Surfing was on my mental bucket list for as long as I could remember. I don’t exactly know where that desire came from, whether I inherited it from being born in Brazil or whether it came from my Chilean family roots. Either way, it was always there. I was fascinated with watching it on T.V. or reading surfing magazines despite living near the Rocky Mountains in Canada.
I never knew when I would get my moment to try surfing but knew it would happen in my lifetime.
I had a couple opportunities in my youth to have accomplished this dream but for some reason it never happened. I lived on Vancouver Island for four years but never got the courage to tackle the waves in Tofino. I lived in Chile for three years as a teenager and although I perfected my boogie boarding techniques, I never braved Pichilemue’s Punta de Lobos. Then life happened!
Fast forward to 2013 and I’m back living in landlocked Canada. I’m 37yrs old, with four young children and time is passing me by. I had just had my youngest son five months prior and a few girlfriends agreed to do an all-girls trip down to Los Cabos, Mexico. I had been to this area of Mexico before and knew that there were some great surf spots, so decided why not make it a surf trip too. I did my research and before we booked our trip, I booked a 2hr surf lesson with Costa Azul Surf School, a surf shop with teachers who taught all levels, which was perfect for me who just as their web site states was “looking to get my first taste of surfing”. I tried to convince my girlfriends to join me but they all just wanted to hang out at the beach and watch me try it out.
Finally! The First Surfing Lessons
Our trip date finally arrived and I was beyond excited; my dream of surfing was finally going to come true.
It was our second day in Cabo San Lucas and after one night of dancing for a greater part of the night, my girlfriends were not so keen on taking a taxi to the surf beach that was at least a 30mins drive. I reassured them that it would a great experience, plus Costa Azul Surf shop offered them a beach umbrella and chairs.
My surf lesson was taking place at the beach closer to San Jose Del Cabo known as Costa Azul, but the beach itself, is known by the locals as Acapulquito. It is a rock bottom but depending on the time of year you are surfing here, you may not even realize it is a rock bottom. I, for one, didn’t realize it was a rock bottom because of how high the tide was.
For the surfing lessons, I was in a class with four other people and we were lined up on the beach, facing the ocean on our own surf boards. Our main instructor, Alex Olea made us practice our pop up over and over again while on land to ensure we had the technique well under control before we hit the water.
Then it was time for the real thing. My heart was pounding so hard from fear, excitement and overwhelming emotion. The waves seemed big to me as I worked hard to paddle, pass the break and follow our instructors out to the ideal position to catch a wave. One by one they led us into the direction they wanted us to go to be pushed into our wave. It was finally my turn and in my head I kept repeating the instructions we had practiced on the beach for the ideal pop up. Alex corrected my position on the board as he prepared me to be pushed into my wave, it was time and I was ready. A beautiful wave formed behind me and as Alex gave my board a push he yelled for me to pop up. I was so excited but the most I was able to accomplish on my first pop up was sitting up on one knee. I didn’t get to stand up but I was motivated to try again because I felt the power of the wave move me forward. I slowly paddled my way back out to meet Alex but this time it seemed much harder than the first time and my upper arms began to feel like they were on fire.
Alex briefly gave me some feedback on how to improve my pop up and shortly after put my board in position to catch the next wave. Once again Alex helped me get aligned on the board and as the wave approached he pushed my board forward with the wave and yelled at me to pop up. I remembered the technique for the pop up but got so focused on looking down and watching where my feet were going to be placed that I quickly lost my balance and fell off the board.
I swam to shore and was physically exhausted. I didn’t think I had the power to swim back out again but the surf instructor on shore convinced me to try it one more time and not to give up. I agreed but was quickly regretting my decision as my arms could barely push me forward anymore as I paddled my way out to meet Alex.
I finally met up with Alex and he briefly reminded me of the key points for the pop up but to stay focused on the beach in front of me and not my feet. I prepared myself on the board and I prepared myself mentally. I told myself, this is my dream to surf and this was my last chance to make it happen. I just kept telling myself how much surfing meant to me and how proud I would be just to say that I did it.
The moment came and Alex gave my board a powerful push, I kept my focus on the beach, I remembered the pop up technique and next thing I knew, I WAS UP!! I was up!!
Never Forget Your First Surf Trip
I was in such awe to be riding a board on the power of the ocean that in that moment I was taken into a deep meditative state for those few second. I remember thinking that this was the most powerful thing I had accomplished for myself, in my life up until that moment. I rode the wave all the way to shore and when I finally got off my board, I remember looking at the ocean and thinking to myself, I will never hold back from living my life to the fullest and fulfilling my dreams. This moment changed my life forever. I became passionate, driven, in tune with myself and my life to live it to the fullest.
Article Written By: Carolin Ricciardi, a Mother of 4, who never gave up on her surfing dreams
If you have a great surf travel experience or perspective, like Carolin, we’d love to share your surf travel ideas, content or story! Just click here to find out how to write for Live Swell.