I press a button on my phone. A screen pops up with swirled colors, white arrows, and a highlighted graph. I close the screen and sigh. The report reads- small swell, with onshore winds. “Maybe tomorrow,” I think to myself. I put my phone down and become occupied with other tasks. “Ding,” my phone chimes, it alerts me that I have received a text message. Leaving what I am doing, I grab my phone again. “Chest high! A little textured, but not bad! Get here!” pops onto the screen. I tidy up, change into my bathing suit, grab my board, and head towards home- the ocean.
I pass a few fellow surfers on the way. “How is it!?” I ask. Some reply, “fun, enjoy!” Others say, “meh, it was okay.” And still others answer, “not worth it! The wind has picked up. Maybe tomorrow will be better.” I smile at each, confused by the mixed reports, and continue on my way.
I jog to the nearest overlook, curious as to what is really out there. “How will I see it?” I question. I look out and think to myself, “Perhaps they’re all right. To the taller folks, it is thigh to waist high. For those more my height, maybe it’s waist to occasional chest high. To those who are use to surfing offshore conditions, it’s conceivably a bit choppy.” But overall, who’s to say? What should one go by?
…The ocean. If you have time and really want the best report for yourself- go look!
Sometimes the best thing to do is to go to the source. You can’t always depend on a digital surf report to give you an accurate reading. Nor can you always rely on how others see it and their experience of it. So, go to the ocean- seek clarification, accuracy, and make your own decision on if you want to paddle out or not.
Nine times out of ten though, in order to ask the source, in order to ask the ocean about the waves, you simply need to paddle out. It’s always worth it. And it always, always, brings clarification.