It’s always an anxious time right as swell is arriving. You want to surf, but you don’t want to get surfed out. You especially don’t want to hurt yourself in smaller waves only to miss the big swell. You definitely don’t want to break your favorite board (as I did this morning!). It’s nearly impossible to stop looking at the ocean, even to eat, because you want to see the newest sets arriving and how the swell is developing…often set by set right in front of your eyes. The questions always start flying around: “How big do you think it’s going to be?”, “What about Salinas Grande, do you think that will be breaking?” (or worse, “what do you think Transito is like?”:-), “What board are you gonna’ ride?”, “Are we taking the boat?”, “What are the tides doing?” …etc. People pace. Questions are asked. People paddle out on the wrong tide at the wrong time…they’re shoulders get burned out paddling for waves they can’t catch and then they come in tired, spent and sunburned right as the tide is hitting it’s magic spot and then those “in the know” get the good waves. Sometimes people paddle for the biggest waves of the biggest sets and never get barreled while, again, those “in the know” sit inside and get smaller in between waves that drain consistently. It’s easier to say than to do, but patience must be maintained. Do you want to be the frothing grommet who gets hammered out of the gate or do you want to be Gerry Lopez who casually paddles out with dry hair and gets the best waves of the day with the most style points thrown in? Quiet observation and sound decision making will get you the best waves. It’s hard not to froth, but if you want to be one of those “in the know”, if you want to be like Gerry, relax, take your time and when that good waves does come to you…paddle like a shark is chasing you, it’s no time for the lazy man take off, Gerry owns that one!