Riding the waves
We’re down in the Florida panhandle at Navarre Beach this week. It has been beautiful while we’ve been here. Highs have been in the mid- to upper 80’s, and it has been mostly bright and sunny despite the forecast for thunderstorms. Don’t get me wrong: the storms are out in the gulf, but they seem to miss where we are every day aside from a few stray showers.
At night, it is really nice on the balcony. You can look out over the ocean and see the lightning dancing across the sky in the distance. But because of the storms, the calm, emerald water that draws us to this location has been quite choppy. We’ve had a yellow flag at the beach every day, which classifies the water as medium hazard with moderate surf and currents.
This flag means you can still get in the water, but you’re going to contend with steady, two- to four-foot waves pounding the beach. This situation is ideal for body surfing and boogie boarding, and we have had a blast out there doing both.
On this trip, I thought it would be cool and memorable to get the kids and me a surf lesson. We hired a local surf shop, and they met us right outside our condo.
Our instructor’s name was Kia. He was a 19-year-old guy who was raised in Hawaii. I liked him, and he was good with the kids. We started out on the beach where he showed us how to lay on the board and then talked to us about the balance points on the board.
You see, on a surfboard, there’s a front-to-back balance you have to find. If you’re too far forward on the board when the wave comes, your weight will push the nose of the board down, and the fins on the back of the board will pop up and out of the water causing you to miss the wave. If you are too far back on the board, you kind of just fall out of the back of the wave.
But there’s also a side-to-side balance you have to consider. This is important when you go to stand up. Kai explained that you should push up with your arms, like in a cobra yoga pose, and then slide your front foot into the center of your arms. And then, you stand up.
Neglecting to put your front foot in the midline of the board will cause you to get off balance, and fall rather quickly. This took a couple of practice runs, but before long, the kids and I were all riding waves.
Now, I said it had been rough ocean conditions while we’ve been here. But on the day of our lesson, the ocean was the calmest it had been during our visit. Waves were intermittent with heights of only one to two feet. This was a great day to be in the ocean swimming and even snorkeling, but not the best surfing day — at least for me.
You see, Seph and Ari’el had a blast. They got to ride every single wave that came their way. Me, on the other hand — I only got to ride a handful of waves. The reason for this had to do with size and, ultimately, weight. My kids are a foot shorter than me and weigh less than half what I do. Because of that fact, it takes less energy to propel them forward. And smaller waves equal smaller energy.
Nearly every wave that came their way allowed them to stand up and ride the wave all the way to the beach. But for me, with too small of a wave, I’d stand up only to stall mid-way to the shore.
I figured out that I needed to wait for the biggest waves in order to get a good ride. And that meant I had to be very patient and take fewer waves.
As I sat there waiting for my next wave, I thought about how this surf scenario corresponds to today’s real estate market. You see, deals are still out there coming in regularly. Many have smaller profit margins than they did before, which makes them smaller waves. If you have a small overhead, you can ride any of those for a long distance. But if your investing company has a heavy budget, those smaller waves are not going to carry you.
This means you’ll have to be patient and wait for bigger waves. But the question is, can you wait that long, or will you go under before you get to the beach?
With deal flow slowing, you need to be looking at your overhead and seeing where you can cut expenses and lighten your load. REI businesses that built themselves on volume are going to be too heavy to make it on the slimmer deals. But smaller, mom-and-pop-type investors that have stayed lean will be able to ride as many waves as they want and have a ton of fun doing it.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.