I was 15 when I started surfing. It is one of the most beautiful (and violent, difficult, frustrating) things I have ever done. I remember that I had an instructor who once told us: when you paddle out to a safer zone (behind the waves), it's just like in real life. If a bigger wave suddenly rises in front of you, you can decide to give up because you're tired; dive, be shaken and dragged 10 meters back -and start all over again. And that's fine. Or you can find the resources to paddle harder for a few seconds, even if you shoulders are already painful. That last effort can take you to a safe zone; you'll fly over the wave feeling weightless, and hear it break right behind you... until the next one.