Costa Rica: Learning to Surf

So. What about the surfing, Amy? Wasn't that sort of the entire point of the trip? And yes, it sort of was. I was super duper excited to try surfing. I had attempted it twice in my life before. Once on a family trip to Hawaii in the fifth grade. And once at Jax Beach when I was about 13. I remember it being hard but liking it. Of course, I was much smaller then with a lower center of gravity which is huge when it comes to surfing. But, I work out a lot these days and I'm in the best shape of my life. That coupled with my absolute love of the ocean and the whole surfing thing was sounding pretty great to me. I couldn't wait to face this challenge. In yet another twist of this trip, everyone else had surfed before. And they were pretty darn good. So I was the only beginner. And surfing is no joke, my friends. I was on 9 foot long board and just hauling that thing around was a fantastic work out. Seriously, I should buy one and just carry it around the West Village every once and awhile.

We surfed every morning for about three hours. Some afternoons we surfed again, but not always. And I found that the first session left me fairly exhausted. Because I was a beginner I only ever surfed in the white water. Which means I (attempted to) catch waves that were white a.k.a. had already started to break. You know those awesome pictures of surfers who are riding a wave that's curling over them? Yeah, I was nowhere close to doing anything like that. I stayed in the shallow water and that was fine by me.

Surfing in the white water works like this: carry your board out through the breaking waves, spot a pretty good looking wave, swing your board around, hop on, paddle, catch the wave, pop up to a standing/crouching position and try like hell not to fall. It's not only a cardio workout, but it also takes a lot of core and leg strength as well. The "pop up" is not easy. We practiced tons of them in the sand and even those are hard. So add in the fact that you're popping up onto a moving surf board and it becomes quite difficult. For me, once I got up I would think "omg! I'm up!" and this would surprise me so much I would forget to crouch and find my balance and I would wipe out. So yeah, I did a lot of falling. And even though I wasn't a natural just being out in the ocean and getting my ass kicked by the waves was so much fun.

I'm not planning on buying a surf board and heading to Rockaway every weekend but I'd love to try it again soon. And now here's some pictures of me surfing for your viewing pleasure. (a.k.a. major nerd alert)

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