Ever since I was young, I have thought surfing was cool. I saw it in movies and TV; everything from Beach Blanket Bingo to the North Shore, Point Break–I could go on and on….actually, come to think of it, I believe the Brady’s went surfing in their Hawaiian adventure. There is something amazing about being able to ride a wave and catch a curl.
Now, living nowhere near the ocean, the best I could come up with is snowboarding. Sadly, I had already become a skier and worried that I wouldn’t be able to make the change. So, I never even came close to it.
When I booked the trip to Costa Rica, I saw that there was a half-day surfing lesson included in the trip. Awesome. Of course, I went into the venture with my eyes open. I figured that with only a half day lesson, just standing up on the board would be difficult. I expected to maybe stand up once–and expected to fall shortly thereafter.
On our second day in Puerto Viejo, we went to a local beach break called Playa del Negra (black sand beach) and got instructions by the Happy Days surfing company. They were all accomplished surfers–one represents Costa Rica on the national stage–and really passionate and fun people to be around. We spent some time getting instructions, stretching, and practicing getting up. Then we hit the water.
Wow! The first time the surfboard launched ahead was magical. The speed was incredible. Needless to say, I got up and managed to fall off rather quickly. The fall was not painful, but the waves were strong and definitely worth respect.
The next bunch of attempts did not yield a great result, but the instructors said I was getting closer each time. They offered lots of spot corrections and tons more encouragement. By this time, several members of the group had managed to stand. A few even showed more promise. I, on the other hand, was growing tired of paddling out to the instructors. My arms were still store from both rafting and canyoning in the previous days.
Then, it happened. I actually stood up on the board, maintained my balance and rode the board into the shore. My group clapped for me. I was so pumped at this moment. It was amazing. It was like the first time I hit a homerun. It was like the first time I threw out a runner trying to steal second. It was like the first time I served an ace. It was like…well, you see what I mean.
I went out again. The instructors congratulated me and told me to keep it up. I managed to stay on the board again. I even managed to steer it a little when it was slowing down. I felt like a giant.
I took a moment to soak in the joy. It was then that I realized that I was completely drained. I could barely pick up the board.
Would I try it again. Definitely.