So before paddling out, you check the conditions. The wind, the swells, the sets. You don't just fling yourself into the surf. That wouldn't be wise. You need to see what you're working with today.
It's a lot like a morning meditation. But in meditation, you're checking out the internal landscape. What are the conditions today - of the physical, mental, and emotional body? Meditation is the paddle in, before paddle out into the day.