We got the biggest swell we’ve had in months this week to chime in the new year. I think last Thursday morning was the most enjoyable surf lesson I have ever done. Some of our guests were new to surfing and blew me away by getting bombs like Evan (below) for whom this was only day 10 on a surf board! Pete (above) already had a few years experience under his belt but I don’t think he often gets waves like this one back home in Scarborough (UK).
Once all the students got a few waves under their belt, new Surf Simply coach Martin (above) couldn’t resist paddling into this perfect right hander and even Gem (below) managed to tear herself away from answering emails and preparing delicious lunches to snag a few good ones.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all our guests this week for being such a thoroughly enjoyable bunch. There was Julia, Will, Evan, Pam, Di, Pete, Kit & Dan (above) and Emily, Shannon, Kristi, Kevin & Sharon (below). Apparently there’s already talk of a reunion trip later in the year, so I’m sure we’ll see all you guys again soon…
Big wave surfing blows my mind and the techniques to mentally prepare yourself for a challenge really fascinate me. Contrary to common belief, studies show that visualizing yourself being successful correlates strongly with failure (researchers have hypothesized that it can lead to complacency). Where as visualizing the specific steps required to achieve success works well. Focusing on the task in hand really helps put worries out of your mind. Public speaking is good example: you should focus on knowing your subject matter and not waste time imagining the crowd naked. When you’re paddling out into big surf think about what you need to do, your tactics, your line ups, your stance and you won’t have time to start worrying about what you think may go wrong. Thinking about what you need to do and constantly making decisions (even if they turn out to be the wrong ones) is the key.
Before you even go in the ocean you can reason your way through an irrational fear with a logical thought process like this: “”Once you’ve wiped out and are rolling around under water, then it makes no difference how good you are at surfing. If pro surfers can wipeout on 20 foot waves at Pipeline over and over again then I know I can wipe out on 6 foot waves at Playa Guiones and be ok.” Now when you paddle out the fear has been left on the beach”.
To me big wave surfing doesn’t just mean 20ft+ surf, it means waves which are at the edge of your comfort zone. Laird Hamilton said that he was more scared riding 5 foot waves as a 5 year old than riding 25 foot waves as a 25 year old. Maybe big wave surfing for you is paddling out into head high waves, maybe it is just going out of your depth. Whatever your current limit is, when you’re up against it take comfort in the fact that every surfer in the world goes through the same thing that you are going through, it is just the size of the waves that change. When I meet people who are willing to keep stretching their comfort zone inspite of their fear, rather than because of a lack of fear, it always impresses me.
This week we had some amazing guests: some old friends returning again to stay with us at the resort and some new ones. Three sisters who were some of the most gifted natural surfers I’ve ever seen, and a girl called Emma (above and below) who, merely a few weeks ago couldn’t even put her head underwater. By the end of her stay she was paddling out and taking off on solid unbroken waves. That is what big wave surfing is all about. Hat’s off to you Emma and to everyone who has made the same mental steps to take them outside their comfort zone.
Here’s our favorite moments from last week along with some thoughts from our guests (shot on our groovy new HD camera). Happy New Year to you from everyone at Surf Simply and a big thank you to all our guest this week: Evan, Pam, Emma H, Emma S, Bella, Camilla, Dan, Brett, Cara, Steven, Mary Ann, Tyler, Sarah, Kate and Rachel. I hope you enjoy our little movie…
Some things are a lot easier to explain with a white board and a TV, rather than when you’re down on the beach. So when we try to get across a foundational knowlegde etiqutte, meteorology, wave selection and contest judging among other things, we use our little jungle class room by the pool.
(Above & below) Harry, who has taken over the role of head coach at Surf Simply this season, playfully meanders around the subject of board design.
The idea of course is that all this carefully constructed chit chat leads to waves like the ones we saw ridden last week. We have to admit that Playa Guiones, here in Nosara, probably beats our rancho as the world’s best classroom.
(Above) Christie Mommsen returned this week. After staying with us a few weeks ago, Christie wrote a series of articulate blog posts about the ups and downs of her introduction to surfing. She returned and not only conquered some of her fears but managed to take off on the biggest wave of the week. Hat’s off to you Christie.
The trade winds really started to blow this week too. It made the waves beautiful and powerful (for their size). Level 3 surfers like Sean (above) worked on their carving turns out the back while the level 1 surfers had the friendly white water in which to perfect their functional stance (below).
All the while Laura (our resident photographer) worked away quietly in the background and took some beautiful shots. She also cut together the footage which the coaches had got during the week’s video analysis sessions into another epic little movie (after all who doesn’t love a good ol’ montage). Enjoy…
During their stay with us, people often ask “Does everyone get on with each other as well as we have this week?” Surprisingly the answer is yes. I guess the way the website is worded appeals to a certain kind of person. Our guests tend to be pretty smart and interested in stretching themselves a little both mentally and physically during their vacation.
Last week was pretty special though. I think the group who stayed here will be friends for life. I’ve never seen a group of people enjoy each other’s company so much. Topics of conversation were eclectic and profound. Affectionate arguments would erupt only to be replaced by peals of laughter moments later.
We were sorry that Steve (above with new Surf Simply coach Kerianne) had to leave mid week. He was missed over the last couple of days as the new old friends took on some of their best waves of the week.
Christy and Brad (above) are both talented writers and have penned their experiences with us in their own words on their own blogs. Christy’s blog is at Christy Mommsen and you can read Brad’s blog at Being Brad. Both are refreshingly honest and sometimes laugh out loud funny.
We were so impressed with Maddox too. Christy modestly mentions in her blog how she felt intimidated, not only by the ten year old’s surfing ability but also by his conversational skills. His Dad Roger (top photo) nearly managed to get inside a barrel on one right hander too.
It always fun working with experienced surfers which we now do on a weekly basis. They don’t come much more experienced than Rob who started surfing in 1962 but still flattered us that he went away having learned a lot.
We also want to pass on a big thank you to everyone on behalf of the Surfing Nosara Foundation for bringing over so much stuff for the local schools, who always are short of funds and need more school supplies.
It was so cool to get to hang out with a bunch of people who were all so genuinely interested in each other and the world around them. A rare and beautiful thing. Thank you to Roger, Maddox, Brad, Christy, Rob, Steve C, Steve B (who had battled through a kidney transplant to be with us) Damien (who took a break from racing cars to put his analytical mind to a new sport) and of course the beautiful and elegant Oriana who managed to make even wiping out look graceful. It was thoroughly enjoyable week and we’ll miss you all.
The sunsets here in Nosara can be stunning. Usually Laura (the Surf Simply photog) takes pictures in the morning as the sun rises over the jungle, lighting up the waves from the front. She mixed it up a bit last week and came down for a sunset shoot and we thought the images she got were beautiful. Kerianne got a fire going on the beach and brought down some ice cold PSBs (Post Surf Beers) which proved very popular among our exhausted guests as they watched the sun sink away on their last night in Nosara.
It had been an awesome session, an awesome week actually but our favorite moment of the evening was watching Veronika (above) paddle into the solid set wave. She’d had more than her fair share of wipe outs during the week and she had certainly earned this one.
Once again a big ‘thank you’ is owed to Laura who spent hours cutting together all the video coaching footage from the week into a stoke filled bricolage for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy…
The Surf Simply guests last week were a fascinating bunch from all over the place: England, Sweden, Spain, Canada and Portugal. We had social media gurus from Silicon Valley and an Oscar winning film maker from L.A. Those who we could extract from the surf for a team photo were (lefty to right) Cherry, Jordanna, Isaac, Tori, Alex, Ana, Veronika, Jamie, James and Mike. Not forgetting of course the Surf Simply coaches: Ru, Harry, Sam, Martin, Alex and Kerrianne.
Ru (below, middle) has been so stoked to be back coaching on the beach again this year (he spent a fair chuck of last season in front of computer building our groovy little website). Last week he was working with Kerianne, bringing the talented young surf coach up to scratch. He also got to teach his good friend and cousin Jamie (below, left). Jamie is a few years older than Ru and remembers Ru as a snotty faced toddler who was terrified of the sea!
Javier (below) and Kai took a brief break from changing the way the world works at Facebook, to come surfing in Costa Rica. Both guys are talented watermen working on increasing their speed, power and flow on the wave face. We love this shot of Javier throwing bucket fulls of spray from his cutback (we just feel sorry for the wave).