An Incredible Surf Vacation with Girlfriends in Sayulita, Mexico. Great Surf, Cool House, Good Times!!
When I was little, my sisters called me “dolphin”. I loved the ocean and played in the waves all day. We now live in the mountains and play endlessly in our backyard, but there is no ocean and it calls to us on those hot summer days. Often feeling land-locked we plunge into the frigid hypothermic temperatures of our punch-bowls, rivers and lakes to cool off, and hopefully not die from the cold.
One February Baddy and I took a trip to Maui to escape our daily chaos. The locals told us that Hawaii either embraces you or spits you out when you visit. We were embraced as we hiked into the warm, tropical forests. When we were hungry we ate mangoes from the beautiful trees and inhaled the delicious scent from the Eucalyptus. We even made our second baby, Axel, there under a waterfall, Hollywood style. We were in good company as the migrating Humpback whales mated and played in the oceans around us. Their acrobatic performances entertained us and filled the air with a magical energy.
Exploring all the beaches, we decided to go to Makena Beach for the day. Wanting to bring back my youthful dolphin days, I attempted to swim out to Baddy who was body surfing in the outer break. I was humbled by the incessant power of the waves that played with me like a pit bull with a chew toy. The strong undertow kept me from being able to swim out beyond the break. I also, could not retreat to the beach. I was mercilessly and repeatedly dragged under. I used my Pranayama breathing and was able to keep my panic at bay as I surfaced for breath only to get pulled under again. Out of nowhere a toothless local man popped up directly in front of me. Thinking he was my angel sent to save me, albeit toothless, I spat out water showing him that I was in peril. Spitting through the gaps in his mouth he warned me that what I really should be afraid of were the Tiger Sharks that loved to swim in this area. Morphing into a water bug, I skimmed back to shore. When Wade finally surfaced, he found me leading half a dozen dread-locked men through half moon pose on the beach. Dudeare you alright? they had inquired after witnessing me wash up on the shore. Hoping to calm my traumatized body, they invited me to join in on their drum session but instead I invited them to take a break and join me in a Bikrams yoga session.
Since that trip, many of my friends have taken up surfing. Escaping from cabin fever on those rigid January days, they fly to the hottest surfing spot. Some of them have become addicted to the flight and leave religiously the moment the temperatures lower to the teens.
It is my mountain girly, gorgeous, athletic girlfriends that convinced me to go on a surfing trip with them. Craving the feel of warm sand between my toes and warm sun on my face, I decided to face my fears and check out this surfer life.
Off we flew to Sayulita, Mexico.
Arriving in Mexico I walked out of the airport and soaked in the hot tropical sun. We haggled about taxi fees? in our broken Spanish and drove off in two vans to our Casita on the beach.
At the magical hour, when the sun was setting and the warm breeze caresses your hair, I dove into the cool, calm Pacific sea. Once again, I almost drowned in the strong undertow. This time I was ready to face my fears. I was tired of being such a wimp on beach trips. It was my goal to return home to my boys and let them know that I was now a surfer. No longer could they taunt me as I paced the beach desperately wanting to dive into the refreshing water and body surf with them.
Nevertheless, I became the beach bunny of the group. I had no problem observing my bitchin friends in the big surf, bravely conquering the massive waves whilst they desperately avoided the bone yard. Being a beginner was a lot less stressful. Lounging with all my new friends with all my limbs safely placed on my big, foam, pink board was more my style.
My friends would come to check on me, every now and than, taking a break from the big surf. They wanted me to enjoy the thrills of life with them, and possibly to provide some humor. Jilly, I would hear them call from across the surf, howz it hangin? I would smile and wave and put my arms in the water as if I had been paddling for hours.
They were not fooled and entrusted Fernando, from Brazil, to get me more serious about my surfing. With his flowing chestnut hair and surfer body he approached me with a smile. I had seen his girlfriend hanging with him on the beach in her string bikini and felt very white. We practiced the motions on the beach and then he threw me to the sharks. Paddle, paddle, paddle, he pleaded. What was he, nuts? Failing, I would glance at him standing with his arms outstretched in a questioning gesture as I washed up on the beach.? There was a big wave coming, I’d explain but my charm was lost on him. It occurred to me that he could care less that I was an admired skier and a strong athlete at home, I did certainly not impress him here. Once again, I reverted to doing yoga on the beach with the locals.
By the end of the trip I actually did become a bit of a surf goddess, in my beginner circles. I could see how it could easily become an addiction to crave the next ride. That feeling of being one with the ocean stays with you forever. It is far better to be on top of the wave than to be struggling underneath it. On our summer trips my children are now elated that I am playing with them in the water all day and teaching them how to surf.
My fears have not disappeared they are just better controlled. After all, life is about living while you are alive and not about being to scared to live.