Surfing Lessons

Garrett giving Bret Surfing lessons

Garrett giving Bret Surfing lessons

I’m back from a spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with our son Garrett on Maui. Though he lives in a beautiful corner of the planet, he’s in the trenches just like the rest of us. As the assistant manager of the Ka’ana Kitchen, one of the top rated restaurants in Maui, he had to work over Thanksgiving. However, Garrett did get a couple of days off earlier in the week to spend with us. One of those days we spent surfing.

Well I would say that one of us was surfing. Garrett’s pretty good at it and he was a patient teacher. Here’s a few things I learned as I splashed around in the sea.

Surfing takes time to master. It’s like learning to ski if the snow was moving under your feet. Learning to surf is all about a consistent effort over time. All of you have skills you’re good at: managerial, computer, social, maintenance and repair, cooking. Work isn’t about a burst of inspiration, it’s all about the daily routine. It’s about putting in the hours. Learning over time. Most of the morning I spent paddling around, falling, spitting out seawater. But I was learning. Be present and engaged day after day and you will improve.

Garrett never went after the first wave. He was patient. We waited. While others rushed in we bided our time. He examined his surroundings, not just the waves, but who was on his right and left. Were they likely to collide with us? Being a good observer and a good listener, can prevent mistakes and it can put you in a position to surf that perfect wave when it swells on the horizon.

I noticed that for the most part surfers were rooting for each other. There was a professional instructor teaching a class about 30 feet from us. He took the time to say hello to Garrett and they exchanged a few words about teaching. They were both polite and understanding. On the other hand, there was one guy who was oblivious to all around him. He hogged the waves. Arrogance and one-upmanship are for amateurs. You can choose to act like a professional or an amateur, beginning with your first day on the job. It’s not about skills, it’s about attitude. Be the gracious team player. Everybody is a beginner surfer at one time.

Thanks Garrett. It was a great morning. I swallowed a lot of salt water, I guess that was unavoidable. Pain and progress go hand in hand in surfing and in life. But that’s another lesson.