Learning to Slow Down and Surf


We first heard about Troncones on our second day in Saladita when we met a yoga instructor and massage therapist named Natalie.  We were just pulling onto the beach and unstrapping our surfboards when Sophia bumped into her under a nearby palapa.  Natalie was just getting out of the surf, she was one of a handful of locals out past the break doing exactly what we had come here to learn; ride the waves!

Just as we have so frequently encountered on our trip, we met the exact right person at the exact right time.  Natalie and her partner Wax, a local legend we were told, offered to give us a lesson the following day to help show us the ropes and get our feet wet!  Natalie stayed and chatted with us for quite some time and told us all about Troncones, a fishing village that has been gaining popularity with tourists.  When parting ways, Soph and I decided that checking out Troncones was a must.

The following day we met with Nathalie and Wax at Playa de Saladita and had such an amazing introduction to surfing.  Natalie started us out with some surf yoga then drilled us on our pop-ups and initial board stance.  We went out with Wax one at a time and rode in a few waves each with a good push and solid instructions to “paddle, paddle, PADDLE!”.  What a morning!

We would soon discover that Wax’s many years bobbing up and down in the ocean and watching the surf roll in for the perfect wave is a finely honed skill that is a necessity to surfing.  Learning to read waves is not something that comes quickly, nor is knowing where to position yourself to catch the right wave at the right time.  The only way to learn to read the water is to sit on your board in the surf and watch, wait, and bob up and down.  As confidence increases in your ability the ocean is awesome at levelling you out and feeding you a big slice of humble pie.

If there is one definite thing the ocean is teaching us, it is to slow down, go with the flow and learn how to feel the water.  It is amazing how much information one can glean from the ocean by watching and feeling the water with your legs.  The effects of the current, tides, wind direction and swell all start to differentiate themselves from each other.  The surfer vocabulary starts to make more sense, terms like the break and the surge, positions like being outside and on the inside all slowly start to make sense.  An emerging mental framework that accommodates this new information begins forming and our knowledge of the ocean also slowly grows.

It is easy to get frustrated and start trying to rush the process, Soph and I are both guilty, but humility is a requirement when trying to saddle one of nature’s great forces.  The ocean is quick to put us on the spin cycle when we get a little over-confident and our patience is quickly restored as only being tossed around underwater can do.

When we were told that surfing is a lifestyle we both were quick to smile and nod but I don’t think either of us really could grasp what it meant.  The more time we spend bobbing in the ocean, watching the swells roll in, the more we can understand what this lifestyle truly means.

Before we can learn to surf we need to learn how to slow down.