Saturday, April 12, 2008

Efficiency of Fun: Skiing and Surfing

Skiing and surfing have been on my mind recently - along with the topic of efficiency. I'm more experienced with skiing, so I'll cover that first. Skiing is a lot of waiting, followed by a few minutes of fun, followed by a lot of waiting, etc. etc. The wait for the ski lift at your typical ski resort can be anywhere between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on how crowded the resort is. The ride up typically takes another 5-10 minutes. The run down, however, typically takes just a few minutes. From an efficiency point of view, this is not the greatest use of time. The "fun" to "waiting" ratio is relatively low. This analysis doesn't even take into account the time taken to drive or fly to and from the resort in question, gear up, and actually start skiing.

When looked at from this point of view, surfing is even worse. There is a lot of effort involved in finding a good surf spot, getting to the location, donning the wetsuit, and paddling out to the desired starting area. Once there, you try to stave off hypothermia and the nagging doubt that some form of aquatic life is going to sample portions of your anatomy while waiting for a good "set" of waves, then catch a wave and get a good 10-30 seconds of surfing, followed by the paddle back to the starting area. Depending on the locale, sets can last somewhere around 10 minutes, with approximately 30 minutes in between. Again, the "fun" to "waiting" ratio is relatively low.

However, some may say that the "waiting" isn't actually not "fun". If you're in line waiting for the ski lift with your ski partner(s) or riding the ski lift, it is a great opportunity to chat with them. Likewise, when you're sitting on your board waiting for the next set to roll in, a good conversation will help you keep your mind off the increasing number of extremities that you can't feel. Now that I think about it, the same goes for skiing, especially as the day wears on and the temperature starts to drop.

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