The Thrill of Getting Pummeled

Submitted by Tad Coffin of

I’m comfortable surfing head-high waves. I’ve been in bigger surf and today was one of those days. There were sets that measured a couple-feet-overhead on some sets, and I’m not talking overhead for Tattoo from Fantasy Island; I’m talkin’ Shaq-sized behemoths.

The wavelengths were longer than airport runways. Strong offshore winds created very steep and intimidating drops. Nice rolling 8-foot waves are what I would have liked to have surfed today, not a continual set of steamrollers.

When I paddled out the sets were coming in 4-6 foot, which were manageable, but as the sun went down a few monster sets charged through. I pulled out at the last second on about a half dozen waves for fear of getting sucked over the falls into the cauldron of viciously-churning whitewater soup.

I didn’t catch a single wave, well, some white wash, but even so, it was great. Just to paddle out and navigate what to me are gigantic waves is extremely exhilarating. I am more than happy just to be out there watching the shredders and staying out of the way. I’m not really a very good surfer, but I am pretty good at paddling and duck diving, which is really most of the battle.

The highlight was paddling further out as a bigger set came in and paddling, paddling, paddling so as not to get crushed in the now-further out impact zone, straight into the face of a giant wave. “I wonder if I’ll make it…” The wave is starting to crest, I’m at the bottom and I know I’ve made it, shooting up the face and splashing out the backside in a tremendous spray as the wave breaks just behind me, wind-flung water pouring down like a monsoon. Ahh… how nice. Plus all this and the backdrop of the setting sun.

I have a 7’6″ and a 7’0”. I would like to get a 6’10″ gun for the bigger days, but a new wet suit is in order first. I’ve had the same wet suit for 9 years. It’s got more holes than the morning shift at Dunkin’ Donuts. The 7’0” is old and clunky and harder to duck dive than the 7’6″ so I use the 7’6″ pretty much all the time. I had a 6’10″, but the nose snapped off. I fixed it but it got waterlogged and crusty looking, so I gave it to some kid for 5 bucks. He was stoked.

And isn’t that what it’s all about… whether catching 20 overhead-sized waves, shredding each one to pieces, or getting pummeled to the point you swear a limb is about to tear off your body, it’s all about being perpetually stoked to be in the bosom of Mother Nature’s playground.

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