Villa Geminiani

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Surf’s Up!

What’s up? Surf’s Up. That’s what’s up!

Sorry for those folks who live in big cities but one of the incredible benefits of living in a green jungle-villa is the fact that I’m so close to the beach, -about a two-hour drive, the road is rough but I consider that part of the adventure.

Even though I could easily live on the beach -coast living is very affordable here- I prefer in-land living. I have many reasons for doing this but the main one is that it seems every single expat lives on the beach, that’s fine and all but I didn’t move here so I could be surrounded by own. I like diversity.

Also, living among locals has forced me to work on my Spanish skills which were non existent prior to living here. By the way, I found the language to be the most frustrating part of living in another country, have you tried the Spanish Rs? Crazy stuff.

But after a while my ear has gotten used to it and even though I still struggle I’m getting better.

I visit my friends on the beach about once a month and we all have a blast. We go hit the waves and then I usually drive my exhausted self back home.

This time is a little different, my friend, who has a carpet cleaning in Durham, is visiting from the States. I like to start my own green business so maybe I can steal some knowledge from him. He’s staying just for a few days and he’s never been surfing so it’s going to be fun to see a newbie dealing with the water. I also think he’s looking forward to the new experience.

There’s all types of myths out there around surfing. I think the most prevalent one is people think of surfing as something easy and fun that requires no skills or focus. You just get on that board, smile and off you go. If that’s all it took everybody would be surfers.

Then you have the surf girls, they’re usually blonde and get in the water in their tiny bikinis like if they’re going on a date of some form. I can’t help but smile at this wishful thinking. Surfing is rough, there’s nothing fancy about being wiped out so often.

This strange idea of the sport is thanks to all the inaccurate TV commercials and TV shows put out there portraying people smiling and having fun while surfing the waves. Well, it’s not fun when you get thrown from your surfboard for the twentieth time and this will be your reality at least the first ten time you hit the waves. The first time I surfed I spent more time getting on the board than anything else. You will be wiped out many times.

Second, be ready to swallow saltwater and a lot of it. This can be a serious issue since it could get you sick. I had never experienced this issue probably because I never surfed long enough to ingest large amounts of water but keep in mind that it can get you sick because you’re ingesting ocean bacteria, sometimes ingestion is not even necessary but just exposure. I know surfers who get ear infections often.

I had never surfed in the US but I’ve been told that there you have health advisories about the water condition, in all honesty I don’t think people pay attention to them. This is after knowing a very decent crowd of surfers, relentless people who couldn’t care less about the sanitary condition of the water.

Surfing is the most exhausting workout I’ve ever done in my life. Just to carry the heavy surfboard and having to handle, position and get on it while the waves are hitting you is enough to get you lean quickly. Just to show you how exhausting surfing is, the first time I tried it I couldn’t lift my arms the very next day, and the day after that, and the day after that one too. Also sitting walking and just doing anything even coughing would trigger a new level of soreness in my whole body never ever experienced before.

Also watch out for sharks.

I’ve been told that if I kick something during my surfing experience to not pay attention to it and to not let my mind deviate towards my main focus, otherwise distraction kicks in and you pay a high price when that happens. I can testify this is 100% true. You’ve been warned.

I got into surfing without really trying to. I went to visit my expat friends after two months of being here, I was still trying to adjust to the new environment so I spent the whole weekend there with them. I knew they had plans to surf because that’s pretty much all they do on the weekends but me knowing the clumsy human that I am I decided I was going to skip the “fun” and just watch from the sand.

I needed a tan badly anyway. But I got curious and things happened. So I started asking questions and sooner than later my friend offered to lend me his board so I could “try it out”. I said, sure why not and soon enough I was “surfing” that is I was being wiped out every five seconds.

But there was something that really got me: challenge. I was hooked.

Getting good at surfing is an art. Why do I do it? Wouldn’t be easier to just go to the gym? Yes and no. Gyms are easy, boring and not challenging. Mastering something takes patience, practice and dedication, things I would like to cultivate. After all there’s a reason why I’m here. I’m here to learn.

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