Many instances in our lives involve waiting our turn. Whether we are at the grocery store, merging in traffic or waiting for a set in the line up, it seems everyone is in a hurry these days to be first in the line. I’ve been known to weave through traffic to get places quicker, only to find that I saved a measly three minutes. The impatience of waiting has turned many of us into, well, jerks. On rare occasions, though, you encounter those easygoing people who are in no rush, or, even if they are, they sacrifice some of their time to let you in front of them. The other day I came across one of these kind souls. Today, I dedicate this article to him.
As a girl, paddling out with a bunch of boys is intimidating enough. For the most part, they can paddle harder, surf stronger and inevitably score more waves. Don’t get me wrong, I know a list of lovely ladies back home in Hawaii who could go head to head with a lot of the guys out here, but physically and numerically, surfing is a male-dominated sport. With this notion already engrained in my mind each time I go for a surf, I know I have to make that extra effort to prove myself. Often times it makes for a frustrating session. I can paddle as hard as I want, be set up in exactly the right position, and some dude will have paddled around me to take the wave. Props to him for making a deeper drop, but I miss the days of “ladies first.”
Yes, that etiquette may not properly apply in the surfing world, but I like to think that on a waist-chest fun day it can. On one of these lazy days, when I was sitting back while the boys had all the fun, I set up for an incoming right and this bonehead on my left saw me going for it and paddled just around me to be on the inside. I knew exactly what he was doing, and I said screw it and I took off on it anyway – probably not the safest decision – but he had been catching a lot of waves, and he knew I had that one. I don’t know whether it was his innate human impatience that we all seem to have one way or another, or if it was the fact that I was a chick and he thought it was an easy steal. Either way, he is not the guy I am writing this for. He gives surfer boys a bad name.
No, this column is dedicated to the guy who restored my faith in the kindness of mankind. Just a few days ago, during a very crowded and bigger “boys only” session at Sands Beach, I resolved to take what I could get. With all the bodies and boards out there, I figured I better play it safe. So when I paddled for one of my few waves of the day and saw a guy who had the inside, I started to pull out. And that’s when he waved his hands and yelled those two magic words, “Just go! Just go!” So I went, and he rode it behind me. It wasn’t my best wave of the day, but it was definitely my favorite. I took that wave in and smiled all the way home. Wherever you are, gentleman of the sea, thank you. You are what surfing should be about: enjoying the ocean and sharing it with your fellow surfers.
So whether surfing or just watching someone try to get into your lane on the freeway, remember this and every once in a while let someone “Just go!” Trust me, it will mean more than scoring one more wave or getting somewhere just three minutes faster.