"and you should definitely stop surfing"... Those terrifying words were uttered by my primary care doctor a couple weeks ago after reviewing an MRI report that stemmed from my complaints about sciatica nerve issues. I'm stubborn by nature, but since it's getting colder anyhow I decided to at least halfheartedly heed the advice, only going out occasionally and listening to my body a bit more (i.e., not pushing through the pain). Lying prone actually provides relief to my back and it's only the popup action that could be uncomfortable. Am I making it worse? Probably not, but I'm quite certain I'm not making it better either (likely only surgery will do that - I'll find out at the end of the month when I talk to a neurosurgeon). Pulling back on the frequency and duration of surf sessions is having a noticeable effect on my overall being. People at work started asking how I am and if I'm "ok". What do you say to such things when you're clearly not, but not because of anything they'd understand? Fast forward to today - whipping west west winds, closest working buoy showing 14 ft at 10 sec. Found my somewhat sheltered honey hole working but not without maximum effort - ripping current and paddling in to any wave required total commitment to overcome the blowback and blind takeoffs. I got a couple ok rides and got absolutely worked on a couple (one classic late takeoff / over the falls / shoved to the bottom that actually felt good in some crazy way). After about 90 minutes self preservation started to kick in as I was getting cold and tiring from fighting the current - time to go in - one last wave time. I got a little one, but it didn't feel like a proper last wave - so back outside. Then she came - looked to be a honking left I had no business paddling into in my current state, but what the heck. I turned and stroked as hard as my rubber-clad hands would paddle. The drop was weird - the wind held me on the lip and held the lip from throwing (thank goodness) for what felt like an eternity - then I started to slide down the face and the wave took shape - a nice walled up left. I heard a hoot and looked down the line to a classic scene: another surfer way down the line hands raised hooting me on (I try to leave vanity out of my surfing experiences, but this was pretty cool). I made the drop, set a line and rode it as far as I could until the wave decided to close out near the rocks. Ride over, session over. Stoke returned. Back feels ok too, now 4 hours post-session - no worse and I really didn't feel any discomfort during popups today.