Most people who know me would assume I’d enjoy surfing. My passion is wakeboarding, I even moved to Florida to teach people how to wakeboard, I ride all the time, teach many people, and love the sport. Wakeboarding naturally gets associated with surfing. In fact, most wakeboarders who have surfed seem to really enjoy it as well as wakeboarding. Not me.
Now it’s true, I haven’t really given it a full chance, but I feel that with the little time I’ve put into it, surfing will never be something I’ll want to do on my own free will.
As a wakeboarder, especially an instructor in central Florida, I am very lucky to have access to many perfect wakeboard boats. The lakes here couldn’t be better for the sport, the water is usually flat, you can ride year round, and I usually ride with people at least as good as me, if not much better. I’m no slouch, but I coach the women’s World Champion, and am friends with many of the best in the sport. Yes, I’m very lucky, and I love it!
Those boats put out a perfectly shaped, massive, and consistent wake. I can ride that for as long as my body can take it. I don’t have to chase that wake, all I have to do is hold onto the handle at the end of the rope and enjoy! When I crash, I can catch my breath, relax, and wait to get picked up again for another perfect wake. I get to jump high in the air, do spins, flips, and grabs, and I know I can count on the wake to be there for me every time. And all of this takes place in pleasant fresh water.
Now let’s look at surfing.
This last time I joined a friend to try surfing went like this. I spent about ten minutes paddling out into the waves. I’m in Florida, so they weren’t very large waves, but it still took me a while because I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was in the ocean with waves pushing against me. Once I got to where it looked like I might be able to catch a wave, I tried to figure out the best way to do that. True, I have no training, but I’m comfortable standing on the water at least. I managed to “catch a wave” fairly quickly, but the whole time I was moving back toward the beach, I was considering crashing so I could save some paddle time on the way back out.
Each glorious wave I caught lasted less than ten seconds (yeah, I’m not good at it), and with salt water in my sinuses and back of my throat, I would spend another five to ten minutes paddling back out into the waves in hopes of awkwardly standing on a big slow board for a few seconds with no chance of jumping or doing any tricks.
I mentioned that I was with a friend. That was fun because we paddled out together for about two minutes, then he was much further out than me, and we were too far apart to even see each other for the rest of the hour and a half or so.
So to sum it up, I wakeboard in fresh water with big wakes and nice boats where I get to do all the tricks I can think to try. All my effort goes into actually standing on the water, moving around and getting up in the air. When I surf, it’s paddling into nasty salt water waves trying to push me backwards for about 98% of the time, then getting pushed back to the shore the other 2% of the time. Yes, to me, surfing equals getting pushed back to shore so you can get another great paddling workout…all with nasty salt water in every part of your body.
Oh, and one last thing, even wake surfing is terrible.