Eat, Surf, Sleep, 2012 BCC Pavones Surf Trip
I have heard the mantra over and over since we have been here. I have seen the t-shirts, bumper stickers, and signs; eat, surf, sleep. I never knew how serious it was until this last week. I was fortunate to be invited along for a men’s surfing trip to a surf spot called Pavones, on the very southern Pacific edge of Costa Rica. It is said to have the second longest left ride in the world, and even though I lean to the right, I was willing to give a ride. So me, Ben & Jeremy packed up for a post church 9 hour drive to surf. Two cars, 15 men, about 20 surfboards, probably 15 board shorts and half as many pairs of clean underwear headed south praying for great waves and good times. We were not disappointed.
The drive was long and tedious at times as the rains and darkness slowed down the last half of the drive. As we drove the tiny roads and crossed the many, very high, un-railed wooden homemade bridges it dawned on me that these guys really like to surf. And as I looked around, there was only one other guy in the group, over 40, who had just started surfing this last year. Everyone else in the group had been surfing since childhood, so either we were idiots or we were brave, time would tell.
Pavones, or turkey town, is a very small village, a couple of tiny stores, some local surf shops, and a couple of places for non-surfing, non-sleeping surfers to grab a bite. No pavement, no ATMs, no Walmart, just a spot near a beach for world class waves, and that was all we needed. We all stayed in a house that was converted to rent to loco surfer’s such as ourselves, some on beds, some in tents, couches, floors, anywhere away from the mosquitos and the rain, cuz we knew we just needed a place to keep our boards and to nap.
The first morning we were all tired, pulling in well after 10 pm excited for an early rise. There were many among us as giddy as schoolgirls before their first dance, unable to sleep. At 5 am the floor started creaking, bodies started moving and the coffee was being poured. As the sun began to rise, boards were being prepped, waxed, new fins attached, leashes made ready and the anticipation of the sun too much for us to bear. Qucikly, men starting walking the 200 yards to the beach to get a taste of a world class wave. Overcast skies, and offshore breeze, huge slow breaking waves greeted us all as we tip toed over the rocks seeking the quickest way to the shoulder.
Personally my arms turned to jelly on the swim out to the waves. It seemed like never ending strokes attempting to reach a mirage way off in the distance. Even the seasoned vets had to take a break before attempting to catch one of these endless waves. It was gratifying to watch man after man as they found they peak of the wave, stroked quickly, slid down the wave and rode on for what seemed like hours. Four hours later, stomachs grumbling, the waves subsiding just a little, we decided it was time for the eat portion of our trip.
During breakfast, exhaustion seemed to overwhelm us, or our adrenaline had abandoned us, because men were dropping where they sat, some with plates on their laps, forks in their mouths, or coffee in their hands. But as quickly as they fell they again rose looking for the next wave. Me, Lyle and Mike F. decided to try and find our boys who were surfing a secret spot. We had loose directions from Marcell, and set off on an adventure. Unable to find them, we went down a trail by some cabanas. As the trail became overgrown and jungly, we decided it was best to turn around, so we stopped and Mike ran ahead to see if there was an opening to turn around. We should’ve know by the way he bulleted back to the car that something was up. There were waves, big long waves he exclaimed, in short panting breaths. But the best part, no one, not one person was in the water. You can make it, he exclaimed, it opens right up. Open up was a very loose word usage, as we had to dodge Lyle’s car between trees, under branches and to the beach to get to the waves. But it was worth it. He was right. There were big long waves and we were the only three people on the face of the earth that day that got to surf those waves. It turned out to be the best 3 hours of surfing we would have on that trip, and possibly in our entire life. Wave, after wave, after wave of rides 100 – 200 yards long, with only each other to take turns with. No wind, no chop, just rideable wave after rideable wave. In all honesty, it has probably ruined surfing for me from that day forward, and I truly wish my skill level was better so that I could’ve rode the waves for quite a time longer. Unfortunately I have no photos for we were all in the water.
So that’s how the trip went, eat, surf, eat, sleep, surf, eat, surf, on and on and on. Our muscles were tired, our body’s were aching. Some of the waves were too big to ride, some were too crowded to ride, but every wave caught was better than any wave we could catch back home. Ben got barreled and Jeremy rode the longest waves of his life, by far. And because of this trip I now know how to eat, surf and sleep, and although it is certainly not as easy as it sounds, I can’t wait until I get to do it again.