I went for a surf this week.
It was my first day of no work in quite a while, so I decided that rather than stress about it I’d enjoy it.
When I got to the carpark at The Spot there was one other car there and it was a beautiful sunny, offshore day with a very small swell. I sat there for a few minutes and watched some waves roll in. Small… low tide, so very shallow, breaking fast, but ridable and best of all, no one out… That’s a rare find at any break these days so I decided to watch a bit longer.
I hopped out of the car and stood in the carpark and got talking to the other guy.
‘Not much happening’ he says.
‘No – true – but still – a beautiful day and no crowds’ I reply.
He was on his phone checking some data on the net. ‘I’ve been here 30 minutes now. The sets are at 5 minute intervals, the tide is rising… and he went on with info about swell interval etc etc.’ He had every piece of data you could want on what the surf was like today and it said to him that it wasn’t any good. Now I’ll grant you it wasn’t epic Spot, but after he drove off I decided to paddle out.
And it was small, shallow (first ding in the new board…) and fast, but I had a good 15-20 waves in the next hour and a surf that was as good as any I have had in the last year.
The difference was that I paddled out and got into it rather than analysing the data and making a sensible decision.
I think we do this often in life. Look at the data, see that the numbers don’t add up and miss an opportunity. There are times to listen to the numbers and times when you just have to paddle out and take the punt. It doesn’t always pay off but then the numbers don’t tell you everything either.
When it comes to faith some people look at the ‘data’ and conclude that ‘the numbers don’t add up’. The evidence doesn’t seem to point to the existence of a God – although it very much depends on whose evidence you are listening to…
And then there are others who get a sniff of the truth and follow their nose into the water, only to discover a reality that defies all apparent evidence. Perhaps you’re in the carpark and have a sense that the truth is out there?
Maybe you need to paddle out and see for yourself?