I went surfing in Honolulu this year. Here’s me looking cooler than I really am.
This is what I usually look like when I surf:
That’s because surfing is really hard. Like the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
What you can’t see in these pictures is me swimming out to the breaks some 150 yards off the coast. It’s exhausting—even for someone like me who’s in moderately good shape.
You also can’t see the giant waves crashing into me while trying to get out to sea. That’s a whole other level of exhausting.
On top of that, you can’t see the most important thing behind these photos. My surf guide Trevor. He towed me out to the breaks when I was physically unable to (about half the time). And he read the best waves to exert myself into catching.
With his instruction, I was able to catch some great waves on my own. I caught the longest ride of the day, in fact, by myself—a righteous 15 second ride all the way to the sand.
Still unsatisfied, I told my wife afterwards how unfit and emasculated I felt having someone tow me out to the waves half of the time. “If I can’t do it by myself, I don’t feel like I deserve to ride those waves.”
I was ready to throw in the towel. My wife just listened to my frustration and then finally she encouraged me. “If you still want to do it, I think you should. You don’t have to make up your mind right away. And it’s okay to attempt things that are intimidating or hard.”
My friend Wesley said the same. We’ve adventured together all over the world. “Surfing is the hardest thing I’ve done in my life,” he admitted. It was so good to hear that.
Afterwards, I decided I would keep surfing, even though it’s debilitating and constantly humbling. I will keep trying.
But only because I talked to people I love and only because of their encouragement and empathy.
Morale of the story: The next time you feel like quitting something, talk to people you know and love first.
Thanks to Gone Surfing for helping me get up and for taking these photos.