The other day I looked and was dabbling in the idea of paddling out. It was wild and big and cold, but the fuller wide ones looked manageable and would keep me away from a total pounding on the inside. There were quite a lot of crew out there, and double that number standing on the sidelines watching – the place is like an amphitheatre, which is a bit daunting. I sat on the rocks and watched and wondered and hesitated. If I’d been with a friend, I wouldn’t have wondered at all. I would have gone out. My friends always seem to have more faith in my abilities than I do, which always gives me more courage and confidence. As I sat there, a guy skipped up the rocks towards hi car. What’s it like? I asked him. Pretty full on. There’s a strong rip that drags you around the corner. He didn't advise me against it, but he wasn't suggesting it was good enough out there to take it on either. I talked to him a while longer to avoid making a call on what to do. It's a knack I have.
After he went to get warm, I watched the floating bodies in the section I was thinking I could sit in and they seemed okay. They were all on shortboards too – bodies submerged and flailing, dragging themselves through the water, where I would float on the surface. I knew, really, that I would be okay. I can handle all that.
But then I hesitated. I looked again at the rocks, the steely water and the expanses of whitewash, all with that guy’s words in my ears and, well, that was that. I stayed ashore.