When you are in the surf you have to find ways through the swell. Normally going under the wave works. The top of the wave is falling and the bottom only moves slightly. The surf is strong. No matter how strong you think you are it is nothing compared to the momentum of the wave. This is mainly when you are trying to get beyond the surf. If you are coming back into shore you can use the waves energy to propel you to the shore. You can’t really fight the surf. Maybe if the surf is small it is a different story but even then you will be better off going with the energy of the surf. I loved body surfing but haven’t been in the surf for a while. Where I live in Coogee the beach is known for shore dumpers. You need to know the right spots and the right times. Also, the beach is known for seaweed. It isn’t all bad though. The tides can help a lot. A few years back I had a shoulder injury so I didn’t go into the surf for a while and lost interest. My shoulders are fine now but I prefer having a dip in a rock pool away from all of the sand and surf.
I am definitely weaker with age. In some ways that can help because you will try and find all of the soft points of the surf. At the same time though you can feel like you have been in a washing machine when you hit the surf. I don’t really miss it, to be honest, but I remember the lessons learnt. Don’t struggle, if you get caught in a rip don’t swim against it but cut through the side to get out of the rip. Now with Covid, I have avoided the beach even more. Everyone crams onto the sand. The rock pool is less busy. I normally like to go to the beach late in the afternoon with daylight savings to beat the crowds. Also, I prefer a high tide. I did a couple of swims earlier in the year when a friend from years back reappeared. We went to the rock pool and I think I might make a late visit one day after work next week. Definitely not on the weekend.