Surfing in Costa Rica
When I signed up for a yoga retreat in Costa Rica, one of the activities was surfing. “Okay – cool – I can do this” I thought when I sent the rest of my deposit in. Did I mention I’ve never surfed before?
I am an uncoordinated individual. Sports weren’t and still aren’t my jam and I usually got picked next to last (thanks to the mercy of my friends) for the kickball team in gym class. Faced with the thought of surfing in Costa Rica surrounded by fellow yoga retreaters who I’ve never met before was intimidating.
On day three of the retreat, we were in Tamarindo Beach and it was the first day of surfing lessons. I decided that a mojito was more appealing than looking like a fool on a surfboard. After my third mojito and round of chips and guacamole, my new-found yoga friend and I decided to check on the brave souls working it in the water. Everyone looked like they were having a blast. The best part was that no one was graceful or a professional at it, they were genuinely having fun even when a wave thrashed them!
After our yoga practice and breakfast the next morning, we had another surf lesson. I could’ve thrown back another mojito or two (hey, it was vacation) but I decided to just suck it up and get my toosh on that board. There were about four of us who participated in surfing that day. We put our rash guards on (the water was super warm so a wetsuit wasn’t needed) and walked on the beach carrying our long boards and found a spot to practice surfing form.
They showed us how to paddle and how to get up on our board. I hopped up on the surfboard and thought, yep, I totally got this. No big deal.
When we got in the ocean, I laid on my board and paddled out to the instructors. I started to get nervous the more we paddled away from the shore. I mean, I was already 75% there though, might as well go the rest of the 25%, right? So I continued to paddle.
Well, guess who got to the best spot before everyone else and had no choice but to grab the first wave of the day? This lucky lady right here.
To be honest, I don’t remember much of what happened at that moment. I remember seeing a small-ish wave coming towards me. I remember hearing some encouraging words in the background from the instructor and my fellow yogis. I definitely remember hoping that my swim bottoms didn’t fall down in front of everyone during the surfing process. But then it hit me – get up and just freaking try it, Lauren.
I paddled and paddled and replayed in my head how to get up on the board. Before I knew it, the wave was right on the end of my board. The roar of the ocean and my fast heartbeat were distracting, but I vaguely heard someone yell to get up. So I did. And do you know what happened next? This:
That’s right – I rode the wave! I got it on my very first attempt ever at surfing. ‘Holy crap, I’m surfing,’ I thought. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone around was cheering me on and I was on a whole other level of awesome.
My high was short lived though after I realized I was approaching the shore. Huh, we didn’t really talk about how to get off the board. So I kind of just awkwardly jumped and fell into the shallow ocean.
As I walked on shore soaking wet and carrying my surfboard, I came to the realization that that wasn’t so bad after all. After getting out there two more times, my legs and lungs were ready to call it a day. That’s when it was time to sit in the sand, take in the Costa Rica sun, and go grab a fresh mojito.