Mastering the Pop-up: day 2

First, I’ve learned that if one turns on the AC it provides a nice hum just right for sleeping. Second, a day at Chicabrava feels like two days anywhere else.

Today started with a wonderful breakfast of fruit, beans and rice, and eggs with scallions then it was time to hit the waves. We loaded up our newly assigned surf boards (mine is white with blue racing stripes) and drove to Playa Remanso. There, I worked one on one with Elsie my amazing instructor who taught me to pop up like a champ and keep my trasero (butt) in. I rode a few green waves and had a blast.

The swells were pretty big at Playa Remanso so they taught us how to do a “turtle roll.” Basically I would size up a wave: 1) holy shit that’s big 2) maybe I could catch that 3) the ones that my instructor actually let me try. If it was number 1 or 2, I’d grab the end of my board by the edges (or rails in surfer lingo) and roll it over my my body while taking a deep breath going under and letting the wave crash over the board that shielded me while I was underneath. Since the number 1 and 2 waves were breaking in sets if 3-6, I did a lot of turtle rolls. By the end of the morning, I felt pretty beat up in addition to being really happy.

After awesome fish tacos and a nap, the second half of the day was a trip to Playa Madera where our instructors showed us what experienced surfers could do. They played on their short boards maneuvering down and across the waves and through the barrel of the wave. Denise said it sounded like the inside of a conch shell in there. I took a great walk with a fellow surf student and discovered that we could see Costa Rica. Then we all dried off and watched the sun slip beyond the horizon. After sunset, the clouds were brushed lines of white and orange across the deep blue sky.

I hurt in places you wouldn’t expect: the middle of my chest where my bikini top cut in a bit, the inside if one toe where I kept curling it into the board to pop up, the bruises on the insides of my knees where I banged them hopping up into the board, the fat lip I got when the wind sent the board into my face. Still, I’m smiling.

We are discouraged from taking phones and cameras with us for safety reasons, but I’ll be purchasing a DVD with photos and videos of my week. I hope to post some in the near future. Tomorrow, I see today’s video. My ego hopes I’m surfing well.

More tomorrow.

Nica Style

So it’s 2am here in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and the music is pumping! Okay, the music is pumping and I’m in bed not sleeping. I just shoved orange foam things in my ears and found a George Winston radio station on Apple Radio to try and get some shut eye. Chances that might happen? Doubtful.

This is unfortunate since I’m trying to rest up from the 28 hour journey that got me here. A 12:30pm bus from Portland to Boston Logan. A 5pm initial flight to Fort Lauderdale followed by a four hour lay over. The second flight left at midnight and arrived in Managua at 3 am. (Did I mention I won’t fly Spirit again if I can at all help it?) I got a few hours sleep and a great breakfast before I was in a very bouncy truck with two other young women and our intrepid driver Norman zooming through the Nicaraguan countryside. We zipped by a “chicken” bus (an old school bus now used to move everyone and all their stuff) and a tractor trailer that had dramatically driven off the road–probably due to the haphazard and reckless passing that goes on. That said, who wants to be behind a slow going donkey and cart, or truck with passengers jammed in the truck bed? Not Norman that’s for sure.

We stopped part way to pick up two of our surf instructors who had gone to market. They were so young and full of zest that I ignored my growing car sickness for another half hour or so. Finally though, I had to cry “uncle” and ask to pull over to get some lunch and a break.

The rest of the drive, was better with something in my belly. The land opened to numerous sorghum fields and a wind farm. A volcanic island rose majestically from the middle of a giant lake (I’ll get you names when it’s not 2:30 am). Skinny dogs, horses and cows continued to line the roads but we also saw a wedding and other celebrations.

In San Juan del Sur at last, we found our bedrooms in the Chica Brava Surf House, and had quick orientation so we wouldn’t miss sunset. Good thing too. It was absolutely beautiful. Coral skies over grey ocean with boats silhouetted black on the horizon. We toured the town, ate tostones (fried mashed plantains) and drank Mojitos with fresh mint, then had gelato. I fell into bed at 8:30.

The music has isn’t shaking my bed quite so much. Oh. Wait. I spoke too soon. Anyway, I’d better try to sleep again. We start early tomorrow with our surf board assignments and surf safety and theory. My goal? Get a consistent pop up by midweek. Pictures of the Board Room and surf house when it’s light. Hasta maƱana.