Friday, November 21, 2014

Chica Surf Adventures - Sometimes You SHOULD Believe the Hype!

Santa Teresa, Costa Rica
Have you ever been the last of your friends to see a popular movie?  They tell you how great it is and it’s the funniest movie they’ve ever seen?  That happened to me with “There’s Something About Mary.”  Had the film all hyped up in my head, finally saw it and thought, “That’s it?  What in the actual f**k WAS that?”

My experience with Chica Surf Adventures… was NOTHING like that. 
My first wave of the trip
After reading about all the trip had to offer I had it so hyped up in my head that I believed there was no way it was possibly going to be as amazing as what I dreamed up in my mind.  Wrong.  So very wrong.  It was everything I dreamed of and more.  And I KNOW that sounds ridiculously cheesy and clichĂ© but dammit I can feel my heart smiling even as I write this.
View from a zip lining platform
Amanda and I - see what I mean about  her smile?
Now I've surfed before, gentle waves in Hawaii and around Huntington Beach, CA area.  Very limited experience, so booking a trip to Costa Rica to spend a week honing my surfing skills with other women sounded like a safe and supportive way to practice.  Now toss in some zip lining, horseback riding, stand up paddle boarding, sunset infinity pools, reggae dance parties, yoga, and garnish with tropical beach massage and you have yourself one hell of a tasty dish!  Now try doing that with complete strangers.  Bonds are immediately formed and completely unbreakable.  From the very second of meeting Amanda (owner of Chica Surf Adventures) and seeing her intoxicatingly warm and genuine smile, I knew we were all in for a real treat.

Surfing is a WORKOUT.  Trust me, I’m a doctor.  Okay, not really.  But I am a nutrition and fitness consultant.  I consider myself a fairly well-conditioned athlete - growing up as a gymnast and acrobat, now an avid weight lifter and yogi, frequent hiker, occasional kayaker and biker, and always looking for more ways to get out of the gym and play.  Surfing in stronger currents was certainly a fun new way to challenge myself and just the new workout I’ve been searching for. The shoulder and back strength to paddle out, the chest and arm strength to pop up, the leg and core strength to balance on the board.  Hooray for a full body workout!  And just when you think you can’t give any more, you have an encouraging surf instructor (mine was Jonathan) right there encouraging you, slapping you a high five, and helping you find the strength to hop on for one more wave.  After 2 hours of that sort of workout, your whole body is taxed, your mind is clear, your heart is happy, and your stomach is HUNGRY!
My instructor Jonathan and I.  Muy guapo!
Shrimp and coconut rice
Which brings us to food.  Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh the food in Costa Rica was beyond amazing.  The staff at the Funky Monkey Lodge never failed to impress me.  From the banana pancakes over breakfast, to sushi night, to pizza night, to the vegetarian lasagna, and of course let’s not forget about the pineapple flambĂ© for dessert!  I found all the produce to be much more flavorful there than here in California, which says a lot because living in San Diego we get fresh produce year round.  But the bananas were sweeter and not even remotely mealy, the avocados had an absolutely indescribable creaminess to them.  Every plate was full of color, a treat for the eyes and the tongue.

Our patio - I napped in that hammock a lot!

My soul sisters forever <3
I mentally prepared myself for the breath-taking views, the flavorful food, the friendly locals, being serenaded to sleep by monkeys, the warm sun, the gentle rain.  What I did not prepare myself for was the bonds formed with the other ladies on the trip.  Coming from all walks of life, about a 15 year age span between all of us, different areas across the country as well as Canada, from scientists to personal trainers.  Each of these ladies truly touched my heart and I will never be the same because of them.  I keep referring to this trip as “the trip of a lifetime” but I know those words can’t possibly be true since I’m already planning on making the journey again next year.  Chica Surf Adventures made me feel like a strong, capable, beautiful woman, ready to take on the world where ever the gentle waves take me.  Now THAT is the best souvenir you could possibly hope for.

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