Robert Parker in Bali

Robert Parker in Bali
blog contributor Robert Parker Surfing Bali

Friday, June 14, 2013

Day 4 And the Swell Hits

Day 4- Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Southern Nicoya Peninsula Playa Hermosa 
The swell is here and the tides will be perfect later this afternoon.  Our morning attempt at surf isn't happening as we wait to see if we can switch horses for fishing.  Roger, the owner, has his truck jacked up on the road guard and slammed backwards into a stucco wall, clearly a mis-judged attempt at the driveway at midnight with too many cervezas.  It also keeps him from an appearance until after 8:30 am and too late to change our plans- which he cites as needed to be done by 7 am and I quietly mention I was there waiting at 6 am. As was his badly damaged trunk from last night's reverie. But Pura Vida means letting go of the little stuff and our guide, Kay is now there with horses.  

Kay, from Germany, only working this past 3 weeks is from Sunrise Ranch.  She's adorable and the horses are solid trail riders if nothing else.  Meaning they are a bit on the lean side, but it's the end of the dry period and grass is scarce. The walk down the road to the beach is steep for the horses too, poor things.  We get to the beach and it's lovely to be at a different view.  We trot some- John is not a fan of this new pace, only having been on a horse one other time before in his life.  Did I mention I just spent 35 years in Northern Nevada and had horses for at least a decade of that time?  And that my Dad taught me how to ride and that old Iowa farm boy meant the old adage "when you fall off a horse, you gotta get right back up there".  The "or else you deal with me" was sort of unspoken because he didn't have to state the obvious.  Hence, I have little fear of horses and have fallen off my fair share. And gotten right back up. (It's like surfing) We get down to Santa Teresa's harder pack beach and John and I switch horses as he'll sit out the gallop part of the ride, not really feeling comfortable with the horse yet and he was on the taller, more aggressive animal.   Kay and I tear off and the momentary "oh crap", always becomes "oh yeah" instantly as the rhythm takes over. A few yapping dogs are chasing us and where are the owners to keep them in check?  The one who gets a bit rolled under Kay's horse Honey wishes his owner was more careful, I bet.  But its so fun to run full speed on sand and through the surf's foam. This experience is a good analogy too for John and I.  Where he is so at ease on the waves, and I'm still somewhat fearful or careful, I now can say "I'm not ready to gallop yet", and he gets it.  Part of being in a great relationship is learning how to talk and listen, developing a language that works for two. But surfing, riding a horse both have a similar zen like quality of both pushing yourself for the new challenge while still respecting the power of nature.  Next time we ride, he'll try a gallop.  And I'll take that little bit larger wave.
It's hot now and the pool will be welcome after this ride.  Kay is grateful for the $10 tip and even more so, I'm her first client who would/could (skill level wise) run with her on the beach, hence her first CR beach run too.   After some rest, some pool time, we decide to go check out Playa Hermosa. By the eay, there is no less than 3 Playa Hermosas from Jaco north to the Nicaraguan border.  Popular name for beaches here as it means "beautiful".  Hermosa was one of my favorite beaches too in So. Cali. No exception here!  It's an awful ride north of town(s) down a dusty bumpy road, but the beach is gorgeous.  I mean really ridiculous, postcard, Kodak moment, stunning.  John gets me settled on the secondary swell away from the rocks and I'm happy on my Billy Hamilton riding these waves.  Wave count!  And John is having some real fun on a beautiful wave on the outside that is coming in at around 6-7'.  Again this beach is huge, tons of waves and hardly any people on the shore or the water.  There's no fighting for line up position here.  

We surf until sunset and sarcastically say "yeah just another beautiful sunset, yawn! "

Another word on that language/couple/surfing subject.  I've only been surfing for a few years and sporadically at that.  John is well into his 45+ year of surfing.  When we go on surf trips, we have to compromise and play give and take.  Sometimes I have to be trip photographer if it's reef break or too big.  That's a little fallout from starting surfing at 53- not quite as much muscle mass as even 10 years ago (although yoga and the gym are ritual) and I can break easier.
Our surf language includes: 
K: Will I have fun?
J: (Answers vary depending on the conditions) No, hon, this won't be fun for you OR Give it a try and see OR Yes you can do this, easy OR It'll be good for you just to get out and paddle. 
He's also amazing at getting me settled on beach break that is right for me and after one or two waves I say "Get outta here, I'm fine" and he paddles out to the bigger break. Everyone is happy and surf trips stay our priority for travel.

Insert a commercial break here (and maybe this business can become an official blog sponsor).  For Christmas I got John a SurfLock  OR  This handy lock popped up on my Facebook ads and I thought about CR and having a car, so I got one on a great Xmas deal- $35.00.  It's heavy duty, nice capacity for credit cards and keys, locked onto our car wheel and allowed the key to be accessible to both of us.  I highly recommend! 

When we get back, I'm pumped from finally having a really, decent surf day and we are both ready for the yellowfin tuna that the girls scored on their fishing trip.  A bottle of wine, part of the deal, is especially delicious tonight too. Even though we didn't get to go fishing, this day really turned out great for us.  Tomorrow we leave Vista las Olas and check in for one night in Santa Teresa at Manala's.  


  1. Great post, brings back memories - I used to spend summers as a kid on my great uncle's horse ranch in grass valley, haven't ridden in years! Hope to get my wife out on a surfboard someday, she keeps threatening to try it. At almost 58 I'm 4 years back into it, after 15 years of surfing followed by 23 years away. Lovin' it! Thanks for posting.

  2. As an older woman who started surfing late- though I grew up in Redondo and was an avid body surfer, I say urge her on! I have to fight my competitive edge all the time that wants to get better, balanced with my fears and remember to just have fun. I highly recommend NSP longboards for women learning- even over soft tops which really can rip you up when your pop-ups are a little slow. I think NSP (and all surf products, actually) could also address older women surfers- we are a demographic that is gaining huge numbers and all the advertising seems so young, like: "The Surf Betty is designed for young girls to advanced Betty’s that want to spend more time exploring new surf breaks and traveling with their friends than fixing dings." Just sayin'