Sunday was another great day out in the water. Fun, cold, sunny and a bunch of rippable little peaks. There were probably 200 people out in the water but only 5-10 of them were catching the majority of waves. A significant number of those rippers are long-time wood riders, but I don't think that had anything to do with it. The biggest reason that I could see was that most of the people in the water just weren't paying attention.
It is key that you learn how to study the ocean before paddling out. Find the rips, time the sets, see who is ripping, and find the peak you want. By doing this you will get so much more out of your session than just throwing yourself out into the breaking waves and hoping for something good.
A few months ago, it was a couple feet overhead but it was breaking pretty far out. Nobody was out, as usual. Before long though, one guy pulled into the parking lot and suited up. I suited up and got ready to join him for a session. Right as we were getting ready to run down the trail and jump in the water, another guy came running up to join us for the paddle out. I had been watching the lineup for 20 or 30 minutes. I knew where the channel was, where it was breaking, and how to get back out after each wave. And it paid off. Two of us paddled out, not hair dry by any means, but we made it out.
The third guy never made it outside of the inside. My buddy and I, Matt his name turned out to be, traded waves for almost three hours. Long fast rides from outside the rocks to the other end of the beach. And then long paddles back out watching the other guy firing along in the pocket.
Watch. Study. Think. Surf. In that order.
Life is short. You are good. Ride a board that makes you proud.