One thing that I wanted to learn while visiting Puerto Escondido was how to surf ocean waves. I have never surfed in the ocean but have some experience with wake surfing behind a boat. The two are very different. Before we left Canada I did some research to find an instructor and kept coming across Puerto Surf Lessons which is owned and operated by the well-known Celestino Rodriguez. Celestino has a great amount of experience teaching surf lessons and an intimate knowledge of the unpredictable ocean.
Never having ocean surfed before, I started the lesson with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Before getting into the ocean we did some stretching and learned about proper body positioning. From Celestino’s home we walked to La Punta (the point) on Playa Zicatela, which is at the south end of the beach. This area of Playa Zicatela is popular for surfing and can be quite busy. Soon after entering the water the ocean quickly initiated me. A large wave rolled in and despite my leg being leashed to the surf board I was commanded to dive head first into the wave. Never turn your back to a big wave, I learned that lesson quickly. Then a newbie surfer came hurtling towards me and again I dove down into the water. Evade surfers by swimming under them, that lesson I learned too. With these two important lessons learned I was feeling a bit more confident.
Getting out into the open water required strong paddling arms, and by the end of the two hour lesson mine felt like wet noodles. But when I caught my first wave, even though it was just a little one, I was addicted. Celestino and his co-instructors were great at reading the waves and helping the newbie surfers catch them just right. It was exhilarating! And I can hardly wait for my muscles and sunburn to heal so I can go back out for more fun.
Jeremie and I did our surfing lesson in the morning and then we had the chance to watch Maria and Grant do theirs in the afternoon. I was thrilled to watch them and take pictures. At one point during the lesson a giant creature swam under Maria giving her quite the surprise! Maria is convinced it was a whale shark which is a gentle creature with no teeth. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, Jeremie and I are quite blind without our glasses so I doubt we would have noticed anything in the water unless it was removing our limbs. Apparently there are no such creatures in these waters this time of year.