Our stay at School of the World continued in much the same manner as our first week, enjoying the sunshine and the super chilled culture, except this week I was doing surfing and yoga classes instead of double surf. I know… me, doing yoga! It’s always something I’ve never been that keen on, thinking it to be more on the hippie vibe than I can quite equate myself to, but I figured I’m out here living the surf life, ready and willing to try new things, so why the hell not give it a go – that’s what travelling’s all about, right?
Anyway, our week started with a super early morning surf session, and me trying a board a whole foot shorter than the one I was using last week as, according to one of the surf instructors, Cristian, I had ‘the skills’, a compliment I tried to hold on to as I fell again and again, attempting to get used to the new board. I got there in the end though, and enjoyed that elated feeling of riding the waves after a weekend out of the water.
The next day though, Carlos had me on an even smaller board, a 6″8 this time, as apparently I am too light to be able to turn the board once I catch a wave! It was pretty much impossible. And so frustrating. The sea was super choppy and I just for the life of me could not catch a wave… I just kept losing my balance and slipping off. I think I maybe got one wave in the whole 2 hours.
On Wednesday I was kind of reluctant to even go in the water and my confidence was totally knocked from the day before, but Esteban was super patient with me and I actually got up on my first wave. Success! The conditions that day were absolutely perfect, with beautiful, glassy waters and big but calm sets coming in, ready for us to ride. Everyone was catching waves that day, and having a great time, including me. I was even starting to turn… Carlos was right, this tiny board was so much more fun! I got up again and again and again, every single wave I paddled for I rode all the way down the beach, carving into the wave and back out again towards the beach, loving life.
Later that day, still pumped from the morning’s surf sesh, we decided to crash the photography class’s trip to a nearby town, Orotin, where they would be wandering the markets taking photos. It was really cool to get out and see some places outside Jaco, and we even stopped along the way to see some enormous crocodiles that were just chilling under a bridge… Apparently it’s the narrowest part of the river and the easiest place for them to catch fish. So cool, but also utterly terrifying – these creatures were HUGE. I’m just glad I was high up above them and out of way of their chomping jaws.
Unfortunately our last two days of surfing weren’t as great as we had hoped, with some insanely huge and crazily scary waves, big enough that we had to call it quits early one day, and spend the majority of our very last surf lesson just playing about in the white water, getting dragged around by the intensely strong undercurrent. Not the end to my week that I’d hoped for, but I guess you can’t have perfect waves everyday.
And what about the yoga? Was I converted? Well as soon as our first yoga class began I knew it wasn’t going to be easy… I’m definitely not as bendy and stretchy as I thought I was! But our instructor was lovely and took us through the steps and positions with clear and precise instructions, always giving variations so each position was always possible in some manner. I actually got quite into it that first day and really tried to embrace it as a whole. and that just continued throughout the week. Some of the positions we did got harder for sure and I somehow even managed to do a back bend (with help), something I’ve never been able to do in my life before. I definitely now respect yoga as a legitimate form of exercise… I don’t think I’ve ever sweated so much in my life, although it did get easier as the week went on and I really felt myself become more flexible and stronger at my core. It was also nice to get into that sort of zen mindset, where I just had to focus on my breathing and whatever muscle stretch or shoulder stand or any other form of crazy bending and stretching we would be asked to do. There were some classes where I definitely struggled to relax and close my mind to the outside world though, perhaps with a few more weeks doing yoga here though I would get better at that aspect of it.
I’ve had such a fab two weeks at School of the World, enjoying this new travelling lifestyle of a ‘learning vacation’, meeting new people and throwing myself wholeheartedly into new things, both things that I knew I would love (surfing) and things that I was a bit hesitant about at first (yoga). The school is great, with lovely facilities, a super chilled atmosphere, great people, and it’s designed in a way that you can really get as much out of it as you want. You can be busy every hour of every day, doing as many of their classes as the timetable will allow. Or you can just pick and choose and spend your time chilling by the pool, or wandering through Jaco, enjoying the many bars and restaurants it has to offer. I loved all of my instructors, am really happy I got to try yoga in this sort of environment and (obviously) am now obsessed with surfing.
This isn’t the last School of the World will be seeing of me, that’s for sure. But for now, the rest of the country beckons.
I’ll be writing a specific review of School of the World soon, but for now I’ll just say I highly recommend it, and if you’re ever in Costa Rica, you won’t regret paying them a visit!