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How Intense is Too Intense in Knee-High Surf?

knee high crowded surfWinter has passed, the springtime winds appear to be on their way out, summer is just around the corner and this can only mean one thing….the warm weather crowds are making their way to a line-up near you.

Overcrowded breaks are something the majority of us deal with on a regular basis. As schools break for the summer season and cool air and cold water no longer discourage many from paddling out, competition for waves starts to rise and it becomes inevitable that the intensity levels at your local break will surely elevate. I know it has at the spot that I do the majority of my surfing, and today’s session left me wondering this – How intense is too intense when you’re surfing small waves in a crowded line-up?

It was pretty interesting to just sit in the water and watch surfers treating a clean 2 ft. swell as if it were the final heat of the Pipeline Masters. Overly aggressive paddling, constant jockeying for position… all for waves that could be called waist high at best. I would even go as far to say that I would be hard-pressed to pick out even a handful of surfers who appeared to actually be enjoying themselves. The crowd and over-surfing of a tiny swell were enough of a turn-off to make an afternoon session less fun than it should be, and I ended up deciding to move to another break.

I have no right to tell other people how to surf, and I wouldn’t even dream of doing such a thing. All I can do is recommend something to try for those who paddle after knee-highs like a starving dog after a bone – Take a deep breath, check out the unreal surroundings all around you, pass a couple of waves up to young guys and beginners, and just enjoy the experience.

With surfing- It’s all about the smiles.

Posted by Shaun on Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 in Surfing.

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One Response to “How Intense is Too Intense in Knee-High Surf?”

  • Amber Says:

    Agreed! I took a friend to Waikiki to show her how to stand up on a smaller wave, and give her a good, fun, and non-intimidating shot at surfing. I didn’t realize we were paddling into a war zone. She got surfed over twice on the way out, and once we made it past the children and surfing classes to where the people who go who somewhat know what they were doing she couldn’t get one wave. Some people with more skills were determined to get all the waves, and even yelled at us for trying to get some. I understand not wanting to give up a good ride to someone who might just fall off before they even get up, but if you are unwilling to be chill with helping other people catch something maybe you should go to a less crowded break.

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