Spanish classes go from eight in the morning to noon. Then on certain days four of us walk down the hill next door to the surf shop. Here Jorge and his gang take us to the beach with the best waves for that day. How cool is it that during my first lesson I was able to stand up and ride a wave all the way in about three times?
Now, of course, I fell the other ten or so times. I mean I was brand new to surf sports after all.
Jorge, my surf instructor, is from here originally, but like most surfers, seemed like he was from Southern California. He had bleached blond streaks of hair and was lean and tan with a laid back ‘it’s all good’ kind of attitude. And when I did well, he shouted with glee and gave me high fives. He was great.
Unfortunately, I didn’t do as well my second day. That is actually quite normal for me. When learning something new I tend to get worse before I get better. I think on my first attempts I just ‘dive right in’ so to speak and don’t hold back. Then once I learn a few things I tend to ‘overthink’ everything and my brain messes up what my body is trying to do. Plus, this day Jorge wasn’t there and I had Juan, a new, sixteen-year-old instructor. Oh, and he didn’t speak English. The only surfing words I know in Spanish are:
- Surfiar=to surf
We both used a mangled mix of Spanglish, but he was no Jorge!
On the third lesson, Jorge was back and we went to the beach at Manuel Antonio, much prettier, but also much bigger waves and much harder. I managed to get up on a few waves, but the hardest part is actually just going back out to sea once you ride a wave in. These waves were big and mean and wouldn’t let you come back out. Every time I jumped under one and came up to wipe the salt out of my eyes, another wave would shove me back under—sometimes forcing sand in my mouth, up my noise, and other places unknown. These waves were mean! After an hour and a half of being beaten up by the Pacific, we called it quits.
So now with three big surf lessons under my bikini, I am ready hit Australia’s Gold Coast! Well, maybe just to watch. I can’t imagine doing it without hearing Jorge in his heavy Spanish accent say, “Paddle! Paddle! Paddle! Now standup!!”