|Amigas in El Coco Loco trek to the beach|
Early Monday morning, the rooster crows, the sun rises. I’ve no idea what time it could be but it must be early for the chocogos to be chirping. I can hear the surf pounding the shore in the distance. I dress quietly as to not wake Jen and head to the common dining area to write. El Coco Loco is an oasis, a paradise of sorts, luxurious in that there are no expectations for anything beyond peace of mind, the quieting of the western world, the rejuvenation of spirit.
We trek to the beach, our gear safely stored in backpacks and totes. Holly takes the boards in the truck. We learn how to wax the board and then our first lesson on how to hug the board and prepare to pop up and stand. Holly tells us that surfing is about having the ocean push you, and about having fun with the board. I appreciate that she stresses the fun factor vs. the competitive edge.
I am still unsure that I will take to surfing but in facing my fear of the unknown I push it aside and forge ahead listening closely to the safety rules. The board should be held parallel to your body as you enter the water, the fin in the water, the tail end firmly held in your hand. When readying yourself to take a wave, remember to always pivot clockwise away from the water, as you never want the board between you and the oncoming waves. Most injuries occur with the force of the wave wielding the board against your body. Also of note when riding a wave, if you fall off and under water, be sure to cover your head with your arms until you can determine where the board is at in relation to where you are. That’s a lot to remember especially for a beginner.
Lying face down on the board, the foam and sea washing over my body, in the beginning an instructor waits with you for the right wave to push you forward. Quiet mind, quiet soul, be patient. Then the board pulls back slightly and ricochets through the water with a gentle push, a gentle slingshot, and you propel across the surface of the water. I am far from an extreme sportster daredevil but I would be lying to myself if I said that first rush toward the beach wasn’t exhilarating.
From the shore, as I watch the amigas I see that for some it is easy, almost second nature to pop-up and stand. And even on this first attempt at taming the ocean I can see through the beautiful cobra and warrior stances to those who will evolve into surf riders by week’s end.
The day seems to move slower here, though getting up at the crack of dawn certainly makes the time you have more productive. Catch a wave, take a nap, cat cow, downward facing dog, listen with your heart speak only if you wish. I find I am observing more than participating, somehow leaning toward monastic solitude. The ocean is loud a rough and tumble of white noise, crushing the surf like a fleet of semis racing the highway. The day is lazily spent swaying to and from a denim hammock tied to posts with yellow and purple bungee cords.
Mellow vinyasa yoga on a palapa with stilts the view of the horizon aligned to the downward dog. Flow into high lunge. Nicole leads us through positions to open our heart, unlock our soul energy, explaining the value and strength of each position and how it relates to surfing; the fog lifts as the meaning becomes clear. Rotate the hip joints, release the stressors. The stretch feels good, for my body, for my mind. Self-criticism tumbles over and upside down in my mind. Many of the amigas were successful in popping up on the board today; I did not come close. I push harder through the vinyasa focusing on the breath forcing the voices to quiet down. The crosswind breeze swirls around my body, pushing the heat up and out into the atmosphere. Nicole challenges us with a tripod headstand; it will be a week of firsts. Then corpse and prayer position, everyone and everything is still as the wind picks up, the sky darkens and the rain comes.