Thursday, January 05, 2006

Costa Rica - Day Three

Monday, December 19, 8:00am CST
I tried for the breakfast again, but still was rushed into slapping together two pieces of toast around bacon. I was beginning to realize that service is pleasant but laid-back. My American sensibilities needed to calm down to the "time flows around you like a river" and go-tubing-with-a-cooler-of-beer thing.

8:45am CST
Surf guide: Ricardo. Driver: Leo. Surfers: Faux British guy and Tan Girl. Destination: Avellanas - 45 minutes of bumpy road. Beach break with rocks in one spot. Avellanas is the place with the big pig, but it wasn't there this day. Hot sand. Howling offshores which would have held up any waves if there had been anything breaking. There was a rock and a reef FAR down the beach which was breaking. About 8 guys were on the one peak breaking infrequently every fifteen minutes. It was pretty much a right-hand wave because if you went left, you were headed for the big submerged rock and if you made it past that, there's a shallow reef for about twenty yards to contend with. Longboarders were the most successful because the winds were pushing the shortboarders off the wave.

We dawdled for a while and Miss N played with the stray dog with short legs and a horsey head. I continued reading that Geisha book in the shade of the shrubs lining the wide beach. Finally, after the group of eight left, Faux British guy and Tan Girl decided to go out. I continued reading and lounging, but kept an eye out. Poor Tan Girl really should have taken a different option on the tour which included lessons because she paddled out right in the one impact zone. If she had known better, she would have realized that twenty yards to her left nothing was breaking. After ten minutes, Miss N came back and said she was just going in to get wet and I told her she'd probably beat Tan Girl out. I looked up and saw her get smacked again. I watched Miss N paddle out easily in the channel, then I saw Tan Girl head in Miss N's direction. Later I was to learn that Miss N actually called her over to help her out. How nice. She's usually not so nice.

The Geisha book was really pretty good, but I would periodically look up to see how my compatriots were doing. Not well. The off-shore was pushing them back. Finally, I decided I was getting hot, so I grabbed my 7'0" and paddled out IN THE CHANNEL. Zippy.

Warm water and hot offshores? Invigorating. The first wave I tried to take off on was completely denied as the wind lifted my board just as I popped up. It literally pushed me off the wave. Nothing I could do but laugh and enjoy the spray of salt water every time I tried to take off. After lots of no-success, I was motivated to take a shoulder-high left-hander (past the rock, into the shallow reef) when a horde of young Euros decided to paddle out at our one spot that was working. It was actually a pretty nifty wave until it petered out on me and I was left scratching my toes on a reef and paddling in.

Back to home base.

12:00pm CST
I decided that the bar and grill at Witch's Rock Surf Camp actually had pretty decent food for $5.00. (You know, I came to the conclusion that we gringos know how to do good food. Forget the cheap meal option of local places, spend a couple bucks more and be a tourist at the gringo-owned joints. Spices are a good thing.) I had chicken enchiladas and guacamole. Oh, and beer. Can't forget the beer. Miss N had some fruity rum drink the night before at the bar and grill that tasted like Robitussin. Ick. Stick to the beer.

3:00pm CST
Ricardo and Leo drove Faux Brit, Miss N, and I the scant 10 minutes through Tamarindo to Playa Langosta. After trodding down a little trail past deck chairs and lounging tourists, you had to cross a rivermouth. New experience! Most of the fun happens when the current takes you and you paddle desperately to save yourself from ending up downstream. It was never that scary because the rivermouth actually bends around this gigantic spit of sand and if the current were to take you, you would be released when the waterway widens around the curve.

What I found, though, at Lobster Beach, was a beautifully shaped wave. I mean an absolutely gorgeous head-high peak with power all the way through a long shoulder. It's the first time I'd ever seen a rivermouth break and I was an instant fan of the sand deposits that made such a beautiful wave. The main peak was mainly a right-hand wave with a shorter left into the river mouth. A secondary peak was less consistent and went right and left, but that afternoon there was a crowd of 50 guys sitting and spreading from main peak to second. I paddled out anyway with the idea that I wouldn't be getting any waves, but I'd be seeing some really good surfing.

After my usual whooping and loud chatting with Miss N in the deafening silence of 50 stoic surfers trying hard to ignore each other to grab a wave, I heard someone call my name. Eh? Who else could possibly be playing my "Be Loud" game and know my name? Captain America from Santa Monica! I knew he and his wife would be overlapping their time in Costa Rica with mine, but I didn't think I'd actually run into them. Small surfing world. I watched him take a couple REALLY nice waves and he gave us recommendations on places to eat - definitely welcome to this surfer foodie palate stuck in Gallo Pinto (b)Land.

Finally, weirdly enough, after about an hour of posturing and paddling and wishing I had a longboard, a super-keen overhead wave popped up right at me. It wasn't going to work for the surfers to the left of me and I stared down the ones to the right of me. I didn't do much with the wave except drop and bottom turn too low for any kind of real trim, but it was a great zoom and I took it to shore so I could watch the show silhouetted in sunset.

So my wave count for the day was Two, but that was my epiphanic day. I was surfed out... not in the sense that I'd paddled myself to death, but that I couldn't spend all my days in search of surf. I was a dawn patrol girl through and through and I'd just found the perfect spot for an early morning session.

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