents, come to understand what effect the ebbing or flowing tide will have on the waves, and learn to appreciate the mechanics of the breaking wave. We often know what a wave is the going to do even before it does it. Surfers pride themselves on their ability to read and react to the conditions. Whether it’s driving down the line in search of a reforming section, or stalling the board in anticipation of the elusive cover-up, our understanding of the sea’s behavior is an essential component of our makeup as a surfer.
Yet it’s all too easy to misunderstand this connection with the ocean and drift into the realms of complacency, a dangerous mindset with which to enter the water. Surfing is one of the few sports where a single mistake can result in paying the ultimate price.