With the shimmering beach just a few hundred feet from our honeymoon bungalow, we surfed everyday–usually twice a day. It became a steady and sturdy reason for living.
When we weren’t horseback riding, zip lining or eating, we were either surfing or checking the surf. The habit of continuously trekking down to a beach access to check the surf is nothing new to me, having lived on a nice little north Florida beach break during college; it is definitely, however, something I really miss. It’s like a flotation device of hope hovering underneath you all throughout the day.
Checking on the waves lies somewhere between the experience of coming home and being greeted by a beloved pet and unwrapping gifts that have been waiting for you since the last surf check. Each check of the surf brings more intimacy with a geographical location. Between the tides, sunrises and sunsets, each visit to a spot elicits a unique experience, as though the spot itself were alive (which many would argue it very well is alive in the name of mother ocean).
Surfing is collaborative and humbling. First, you must recognize how a wave is working. You can’t change a wave; you must work with it. The routine involves a schedule according to the tides and daylight, as much as it requires dedication, obedience and loyalty to the coast’s whims and wishes. This is perhaps a main cause of abandoning “normal” life for surf life: with surf, one’s life automatically becomes fulfilling.
There is what I can easily call a cultural “ritual” at every sunrise and/or sunset. Every evening or morning, the residents of a beach (based on my coastal living experiences) tend to all reunite at the beach access, spilling out like a river mouth onto the shoreline, to watch the same sun fall asleep or wakeup everyday.
You might see a family of four strolling along the dunes, the little one perhaps being carried by the father, the mother pointing out a critter in the sand. They all stop together to watch the ball drop. Or, you might see a solitary surfer with a fragrant joint ablaze saying a prayer in his mind. The young couples, typically more captivated by each other, suddenly stop their flirting to embrace, one in front of the other, and watch the sun. A woman holds her yoga pose, enchanted by the light. Or, there might be an older couple, enjoying the fruits of their life, sipping on a pair of cool beers, holding hands, saying thank you to their sunshine.
“Within 48 hours, all my neurotic-isms disappeared,” has been my standard response when someone asks me about our latest trip to Costa Rica. By the end of the trip my full face makeup routine was worn down to one lipstick; I no longer had these buzzing thoughts about my arm fat or the scar on my forehead; checking my phone became a special occasion rather than a side effect of living; I ate as many marshmallows as I wanted without an afterthought; I drank coffee, alcohol and water throughout different times of the day (even before surfing sometimes)–rather than strictly limiting my coffee to the morning and my drink to the evening. The day felt over by the end of every sunset. There was no need for me to read up on political dramas to put me to sleep, nor did I desire a night cap before bed–my thoughts like my body had already slowed to sleepy pace.
It’s hard for me to not give special credit to surfing. I’m not sure exactly what it is that makes a daily dose of surfing so life changing. I can see though that since the trip, I’m having trouble keeping my surf ecstasy up to par. Running, writing, painting, working, socializing, netflixing are all very nice, but they remain second to surfing always. A surf session sticks with you all day; it’s like it sends you off on a wave for the rest of the day. Then, the next morning, you’re given a new one.
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