Friday, January 06, 2006

Costa Rica - Day Four

So, the way the Surf Tour works is at 7:00pm the night before, you're supposed to check the board and see what the next day's schedule is. Depending on tide and swell, they plan your destination and means of transportation. After seeing my perfect dawn patrol wave at Playa Langosta, I was ready to bunk the next day's plan for my own thing, but then I saw the board: "7:00am WITCH'S by Boat." My dawn patrol would have to wait for another sunrise.

Tuesday, December 20, 7:00am
I found myself being bumped along in the van with what would be my golden crew for the rest of the week: Little Miss N, Maryland Dad and Son, and Tattoo Guy. I like to think that we made a nice team. Everybody could surf and no one was annoying -- and if he was annoying, he would be annoying his dad so it was okay.

On the long boat ride to Witch's, after the long car ride from Tamarindo to Playa Coco, Maryland Dad said to his son who hated rice and beans: "You lookin' for the potato chips, they're in the pocket of the backpack."

Maryland Son to his dad: "WHICH POCKET?! GAHHH!"

God bless teenage boys when they start rebelling against their dads. Makes you laugh and makes you cry all at the same time.

Really, though, he was a good kid. Goofy foot.

Tattoo Guy was one of the mellowest, most personable people I'd ever met in my life. And Maryland Dad was a straight-up kinda guy with a wry sense of humor.

Tattoo Guy: "I heard the surf camp has a program where you can bring your whole family and they take your kids surfing so you can have some time with your wife."

Maryland Dad, wryly: "Now, WHY would I want to be away from my kids?"

Me. Laughing. Crying. Same time.


Witch's Rock. The surf camp is named after it because they used to have a house at Playa Coco -- which is the launching pad for all the boats going out to the break. Now, instead of spending the night at house in Coco and launching in the morning, we drive an hour and a half to Coco, get a quick breakfast, and then get on a boat for 40 minutes to Witch's Rock (high tide spot) and another 45 minutes to Ollie's Point (low tide spot). The sea turtles were out swimming as we zoomed by.

What swell there had been over the last few days had started to die and we had heard it was going to die even further over the next few days. I am enchanted with the boat ride to Witch's, I am not so enchanted with the waves. Mostly waist-high up and over with a two-second shoulder. A surfer climbing back into another boat anchored there yelled over to us, "Sets were coming in head high! But that was two hours ago. Then it just DIED."

Glad I brought the camera. I designated myself surf photog for the session and made my own fun. Most of the waves to be had were VERY reminiscent to the shoulderless LA County beachbreaks... but it was warm water. That was the difference. That, and there was a giant rock looming out of the water.

After a less than stellar session, we hauled back into the boat and bumped along to Ollie's Point. Now, this place I loved even with the lack of swell energy. It's a hidden cove with a small beach and thick trees sprouting straight up into a hill and a mountain which all work together so you feel like you're being wrapped up cozy-like in someone's arms. When the wave energy enters the cove and begin to break off the submerged rock point, it's like a whisper in your ear when you take off. It's just... peaceful.

Of course, that was on a waist-high day. I can see how it would be different on a big day.

I was stuck with the wrong board all day. The other boys at the camp had gone to Witch's on Saturday and the reports were overhead and hollow. It spooked me enough to make me know I didn't want to go in with the borrowed 9'2" epoxy that responded slower than my brother to a question when he was watching TV. So I brought my 7'0" along. This board is NOT a small wave board for a lazy bum like me. I woulda rocked Ollie's with the biggest board in our crew at 9'2". Oh well.

We were the only ones at Ollie's. The other two boatloads were finishing up their sessions when we got there, so we waited for the tide to go lower and for them to get their last waves. Nothing quite like having only five people in the water at a haunting point break.

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