Do you like bigger surf?


Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2020
oceanside ca
Just curious of others preferences?
This last run of swell we had, had a couple of days that i feel like touched on my upper limits of being comfortable. I listen to myself and i will be honest there was one day I got scared out there and paddled in. Being 47 and having 2 kids I dont really get the feeling of "being alive" when i am scared, more so I realize its time to go home and there will be many more days to surf again.

For me with bigger surf...
Yes! I really like riding overhead waves. I love the speed and the big open faces that allow for big lines on bigger boards ( i rode 7'6"-8'6" boards through this swell).

No! Some of the paddle outs were brutal and scary. Took quite a few on the head, and I find my paddle out bag of tricks that work in surf up to 6' are not as effective when a 9' wave breaks 20 feet in front of you. I would be curious how different the experience is on a smaller board that can be duck dived. I can duck dive my 7'6" to a point, but not deep enough to get under the amount of power we just had. The mix of turtle roll ( some times i was flipped ), punching through ( pushed backwards) and ditching the board ( yes i did it safely a couple times safely, and then get dragged backwards underwater by my ankle)) does get tiring.

i am a person who enjoys catching lots of waves in a session. This surf we just had for me was quality, not quantity. A few sessions I had i think i only got 3 waves. Lots of waiting out back for the correct wave, and I am not one to usually complain about crowds, but my spots were more crowded than usual and I had a couple of beautiful rights destroyed when I was dropped in on.
And I will say I just dont love the paddle out. I like to push my physical limits, i dont mind having the ocean tumble me, But like said I took a few sets on the head that gave me a serious thrashing. Its interesting when I was talking to my wife about the bigger surf I said that riding bigger waves is not all that difficult... the difficulty for me is the paddle out, wave selection, and the correct time to kick out / turn out.

To surf overhead waves in one of those places you travel to that have a defined reef channel to make the paddle out easier would be amazing!!!
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Well-Known Member
Jun 26, 2021
I like a variety. I'm perfectly happy in waist to shoulder high, offshore winds on a log trimming and cruising but I also like to test myself, push myself occasionally on a big day. I also like really small days from time to time as well. Variety is the spice of life


Well-Known Member
Dec 22, 2020


Well-Known Member
Oct 18, 2006
I love it. Exhilarating and exhausting and challenging. As I said to a friend last week, I've been getting the best sleep I've had in years. Turns out getting the crap kicked out of you every morning really helps.

A few things I've learned

1. Have a good wave board that you feel confident on. Confidence is at least half the equation. On the right board you won't be second guessing yourself
2. Study the beach. All that water moving in is also moving out. Find the currents (sometimes nasty ones) and use it to your advantage
3. When shit hits the fan, don't panic. Stop to assess the situation, plan, adapt
4. Know your limits, don't be afraid to call it quits or stay on the beach. You don't need to prove anything to anyone


Well-Known Member
Jun 28, 2021
For the past year I have actively been pursuing larger waves. I ordered a gun and am doing apnea training

This weekend I took an apnea course by a world recordholder freediver.

To me bigger waves are double overhead and up. DOH for me is a 4 meter wave face.

As the waves are cleaner and more organized I feel more confident as size increases, stormy shifty beach breaks not so much

Chilly Willy

Well-Known Member
Feb 15, 2004
USA New Jersey
@mightyrime - I echo your sentiments completely. It's all fun until it's not. Other factors besides size matter too, like if it's rolling or tubing, the tide, the currents, the severity of the sneaker sets, the irrational perception that some random seagull is giving me the stinkeye, whatever my excuse is. I've battled it for years and have finally come to the realization that it's not so much excuses as much as it is that I've developed some level of instincts about ocean conditions should trust myself. That said, I do enjoy challenging myself within reason and the feeling of becoming "the hunter, not the hunted" in those conditions is supremely satisfying.

I find that I still really enjoy the challenge of big and sloppy days on a bodyboard. Around here, those are the NE wind days in the summer where everything is chopped up and heaving over. It's a lot easier to handle because duckdiving a sponge is easy, and I have a great time taking some big drops and trying to find a good line to make something out of it. It's great because it turns unsurfable days into something to look forward to. I still get nervous on those days but just remind myself of focus my energy around routine -- just think about each step of the duck dive as it is happening, execute each one like I've done successfully countless other times, and don't let panic take over.


Well-Known Member
Apr 2, 2014
Florida USA
Putting getting worked over during the paddle out aside, , , , , I was an excellent swimmer before I ever saw a surfing board. Once I got into the line up I was always very courteous and what-not but, when a good set popped up outside I generally left everybody in the dust getting to the biggest peak/shoulder. Fell in love with Monster Hole. You could almost guarantee that it would be twice the size as most anywhere else. There were some DOH+ days that were so choice.


Active Member
Mar 11, 2008
For me, I like "certain" big waves.

First, I assess the paddle out. If I think can get out without doing battle for 30 mins, I'm usually in. I don't want to get out already burnt out and spent as that is when things can go bad.

If waves are really hollow and pitching fast, I'm not feeling confident after 10-30 mins of studying, I'll spectate and study for the next time. Watch the how, when, where, what other successful surfers are doing and maybe more important what not to do.

If I'm unsure of bottom (rocks, etc) I'll typically sit out (except once I when in Peru when younger & dumber) unless with a local that knows the spot.

If they are big and rolling, I feel much more confident about it, I'll typically go out.

Friday, I watched Seal Beach's Cloudbreak breaking big for a while. Only seen it happen 2-3 times in 35+ years. Studied the channel to get out, planned worst-case exit plan, and felt confident.

Paddle out into what was easily DOH and few likely 3-4x bombs.

Biggest waves of my life (going on 52).

Sat out there for some time letting sets roll by to real understanding of the water and fellow surfer movement.

Watching very few people going, a lot of people floating out there.

Once I felt confident that understood the environment (and possible repercussions)...

Went for it.

Waited for 3 of the biggest bomb sets in the 3x+ (based on surfline playbacks).

Dropped in, went faster than ever and bucked off. Rinse cycle and repeated. Each time with more confidence pushing my personal limit.

One successful ride that day but lots of learnings (building confidence) to be better prepared for next time.

Friday the 13th was a little scary and very exhilarating to say the least. I dreamt about nearly every night since. Collected amazing memories.

More importantly for me, I think the experience will make me a better surfer when it's smaller.

That being said... some of the funnest (versus memorable) days of surf for me is 2-5ft sunny midweek days when few people are out.

Ultimately, I'm happy anytime I'm in the ocean, regardless of wave size.


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