Surf School in Costa Rica

July 22, 2012

In the air
Since there is no cellular capability in my iPhone, and no Wi Fi on the plane for my iPad, I am out of touch with the Inkernet, and the rest of the electronic world for the first time in recent memory. Even at 5000 feet in the cow town backwoods of Elko, there is at least spotty cellular. Not here.

So, a chance to write.

I’m out of my element. This place is paradise. But another day or two, and I’ll be more laid back. It is really…not sure what the best word is. Primitive. We have some of the amenities – like Internet. But there is no phone service unless I walk to the cafe down the road. Speaking of the roads, they are almost impassable – rutted dirt – most people here ride dirt bikes or quads to get around. We are surrounded by jungle, with the beach just a bit down the road. The hotel is a loose affiliation of relatively new buildings constructed of stone or stucco with tin or tile roofs. Between them and the small pool and lounging deck is the bar/restaurant, wood pole construction in classic “tiki-bar” style, essentially open on three of four sides. There are paths around the lush gardens leading to a few private tables, to the laundry and office, and to the board rack and shower – I don’t think this is actual rain forest here, but it is tropical. I’ve heard but not seen interesting birds except hummingbirds. There are howler monkeys and iguanas, and sea turtles, also which I have not yet seen. Many of the surfing teachers have dogs, and they are accepted as part of the community.

Speaking of which, it’s been a long time since I have been around a community of surfers. I forgot how odd they are. The men are all beautiful, absolutely ripped, almost invariably with thick shaggy hair – depending on ethnicity, they are blond, or they have dark hair bleached by the sun. If they are of a background that gives them the right kind of hair, they have pony tails or dreadlocks. If they are old, they look young. A few, I think the older men, have short or shaved hair like mine. Most are tattooed, some extensively. They are all relaxed, comfortable with their bodies, part of nature, at ease in the moment.

The women are a bit harder to characterize, but they seem to fall into two classes: those who surf “inside” and those who go “outside”. “Inside” is in the foam, after the big waves break, closer to shore. That’s where the novices learn the basics, or play if they never graduate to the big waves. I rank these girls in the same group as those who don’t surf at all, but who are definitely part of the scene. The women who go “outside” are pretty much accepted as equals by the experienced male surfers. Though I’m not sure, I think you can pick them out – at the beach because they are carrying boards-away from the beach, because they stand tall and straight, and have confidence, and talk with the men about what the men talk about – the waves, the tide, the ride, because they know, as the men know, that they love the water, and there is nothing else that is so important, no love that matters more, than the next wave, the next long ride.

This is the heart of the surfer. They love life, they are in the flow, they live in the moment, it is about the experience, their experience, and not about thought, past, or memory, or anyone else.

Hang Ten,


Sent from my iPad

2 thoughts on “Surf School in Costa Rica

  1. Pingback: Book Review: “A Surfing Life” by William Finnegan | christoplummer

  2. Pingback: ☕️ ☕️ The Decline of Coffee and Other Observations in the Time of the Great Recession (Part 2 – Taiwan) | christoplummer

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s