I had lived here for several years but couldn’t tear myself away from the golf course long enough to indulge in other sports. Yes, I loved the ocean and swam daily but somehow the whole surfing thing just seemed as if it should be for super fit, trendy, cool people with great balance and… no fear! Basically… somebody I was not.
Most of my friends surf and rave on about it. I finally decided I must be missing out on something and it was crazy not to indulge. After all, I have surf breaks on my doorstep that people – LOTS of people – travel many miles to get to, write about and feature in magazines. I was clearly being close-minded and needed to up my “hip” quotient.
I am blond so I fit that aspect of my image, I found the perfect bikini (or so I thought) and am relatively fit. So, I loaded up some Beach Boys tunes to get into the swing and called Oso Negro – one of the best and most patient surf instructors in Punta Mita.
Now, Punta Mita Rentals recommends several excellent surf instructors, but generally for the best price vs. service ratio, we opt to work with Wildmex.
However, on this momentous occasion, I asked Oso if he thought I was a candidate for surfing. He GUARANTEED to get me up on my first lesson – heck! If he guaranteed it, it couldn’t be that difficult, right?
When I showed up for my surf lesson, he frowned at the bikini. But, he is very easy-going and said maybe I’d like a wetsuit. I thought wetsuits were for uncool people in cooler waters, so… of course not! I loved the water temperature and thought it was ideal for surf lessons. and had invested a lot of time and effort to find the perfect 2-piece. I was determined to be one of those cool surf babes!
From the comfort of the beach, Oso showed me the drill: how to attach the lead, how to paddle out, when to turn the board and start paddling fast, then – easy – how to stand up. It did actually seem easy, I’d done some yoga before and this was a basic pose.
Next, we clambered into a boat and roared off to La Lancha, one of the more popular surfing breaks in Punta Mita. I have to say I was not expecting this part of the adventure and had a little panic that I’d be in the deep sea with waves crashing around me.
No worries, we jumped out and he made sure I felt safe and comfortable in the water with my board, which I have to say felt a bit like I was dragging a small cruise ship around with me. Beginners learn on long boards, not the nifty-looking little things I remembered from the 60’s videos that were still playing in my head.
So here we were, Oso and me in the ocean. We sat astride our boards and watched some little waves roll past us, then we heard a rush of water behind. I turned the board, he yelled “paddle” and I paddled for all I was worth! I felt a push from behind – there he was right behind me! There was no time for fear.
“Stand up!” he shouted and I realized I was actually riding a wave. Knees first, wobble, wobble, tentatively one foot to the front. “Stand up!” he shouted again, still right behind me. So, I stood up.
WOW! I was actually surfing, albeit in a kind of crouch position. I felt like I was about to go headlong, but was riding it enough to feel a tremendous sense of exhilaration and freedom!
YIKES! I looked ahead and saw the beach was coming closer. Panic, aaaaggggghhh! So, I bailed. I jumped straight in headfirst and the board pulled me back by the ankle. Water rushed overhead, bubbles everywhere, where was I? Upside down. Finally, I saw blue sky above, sunshine and… OH NO! Where was my bikini? Top and bottom!
After fighting with my wayward bits of clothing, I struggled back out to my delighted teacher. Was I ready to go again? Now I was more worried about my modesty than my new found sport!
Several attempts, failures and successes later, I was utterly exhausted. My arms were killing me. I had red rashes on tummy and knees, salt and sand in my eyes and bikini and was ready to call it a day.
Oso said you are either bitten the first time or not. Apparently, I was not a complete disaster and had better balance than I anticipated. I had found the few vertical rides totally freeing and mind-opening… but somehow this was not my sport.
I recommend to everyone that they should try surfing at least once. It is great fun and is completely exhilarating! It makes you feel really, really good!
My advice to all of the female gender – wear a one-piece!
Lisa Bruno is a long-term Punta Mita resident. She is a frustrated golfer, party princess and proud owner of Tank and Tonica,
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