Why do I freak out in onshore close-outs?

Yup...going to get pounded good and proper today...Sigh.

Yup…going to get pounded good and proper today…Sigh.

I waxed my board extra well this morning (to avoid any more slips like last week) and then stood watching the waves. Hopes of practising the unbroken waves went tra-la-la-la-la-la’ing away. Onshore, close outs. At least 4 foot. Nope nope nope. Not for me.

Why do I struggle so much with onshore conditions and close outs? All my confidence dribbles away and I end up moping around and believing I can’t surf? I end up getting wave after wave breaking on top of me and just end up in the white water again. I guess I was hoping since it’s summer now we’d have more northerly winds, making it offshore more often. I don’t even mind paddling out in bigger surf – it it’s offshore. But 4 foot onshore is enough to knock me flying.


Nose diving was a common occurrence today. I haven’t nosedived in MONTHS. Meh. I don’t know what it is about onshore close-outs. They’re the kibosh on my confidence, for sure. Is it just an experience thing? Or am I doomed to fear the onshore close-outs for life?

I’m going out again tomorrow and I am not going to come in until I get a FEW unbroken waves. Not the little ones either. I want a good and proper wave so I can practise. Ocean, please, please give me the opportunity to succeed. I promise I’ll love you even more!


12 thoughts on “Why do I freak out in onshore close-outs?

  1. How well do you know your break…I mean like really know it? Watch the best people out and figure out what they are doing. Maybe they are only catching the medium ones or maybe their is one section that lets you in a bit early.

    Big close outs are not fun for anyone.

    • I know where to watch the lumps to see when the waves will come, where the rips are, where the rocks/boulders are, the two different types of waves that are at the beach and I know where the mushy sections are. When it’s closing out, I only see the really good surfers out the back (they’re the ones doing floaters and smashing it off the lip as it dumps down). I just don’t feel confident because the waves are too big to just collapse on me. I’m sick of always being set back with lack of confidence.

      • I can really see how much this frustrates you.

        It just takes a lot of trail and error…mainly errors. You have to learn to do floaters and lip line turns to pull off those kind of things.

        I would say the huge difference between a decent surfer and a pro is the first 10% of a wave. I see a lot of people take off late but they can not effectively take the right line to make it to safety. Sometimes it is simple bobbles when they stand up and they end up losing their balance which robs them off time. I blew a super critical drop just yesterday in fact because the wave wobbled when I was getting to my feet and it threw me off enough that I ended up straightening off. Happens to us all!

      • Thank you. I love your advice soooo much! I just have to have FAITH in myself. My coach Mal said I can do it, I just need to believe I can do it. It’s just trying to escape my head and being in the moment eh?! Happy New Year! x

      • I enjoy giving out advice and this has helped me out as well. I am used to helping out kids who surf in contests so it is a matter of tweaking things. It is a different ball of wax when the person has no experience doing something and you are trying to build them up to something. So it has been cool to dig into things a bit deeper to be meaningful.

        For example, I started to write something about Kelly Slater the other day and had to stop myself because a contest and Kelly Slater are not something you can relate with and it sounded like advice for some kid in a club contest.

        Anyway, from your videos; I can see that you have improved. Somethings just take some time.

        Here is to the new year!

  2. Onshore closeouts are the worst! That’s all we’ve had down here for the past few weeks too, and it really does make you crave the green waves! But surf even in that and it’s amazing what you can do on a good day. Keep up the good work:) xx

  3. I learned to surf when I was 35. I could only handle a long board on a point break. I couldn’t stand up fast enough to handle onshore breaks, even if they had decent shape. Onshore closeouts were not something I ever considered trying to surf.

    But you’re young. I bet you can do it. Just be careful. I caught a scag in the side once on an onshore break and ripped a hole in my wet suit. Another time on the same beach I got bonked a little in the head.

    The best ride I ever got was at Rincon, CA. The last time I surfed there, which was basically the last time I ever surfed (I moved away from the ocean), four dolphins caught a wave right in front of me as I sat watching. I’ve always felt like they were saying good-bye.

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