I go on surfaris because I have grown to enjoy the community I meet and make along the way. This week in Guiones, Costa Rica, my tribe is a patchwork of varied and delightful men, women and boys. Two best-of-friends, adventurous, twenty-something Brazilian men are here on a stop while traveling around Central America for a month. For the more intrepid between them, Costa Rica is the forty-first country he has visited in the past two years. A navy doc dad and nurse mom are here with their two teenage sons learning to surf as a family. As the days go by, the sons are naturals in the water – not so much the mom or dad. But I am loving my evenings talking with them over glasses of Argentinian wine. A prosecutor novice surfer whose job back home has beaten down her spirits is here on the Costa Rican coast to get completely away and laugh and smile and feel alive for the first time in too long. And she is doing all of the above and is becoming more beautiful each day that goes by in this land of pura vida and the happiest people on the planet. A recently divorced dad talks lovingly and adoringly about his three-year old daughter and I can feel how hard the surprise of the separation and the negotiations around his daughter’s care weigh on him – every weekend taken up with looking after her, and his hours during the week consumed by his chiropractic patients. He is the hardest working surfer among our tribe, returning time and again to paddle out through the relentless onshore breaking waves. Now on day four of our week’s stay, his in-water therapy is giving way to a lovely playfulness and smile on land. The pharmacist in our group is a man in love with his profession. He is the more boisterous member of our tribe this week and enjoyably so, fueling and engaging our own enthusiasms. Our quieter business consultants are coming out of their shells as the week goes on, as we get more comfortable with one another, as the evening libations flow. Last night it was charades acted out from under a sheet – a post dinner party game fueled by mai tais, beer, wine and the punchy humor brought on by our collective exhaustion after two sessions in head high waves. For the novices among us, even the whitewater has been challenging – a turtle roll followed by another and another, just to get to the outside and then set up for dropping into a smaller unbroken wave.
Were I to be surfing these waves on my own without the community created by this crew at 6am yoga, eating breakfast, drinking post-surf smoothies, at lunch, on the beach, in the water, rinsing off in the pool, around the table at dinner, celebrating birthdays and laughing over party games afterwards, this surfari would be solitary, lonely, uninteresting, uninspired. Community is inspiring the experience. Community makes all the difference. And this week I have happened to fall in with – we have all happened to fall in with – a handful of individuals whose alchemy has created an upbeat and enjoyable community of companions.
The following video of our tribe was created by the very talented folks at Surf Simply in Guiones, Costa Rica