Archive for the ‘Surfing’ Category

Family Trip to the Beach

Yesterday was our first “Family Trip to the Beach”. We haven’t been to the beach in AGES so this was definitely quite an exciting deviation from the norm. The main reason we havent popped down to the coast in ages is that our car has been having x, y and z issues it took till now to get it all sorted out.

Anyways, with the car back in business, purring like a kitten, we packed the car and prepared for the day out. With surfboard in the back, doggies in the boot, snacks and water for Linda, along with water for the doggies and general beach stuff for all we were on our way.

Sofia isnt used to travel in the boot so the downgrade from Linda’s Lap to boot was quite a shock for her while Fuzzie seemed to take it all much better, even if he did end up being sick in the car by the time we got to the beach. We headed down to Corralillo by Caldera and it was great to be back by the beach, and on such a beautiful morning as well.

Joel spent his time in the water catching waves while I entertained myself alternatively with my book and alternatively with throwing the doggies into the water. I was so pleased to see that Sofia hadnt forgotten the lessons “water is your friend” from our time spent down in Esterillos while Fuzzie, who we were not sure if he even liked water, ¬†didnt seem to mind it at all and happily jumped around in the waves.

After a couple of hours on the beach we dragged two tired doggies home, back to the rainy central valley. Its amazing how the mornings over here usually start off very nice and sunny, only to descend into rainy afternoons as of approximately 1pm at the moment. The rainy season is definitely here again. But I really don’t mind at all as long as I can have some sunny mornings and some weekends at the beach!

A Tropical Christmas

The only thing missing from my Tropical Christmas was the calypso music. (Gotta remember to get the “Calypso Christmas” CD for next year..) We rented our usual beach house down in Esterillos Oeste to spend our first Tropical Christmas by the beach and it has been absolutely wonderful although slightly strange. And I regret not bringing my fairy lights, as we have some terrific palm trees over here that would be very suitable as tropical Christmas trees. (Mental note: Bring them down on Friday when we head back to the beach)

I got a beautiful surfboard from my wonderful boyfriend and a delicious set of organic cotton sheets from my mum, a fantastic Putumayo Family Christmas music CD from my dad and some small bits and pieces from my loved ones back home. Unfortunately I was a terrible girlfriend and forgot (!) my wonderful boyfriend’s Christmas present at home…I hope the present in itself will make up for it (it is something that has to do with the other love of his life – His 1977 Toyota Landcruiser so it should make him pretty pleased). Once he gets it that is…

I got to have a surf on Christmas day which was pretty amazing. There would not have been ANY chance of that if we would have been back home in the UK. I think I am spoiled for life now after having surfed these warm waters in just a bikini. Unfortunately me and my new board didnt really get along that well on Christmas Day morning. I think the main problem was a communication error that meant it didnt understand what I wanted and I didnt understand what the hell it was doing. Our differences of opinion were solved by me as I got out of the water, marched home and changed it to my old board. Unfortunately my second tour to the beach happened too late and the water had already retreated too far out, making the waves so small that even on a larger board it was just not happening at all.

My second encounter with my new board ended in a slight disaster (although this was following some pretty good waves before!). I thought I could ride the board prone into shore but that was just a stupid idea I soon figured out. Being as light as it is my new board threw me off and bounced up in the air before landing on my head and calf muscle, giving me a big bleeding bump on the head and a throbbing calf muscle that was soon almost twice the size of my usual pathetically small calf muscles.

So no more surfing for a few days for me ūüė¶ Which I am feeling quite devastated about. I feel its a complete waste just sitting here without having the chance to enjoy the beach and the water that is just around the corner from me now… I will give my leg a few more hours to heal, but god damn then Im going in again.

My mum is also here celebrating her first tropical Christmas in ages and its been really nice to show her where we live, show where we usually go when we go to the beach, to introduce her to Sofia and to just have her around (She makes amazing food so I am slightly taking advantage of that as well…)

I dont think it really feels like Christmas, but then again, who cares when you can have iguanas, monkeys, hummingbirds, BBQing by the pool, surfing and great company anyways? Ok, time for a little nap and then let’s see if this leg and head can manage some more waves..

4920 46xx xxxx xxx5

Ah, I just want to go shopping!! Over the last few weeks I have little by little started noticing things that I need to buy/replace as well as a growing craving for shiny new things… Its nothing I am proud about, but my god how I want to acquire some lovely new things…

I really want is a bikini. I want another surf bikini, but I also want a non surf bikini. Something that doesnt have to be “wave-proof” (i.e. “waching-machine-tumble-in-waves-proof”) and that can just look pretty without being too practical. Sometimes a girl needs unpratical things – That’s just the way it is.

The problem is, I want this one. Well, at least something like this, with this cut. I think this is the reason I dont do that much shopping, I am too picky with what I want when it comes to the cut of clothing.

Unfortunately, I dont really know where to go around here to find items like this… I think its from Calzedonia, but Im not sure, nor am I sure if they even have Calzedonia here. But surely there should be something like this in the shops over here, after all Costa Rica is a fairly tropical country with quite a high amount of days that qualify for beach visits and hence beach wear.

Ironically, this is exactly the opposite to what I was going on about in a past entry about Surf Wear, but I think you need to be prepared for everything – and hence have swimwear to suit every occasion. Especially in a warm country. Even in Spain where the bikini season was “only” something like 7 months I had about five bikinis. Here, where I spend time in the water all year round, I have one that I can use. Something has surely gone a bit wrong here.

So that is to be amended this weekend. I do want a new surf bikini as well though as another thing I have learned over these last few months is that a white bikini is not the best option for surfing rivermouths like Barranca or in general surfing during the rainy season when the water is the colour of a strong latte at its best. Hence I would like to change my slightly brownish white bikini with blue stars on it, to something that looks a bit, well at least cleaner.

I think my whole urge to shop has been building up slowly thanks to me having had to do some online shopping for other people. While browsing for Christmas presents and Birthday presents I came across all kinds of beautiful things, and here we now are with me longing for a proper shopping trip – and missing my credit card! The good thing is that I wont be buying on credit this weekend, but the bad thing is that me not having a credit card totally limits me to the shops that do exist around here, with no access to the wonders of the virtual world.

But with or without credit card, at least I will get a little fix to my shopping cravings this weekend as well as a surf with the wonderful J! What more can a girl ask for…?

How to Duck Dive

Yesterday I was getting bruised and battered in the messy waves while trying to learn how to duck dive. I guess it went alright, but as I was saying to Joel through gritted teeth, I have real trouble “feeling” the flow of this move and hence accepting that I might possibly be doing it correctly like he says I am. My duck dive doesnt¬†feel like¬†a smooth flowing move I assume it should be, just¬†like the duck has in the video above, it feels more like a huffing and puffing and hoping for the best exercise before the wave catches my bum and I slide off the board.

I am impressed though that I managed to get the board down under the water a few times, and I bet once we go back to practicing in real wave and not just in a quiet section of the lava pools in Esterillos Oeste, Ill hopefully get the hang of it. I am quite curious to see how much this might help my surfing and help me win the battle against the waves..

Yesterday’s session did take¬†my breath away though, literally! I was karate chopped in the right side of my waist¬†by¬†the board as a wave threw it straight at me and lost my breath for a moment from the pain and shock of the beating. My god, I am used to bruises on my legs and dont really mind them anymore, but my appendix, small intestines and liver hasnt had that much experience of physical pain so this did leave me breathless.

To be fair,¬†yesterday’s session just ended up being a bit crazy with messy waves all over the place, so I was¬†quite pleased when I¬†managed to paddle out with my super floaty board AND¬†managed to¬†ride¬†one wave quite nicely during the short session. Like a colleague of mine says: “Even One Wave is a Session” so this day will go down in the diary as yet another succesful outing!

And hopefully next time I will be as gracious as the duck in the video when I plow through the waves to get out there..

Esterillos Oeste

This weekend is a real treat. We are spending it down at Esterillos Oeste with some friends just lazying around, surfing, BBQing and well, just enjoying life in general! Its been a while since we were here last and I have almost forgotten how fantastic this place is for relaxing and really recharging your batteries. Not to mention the surf, I loved coming down here before, because the waves are quite big, but still fairly soft, making it perfect for me on my epoxy.

I got down here already on Friday since my company was doing a team building outing in Jaco for the day. It was a fantastically fun day at the beach surfing followed by cocktails, arm wrestling and dancing at The Backyard Bar in Playa Hermosa. I had so much fun and I feel like I know a few of my colleagues much better now as well.

Anyhow, J picked me up from The Hookup at Los Suenos around 8.30pm and we headed down to the beach. This time we have rented a gorgeous house all the way at the end of one of the dead end streets off Calle Canada, and turns out its absolutely fantastic! Three floors, pool, gorgeous large terraces on each floor and all of them looking out over the jungle.

Having got here pretty late we didnt really properly see the house until the next day, but my gosh did we hear the other inhabitants during the night! We have massive lizards living in the ceiling and they were making a glorious noise all through out the night while the cicadas were playing their tunes all around us in the jungle. The noise did wake me up a few times, but its actually nice waking up to the sounds of nature, especially since it will lull you back to sleep as well pretty much immediately.. Its a nice give an take.

This morning Sofia was up and demanding to get outside already at about 4am. She hasnt stopped since then.. She has explored the jungle, run around meeting other dogs, swam in the pool, been to the beach, run around some more and had a face off with a local capuchin monkey. We were having so much fun watching her and the monkey battle it out, one on the ground, one from the top of a palm tree.

I had a few wonderful waves down at the beach as well. Its been a while since we have been surfing here so at first I was a bit worried about the size of the waves, but I soon “got back to normal” i.e realising that they might seem big, but actually they are pretty soft. Had quite a few just for fun and a few that were excellent even by my own high standards of self criticism. And I finally managed to really get one pop up done PROPERLY! I.e. without dragging my damn knee behind me. Oh my gosh the feeling of that beats anything! Well, almost anything.

Tonight we have had a BBQ and now its just relaxing in the warm night to the sounds of cicadas while watching a beautiful lightning display in the distance. The rain hasnt reached us yet. I cant wait till tomorrow when I will get to do some more waves!! And ah, the sleep I will have tonight after a couple of hours in the waves and a day in the humid heat of the coastal area.. I do love our life in Costa Rica.

The Pep Talk

A Personal Pep Talk

Right. Its time for a good personal pep talk! God damn, I can do it! And I can do it DAMN WELL! Hear me ROAR!

Well, something like that… ūüôā

So today is an absolutely wonderfully sunny Sunday and we are a few hours away from hitting the beach with our boards. It’s Barranca time again, and apparently the swell is excellent for me as a beginner. At least that is what my personal surf coach says ūüôā And that’s what this pep talk is all about, giving me the ooomph to hit those waves and not be scared about the steepness of them, or the force or them, or of my board hitting me, or of other surfers getting in my way, or of me getting caught in the leash, or of… Well, you get the point. Its a scary world out there for us beginner surfers.

But today I feel GRRRRREAT! And I am ready to hit those waves 100%! I am NOT going to pull out at the last minute and I am not going to bail on any great waves and I am not going to let a few waves taken over the head get me down. I am going to be as buoyant as my bloody board always is (making it oh so hard to get out there!) and not let any of this pull me down.

I am keeping my fingers crossed now that this pep talk will work and that I will have one of my BEST days EVER out there in the swell today! And if it doesn’t work, I will go with the “Eat Ice Cream” option from the card above.. H√§agenDazs super premium ice cream (as they modestly describe it on their website..) always works… ūüôā

Women Surfers

I have just come to the conclusion that I think I should have a role model for surfing, someone¬†who I like the style of and who I could learn a bit from.. So for the¬†last few¬†days I have¬†tried to keep an¬†eye out for some¬†female surfers that would fit the bill. As mentioned, the most important criteria for me¬†with regards to this, was that I wanted to¬†find someone¬†who’s style I like so that I can learn from that… Someone I can watch in action, and hence get an idea of what I would like to look like on the board…

So I found this lovely lady:

Kassia Meador. Ah, I very much like her style on the board and I have gotten so many wonderful ideas from watching a few of the videos about her that can be found on YouTube.. She ticks, well, the one¬†box I had for this. ūüôā

God damn I want to be able to do this! All of what she is doing! And get photos this amazing proving it! ūüôā She has inspired me so much to push myself further with the surfing (Although, not as much as J is inspiring me :))¬†that¬†I cannot wait to get into the water again now.¬†Thankfully I think that will¬†happen already tomorrow! Bring it on!

Muscle Memory

Outch.. And Mmmm.. I am in the middle of that painful yet wonderful feeling of being slightly sore and achey all over following an intensive start of the week. Its been a hectic week in many ways, mainly due to working quite a few hours on a little project (to be revealed soon!) as well as having thrown in lots of exercising as well.

What pushed me over the limit when it comes to the exercising was the Pilates lesson. Having had a recommendation from a girl I know, I had my first Pilates class in ages this Wednesday with a lovely instructor who teaches in a studio just around the corner from where we live here in Santa Ana, Costa Rica.

My gosh I had forgotten how absolutely fantastic Pilates is! The hour flew by and I got to try a few of the machines as well, something I have never tried before as I had just done mat work with my previous teachers. Up till now I have basically not been that keen on using the machines since I think its much more rewarding to work with your body instead of lots of machines, but I can now see that the machines can be an excellent addition to your exercise routines as well. I am definitely going back!

We started off with some mat work, and its amazing how quickly your body gets back into things. Its like my muscles remebered all the moves and they did not at all feel as bad this time round as they did when I first started. Although, my gosh did I feel my legs the next day following this first class and the first cirles with the legs in the air… But this time, compared to my first times, I managed it so much better immediately! (even if I say so myself… ;))

We then moved on to the Half Trapezie, or Half Cadillac Wall unit where we did some more cirles with the legs, we did some arm exercises and some other moves that I had not tried before, but seemed to be excellent exercises. I just need to start remembering the names of all these exercises!

We finished off the hour with a few exercises on the Reformer, the only machine I had actually heard of¬†before this¬†class. And as you might have¬†guessed, I¬†had a great¬†(although somewhat sweaty) time! ūüôā

With Pilates you should be doing it a few times a week to see results, but if you do put that tmie into it you will see the results somewhat quickly. I have currently set up one class a week, but will be increasing that to two lessons a week as soon as I can find a good time slot for it. Ideally Id like to do one machine class and then one mat work class a week, but I would not say no to doing two machine classes either. I just want to get back into Pilates, I bet it will help me massively with the surfing!

Pillar 5: Health and Fitness

And so we have arrived at the last pillar, the one focusing on the physical well being and the “Health and Fitness” of your body. As mentioned previously, the pillars are not arranged in any particular order, each one of them carries as much weight as the other ones, while simultaneously supporting each other. This is exactly what a habit of being healthy and keeping fit will do to your mental well being as well your physical well being.

I have always liked being active, possibly due to my slight hyperactivity. Sports was my energy outlet where I could let off steam in a controlled and enjoyable way that benefitted me both physically and mentally.

Although I was never particularly fond of the PE classes at school, at that point in time I used to spend hours and hours on the horse back or orienteering or playing badminton or just running around playing. Anything that involved building up and improving a skill or that had a competitive element has always appealed to me massively, and pushed me to do my best, see how far I could go.

Later on I discovered dancing and¬†didn’ t look back.¬†It started off with Dance Hall Reggae, then Jive. But then came Salsa and a life long passion was born. I know I have only been dancing salsa for 10 years, but you just KNOW when you have found your thing. You know, because its something that is so much part of you, you don’t even question it anymore. I did go through a lot of other dances as well such as Lindy-Hop and Swing in general.. They have all been¬†fun, but mainly because I love partnerwork, nothing has yet been able to¬†compete with¬†salsa for my affection…

Then another format of exercise entered the picture. I found Pilates and immediately following my first class I knew I had been lucky enough to find yet another thing that I clicked with. Pilates not only helped me build up my core strenght (something that helped my salsa spins massively!) but helped me just focus on my breathing and isolating muscles for two hours a week, bringing a much needed element of meditation into the picture. The connection and support that existed between the dancing and Pilates at this point was also fantastic. It helped me get to complete new levels of both balance (physical and mental) and fitness (physical health) while improving my posture as well as adding routine to my life.

The main destabilizers in my life have always happened following a disruption in my exercise routine. When you move city or move country or start a new job or go to a new school you somehow end up destabilizing your usual routines, most often this would mean your exercise routine.¬†I have moved quite a few times in my life, and every time I have not paid enough attention to the fact that I should focus on getting my exercising back on track asap, instead of letting that go uncorrected for weeks on end while “settling in”. Having this pillar destabilized will affect your other pillars and your life for sure,¬†maybe not as quickly as if the disruption starts from one of the other pillars, but it will definitely undermine your balance and routine and have consequences beyond the realm of just this pillar.

I experienced the disruptions with all my other moves, except for this one. The disruptions I have noticed following my move to Costa Rica have mainly been withdrawal sympthoms from dancing, something I have not done for months now. But looking at the general picture, I have not felt the same type of destabilization here as I have before. And I think that is mainly because of surfing.

Surfing came into my life with J. He took me down to Cornwall and “threw” me into the freezing water in August last year, and I must say, I enjoyed it immensely. Surfing has everything I like in a sport. It offers me the possibility to cultivate both a skill as well as a meditative mindset, something I find very difficult in everyday life due to all the white noise that I seem to have going on in my head. Surfing has helped me click right into this place, as well as added another form of exercise into my life that helps me stay balanced¬†as well as fit. And¬†I have J to thank¬†for introducing me to it.. ūüôā

So to wrap this pillar up, what I want to say is that I think everyone needs exercise in their lives, both for their mental and for their physical wellbeing. Having this element present in your life will bring benefit to all other areas in your life as well. In other words, help support your other pillars.

Wonderful Weekend

Ah, I am just getting back into normality following a wonderful weekend of pure debauchery.. How absolutely amazing is it to not really do ANYTHING except for eating, drinking, sunbathing, surfing and just lying around..  I was going to write a line about this already during the weekend, a little note in celebration of all things lazy, but I was just too lazy to get around to it..

Until now that is. So, here we go. “My weekend” by Linda.

My weekend started off in an absolutely fantastic way. Actually, words almost fail me in describing how lovely it was, but I will try. ūüôā It started early,¬†that’s¬†for sure. By 7am on Saturday morning we were at Barranca, getting ready to head out into the waves with our boards. The day was sunny, actually it was extremely hot compared to the last few times we had been down there, the waves were about 4ft high and there were only a handful of other people heading out. In other words, excellent conditions for a day in the waves.

While paddling out I decided to have at least 10 waves during this session, out of which 5 were supposed to be great, memorable waves. I like setting goals like that, but this time I decided not to stress too much about it and actually just work on my tan in case I¬†wasn’t¬†getting along with Poseidon. To my absolute delight we were getting along like never before and I caught 5 amazing waves during the two hour session. FIVE excellent, ¬†head high, pounding, fast waves that carried me for ages! Pure morning bliss..

Following such an amazing start to the weekend, how could the rest be bad?

And I was right.. All we did in addition to the surfing was fully focussing on enjoying the time off.. We spent the days lounging around, eating, drinking, reading, sunbathing, watching movies and playing with the little monster Sofia.. Absolutely wonderful..

But now its back to work again, and I must say its a bit difficult to focus on doing something as mundane as work following such a wonderful weekend. Ah.. I really should just be a lady of leisure, I am pretty good at just lounging around.. Although, I do wonder at what point a good thing would become too much.. Maybe its a good thing I am not at risk of having too much fun just lounging around thanks to my work that keeps me busy on a daily basis…