19.11.2011 - 03.12.2011 30 °C
Unbelievingly, some people have actually read my last post. I know this as I have a very clever number that tells me how many people have visited it! As such, I'm prompted to actually write the next post. Lets plough on and see if the interest (yours and mine) continues...
After a lengthy day of travelling I was finally in deepest, darkest Costa Rica. The actual area in which I was staying was Playa Guiones, Nosara. I believe I mentioned this in the last post, but for those with forgetful memories, I'm mentioning it again. This region is located in the North West of the country, with a coast that is totally exposed to the whims of the Pacific Ocean. This, or so I had been led to believe, put it in the enviable location of providing consistent surf for roughly nine months of the year. At this point in my vacation, it is too early to really say how accurate this prediction is, but we I will likely report on this in a later post.
The first morning, I awoke feeling somewhat refreshed after a nice nine hours sleeping in a wonderfully chilled room. I tentatively ventured outside to see if I could find any of the staff or the guests whom I had been told had also arrived yesterday, albeit much earlier in the day than myself. As my chalet was number one and was situated right next to the dirt track-cum-road, I made the logical choice and ventured up the gravel path away from the road. Half way up I met Rupert aka Ru (yes, it's pronounced in the same way as that character from Winnie the Pooh). He's the owner and manager of the resort, as well as being one of the surf coaches. He welcomed me and explained that breakfast was waiting for me at the top of the path by the pool and that he would be along shortly to give me the run down of the resort and how everything was going to be organised here.
Further up the slope I found a whole gaggle of people and was promptly swamped with names of the staff and the other guests. I, in my natural way of things, forgot most of these names within thirty seconds and am, even now, still trying to learn everyone's names! I sat down and got stuck into a hearty breakfast of tea and toast (a good way to set up any day!) and was soon joined by Ru so he could give me the run down of the resort. I was actually quite surprised to learn how structured the whole day was, with breakfast being promptly followed by one and a half hours surfing, followed by an hours theory lesson, lunch, another one and half hours surfing, an hours yoga (more on this later!) and finally dinner. This is pretty much the structure of each day, with some slight variations occasionally. It's actually quite nice to know that there is always something happening and that you aren't left to your own devices for large stretches of time. After all, while sunning oneself by the pool is good, it's not why I came hear!
After breakfast came the reason myself and all the other guests were here; the surfing. We loaded up the resorts quad bike and trailer with boards for everyone and clambered into the truck that is used for getting all the guests around. The resort itself is a couple of minutes drive away from the beach, down the aforementioned dirt track; close enough to walk if you wanted, but carrying an 8-9 foot the entire way would leave you tired before you even got in the water.
We split into two groups to begin with, those with experience and those without. It's not hard to guess which one I fell into. I wasn't alone though as out of the 13 guests the majority of us were surf virgins. This first lesson was spent talking about how to ride on a board, the importance of weight distribution on the board and what this does for us, turning the board (both trimming turns and carving turns) and the general process of catching a wave. I've thrown in a few technical terms here to show off my new found knowledge and to highlight just how much information was being presented to us. We spent this first lesson practising all of this in the white water (waves that have already broken) as this would form the basis of all further instruction and these skills represented the very core of being able to surf.
The first theory session was a video based lesson that Ru and Harry (the second main instructor here) gave to highlight weight placement on the board. They then also introduced the beginners to what is called 'the functional stance' so that in the afternoon lesson we could all get up standing on the board.
The second lesson rolled around, further instruction was given on where to stand on a board, how to get onto your feet, the stance and then we were off. All this instruction may have seemed excessive, yet on my second white water wave of the afternoon, I was on my feet and riding it into the shore! Something had obviously been sticking, the tuition was working and I was now a surfer! The rest of the afternoon was spent practising all that we had learnt up to this point, refining it and getting our stances as close to perfect as possible.
At this point I should say to all those non-surfers reading this, I realise 3 hours surfing out of a full day doesn't seem like much, especially when snowboarding or skiing will take place over a full 8 hours, but believe me when I say that after those three hours in the water, you are beat! Surfing has sapped my energy faster than almost any activity I have ever turned my hand too.
Now I did mention earlier about yoga, but as this particular entry has gone on already, I'll save that for another post. I'll finish off by saying that that night we went out for a meal, which while nice enough didn't have a lot special about it. However, it was a good chance to get to know the fellow guests a little bit. Most of my fellow transients were American (unsurprisingly), but there were also a couple that have come over from London and the guy from this relationships cousins were from Canada. We had a law student approaching her bar exam, an engineer who works on missile technology, a marine biologist and the couple from London were bankers, not to mention the ever-successful geophysicist! It was a nice mix of people who bonded quickly and, as is always a bit of a gamble in these situations, everyone got along with everyone else. A meal and good company; a pleasant way end to a brilliant first day wearing my new title of surfer!
Now, after my last post (maybe that should read 'first post') I've already had demands for photo's. Obviously these are in progress, but considering that the priority here is to spend time surfing, I've not had chance to transfer them off the camera. This will happen after I finish posting this!
I've also now turned on the comments section in case anyone feels like leaving any insightful statements, which I've no doubt several of you are itching to do! Fire away.
More to follow ASAP.