The first time I ever got on a surfboard was about 12 years ago in Byron Bay, Australia. I was three months into a year long trip traveling the world. Before landing in Australia I visited Tahiti and Fiji, where I was impressed by the big, majestic waves the south pacific had to offer. So when I arrived to the land down under, I was itching to take my first surf lesson.
And I did. It was me, an 11-ft monstrosity of some cushioned-top-pseudo-like-surf-boat, and some knee-high waves. I remember lugging my board to the water and secretly feeling relieved that these waves were just a “wee” bit smaller than the ones that I saw in Fiji. But that wasn’t the point. The point was I was going to learn to surf. I was stoked.
The surf lesson is mostly a blur except for the awkward moments which had me questioning if I had some undiagnosed coordination-balance disorder and also one ride I got. The ride really stands out. I didn’t even paddle for it. My instructor pushed me into the wave, and with a stroke of magic I gracefully found myself up and positioned for a ride that felt like I was floating on top of the world, all the way to shore. I was exhilarated. And instantly addicted.
Now fast forward five years to my first trip to Costa Rica
When I arrived in sunny Tamarindo, I headed immediately to the first beach bar that I came across to grab a cerveza and check out the ocean. It turned out to be Eat at Joes Restaurant at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp. And boy does that place have a spectacular view of the waves! I sat there, mesmerized by the waves and even more mesmerized by the surfers catching them. I instantly was transported back to Australia, and that amazing feeling I experienced riding my first wave in Byron Bay. I couldn’t ignore it. The ocean was calling.
Lucky for me, the board rental was right there, so I traded my cerveza for an 8ft fun board and ran to the ocean. I was with a friend who had much more surfing experience than I did, so she refreshed me on the basics of popping up and turtling a board. Before I knew it, I was in the water and paddling out past the break. And in no time at all, we were in the lineup making friends, paddling for waves, missing most of them, catching a few, and definitely wiping out.
We were out there for a solid hour before the MAGIC happened. (Yes, I said magic).
Anyone who has ever experienced a sunset lying on a surfboard knows what I’m talking about. At some point between sets, I looked up at the sky and saw these stunning clouds with shooting light illuminating different parts of the sky and the bright yellow sun setting in the background. I thought for sure I was in heaven. Or at least on the way. It was beyond epic.
After sunset, we bonded with our new surfing buddies swapping “best wave of the day” stories and sipping cerveza.
That’s when it hit me.
Like a ton of bricks.
I got surfing.
It’s not just about riding waves.
Surfing is about camaraderie, connection, appreciation, peacefulness, gratitude, and awesome-ness. Surfing is about being at one with ocean, nature and Mother Earth. Surfing offers an alternative vista from which to view your world.
At least that’s what surfing means to me.
And when I realized that, it rocked my world.
And I finally got why die-hard surfers say surfing is a way of life.
And that’s when the addiction hit full throttle.
From that point on, I became obsessed with surfing. My only viable vacation options were places where I could surf. Every free moment I had I was daydreaming about surfing, reading about surfing, or watching videos on surfing.
I found myself back in the tiny little beach town of Tamarindo just three months later, surfing those exact same waves. I did that six more times. Until I finally moved to Tamarindo. Now I surf those waves that propelled me into full blown addiction – every single day.
What’s your full blown addiction? The activity that keeps you healthy, active, and full of life?
When you discover what that is for you, you discover a powerful motivator that keeps you fit while having ridiculous amounts of fun.
To enjoying the ride and discovering,
P.S. Would love to hear what keeps you fit and healthy – drop it in the comments below. Gracias.