I'm going to share with you an experience from about two weeks ago. I recently acquired a new board from a friend to borrow for a while. It's a 7'4" and is quite a bit narrower and in a more "semi - gun" style vs my previous 8' wide fun shape. The fin set up on the new board is also fairly unique with a double - half thruster design. The transition has been a ROUGH one.
I've posted before about transitioning on my last board, but it wasn't like this. I feel like a complete Kook lately. And it hasn't been just a few sessions, it's been a few weeks, which for me is like 5/6 sessions?
Finally, this past weekend I started seeing my old skill level returning, but I have to be honest... my self esteem was really taking a huge dive. I felt worthless as a surfer. I felt small and crappy. The men around me looked at me like I was a beginner and I felt like I had to constantly explain that I was in fact on a new board and was just figuring it out. Imposter syndrome set in so hard and I started asking myself if I had made up in my head all the advancement I had achieved.
But I realized that I was placing this overwhelming sense of perfection on my shoulders. Every single surfer I have talked to has agreed that moving to a new board is a challenge. And me being so hard on myself was taking me out of my element. You need to love the whole sport of surfing, not to just parts where you're good. And although I miss my old board and ripping on waves, I reminded myself that I fell in love with the sport because of how it makes me feel, not because of what other people see when they look at me.
I also noticed that when I make chit chat with people I do much better, because I'm more relaxed. I'm so used to paddling out and having to completely kill it right away to prove to the dudes out there that I belong, but on this board, with it being new, I can't really do that. So instead, I'm just making buddies, and getting comfortable. Now, the waves that I choose are ones that I'm actually catching. And I know that as I get used to this board, the more I'll feel like my old self again.
It's just weird going from crushing it, to be constantly crushed. But I just have to keep my head up, and remember surfing is just between me, my board, and the ocean. The asses who judge me can go fuck themselves because they aren't a part of it.