As the ghost wave approaches, it can be seen rolling in from way out on the horizon. It’s larger than any of the waves that came before it. Even from far out it is already casting a shadow. You can tell it’s going to break deep, so you paddle out as fast as you can. But you’re too late. Your life flashes before your eyes as you look up at a mammoth wall of water. The crest forming on the giant lip as it starts to spill over, and it’s aiming straight for your head.
You thrust your board under water with everything you got. As tired as you are, this is no time to half-ass your duck dive. So you go as deep as you can and pray. An explosion of water hits you right in the back and your board slips from your grip. Next thing you know you are doing cartwheels in a hurricane of white water. Almost out of breath you frantically swim to the surface.
Upon breaching you look for the next wave, but it’s surprisingly calm. The lineup is carnage. Surfers have been washed ashore, some have been separated from their surfboards. There is whitewater everywhere, stretching into the deeper part of the lineup.
As scary as being in that situation can be, it’s a pretty regular occurrence if you are into surfing anything over head high. In the moment it seems like a life threatening encounter. And yet the survival rate is surprisingly good. But we’re so afraid of injury, or the prospect of death, that few of us are willing to push ourselves into this position. But it’s not that bad, really, I swear. Once you get used to it, it’s actually pretty fun.
Keep in mind I’m not talking about 20-foot Mavericks of Teahupoo here. Waves like that are serious business with serious consequences if you make a mistake. All I’m saying is it’s good to keep pushing your comfort zone, and you’ll be surprised as to what you can survive.
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