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Michael's Post - Day 6 (Let the surfing begin!)

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Costa Rica
Day 5
Journal 5

Our first day of surfing was such an incredible experience that we had very little time for pictures and videos.

We started the day with a surf lesson from Doug, a surf instructor from South Africa who works for Frijoles Locos.  I stared with a 9' surfboard and Stacy started with a 8'6" surfboard.  The lessons were great and we each caught our first wave during that first lesson.

After the lesson, it was time to head to Kike's for a bite to eat.

Next we stopped into Frijoles Locos Surf Shop to upgrade our surfboards.

The owners, Ian and Corynne run a great surf shop.

My new surfboard was 8'4" board who we called 'Mr. Fin'.  It turns out that Mr. Fin and I had a short relationship that lasted less than twenty-four hours.  He and I simply could not reach a mutual understanding of what to do in the water and it was not a cooperative or constructive relationship. 

Stacy's new surfboard was an 8" board we called 'Papa Smurf'.  While Stacy's relationship with Papa Smurf was slightly better than my relationship with Mr. Fin, Stacy traded in her board at the same time I did.

Playa Grande beach did not disappoint.  It is a beautiful beach that is clean and secluded.  We had heard about some overpopulated and polluted beaches in Costa Rica and so we were very excited to be at such a great beach.

As for surfing, I am in love with this sport and could retire to a place where surfing was part of my daily routine. 

One of Doug's pieces of advice for surfing was 'In surfing you need to take lots of small steps, and you must master every step before proceeding to the next.'  What great advice - and I think that applies to many of life's adventures.

Surfing day 1 was focused on three things - popping up, popping up and popping up.  If you can't pop up and land on the surf board in a quick and balanced manner, then nothing else in surfing matters.

Stacy and I are still working on the popping up and will most likely continue to work on mastering that piece for the rest of our vacation.

While the lesson with Doug was an amazing surfing experience, the afternoon was not.  Stacy and I went out by ourselves and the combination of being worn out and having less than ideal boards was enough to send us tumbling around the ocean.

All of it was great fun but Stacy and I both left the water that day with some battle wounds.

That night we ate at Restaurant Cantarana at our hotel (Hotel Cantarana).  This restaurant is honored to be a certified World-Toques Star Restaurant (i.e. part of an elite group of international visionary restaurants).

It was the best meal we have had all vacation.  The chef is amazing.

We ran into Reinhart, owner of Hotel Cantarana, an I asked him how he made the business decision to invest in having such a top tier restaurant when he has such a small hotel of only 4 - 6 units.  His answer, 'It is my hobby and it is what I wanted to do.'  What a great answer.

That night for dinner we had the entire restaurant to ourselves.  While this vacation is not over, I already think that Stacy and I will have a real challenge to top this vacation.  We've had waterfalls, beaches, and this incredible restaurant all to ourselves.  It is everything I hoped it could be.



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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 6 - Surf Camp Begins - Playa Grande, Costa Rica