I'm scraped, sunburned, and my eyes still sting from the salty water... But I went surfing for the first time today!!!
I've been dying to go since I got here, and today I finally had the opportunity. I went with seven or so girls and guys down to Kendeja, a beach about 15 minutes away known for good waves and no rocks.
Taya, who's been here for two years, let me borrow a board, showed me how to wax it, and gave me a quick intro lesson on land. We then made our way down the beach and into the water for a little more surfing 101.
Paddling out was excruciating. My arms burned with every stroke as I struggled propel myself forward and push through the waves rushing toward me, often knocking me off my board. When I finally thought we were taking a rest, Taya pointed out a wave coming our way.
"Take this one," she instructed. "Paddle hard!"
Gathering all the energy I could muster, I paddled as hard as I could. I felt the wave rush over me, and to my surprise, it picked me up and kept pushing me toward the shore.
"Stand up!!" Taya shouted.
I was so excited to catch a wave that I forgot the whole point was to stand. I jumped to my feet and surfed- for an awesome three seconds!
As soon as I had gained my balance, I lost it again, tumbling off the board and into the salty water.
The rest of the day was completely exhausting. I quickly learned that movies and television have definitely glamorized the sport- and that 90% of time spent surfing is actually spent on your stomach paddling to get yourself in the right position to even try and catch a wave.
While I'm sure I didn't look like a pro when I was learning to water ski or wakeboard, I was at least able to get the basic gist of it my first day out. Surfing, however, was much, much harder to get the hang of, and takes wayyy more strength and endurance than any other water sport I've tried.
Even with all the flailing and falling, and the most intense arm workout of my life, I am still excited to have finally tried it. I don't know how much I can really improve in only a couple of months here, but I am still planning on going out as much as I can!
I didn't take my camera with me- but here are someone else's photos from Kendeja beach: http://surfliberia.com/KendejaPics.html