How I Got My Stoke Back

Sometimes stepping outside your comfort zone brings realization that something is missing in your life or causes you to regain passion for something you once had. For me, stepping outside my ordinary life and deciding to take a solo (sans husband) trip to Costa Rica was what it took to get stoked about surfing once again. 

Earlier this year, my husband and I decided he needed a motorcycle (one of his passions) and I needed an international trip (one of mine). I was overwhelmed with delight, where in the world would I go? Upon reflection on previous trips, I recalled that while I was in Indonesia several years back, I’d heard about surf retreats for women. 

This seemed like a dream to me, being able to surf for a week without any other obligations. I fell in love with surfing and the calmness and clarity it brings me nearly a decade ago. I used to go several times each week but I hadn’t been surfing much lately due to work and social obligations, and not wanting to deal with traffic, parking, and crowds.  I decided this type of trip was best for my “soul” to be rejuvenated. 

After much research, I learned these retreats are all over the globe, including Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, Bali, and Australia. The one I settled on was a retreat in Costa Rica called Sister Surf and Yoga Retreat, run by three sisters and surfing extraordinaires from the Virgin Islands. I picked it because I’ve never been to Costa Rica, the price seemed fair, and the sisters who run it were very responsive and helpful during our email conversations. 

I told my friend Lisa about the trip one evening, and she seemed very interested in doing something like this as well. I told her she should come with, and within a week, I was taking the trip with one of my closest buddies! I spent the month after we booked our travel arrangements in eager anticipation. 

When we arrived to Playa Grande, the small and quaint beachside town the La Marejada Hotel was located in, we were greeted by our hosts, Marjie and Chelsea. Lisa and I checked into our room and refreshed ourselves from the 17 hour journey from Honolulu to Liberia. We later joined up with the other women in the group for our first sunset at the epically beautiful Playa Grande Beach, which is on the Pacific Ocean side of Costa Rica in the Guanacaste region. That evening, we shared great food and company with our hosts and some incredible ladies from the U.S. 

The next week was nothing short of amazing. We surfed every day, had yoga classes in the late afternoons, ate delicious and healthy food, including the freshest sushi and fried fish I’d ever tasted, enjoyed each other’s company, and took a few side trips to nearby towns. One day, we hiked to a breathtaking waterfall, called Llanos de Cortez, where we swam and did yoga. Another evening we went down to the tide pools for sunset after our yoga session.  

My surfing skills improved with Marjie and Chelsea’s expert advice. We watched videos of our surfing each night to see where we could improve on technique. Most importantly, I got my stoke for surfing back when I realized I had let my love of the sport fall to the wayside. I pledged never to go more than a week without paddling out once I returned home to Hawaii. I had an insight during my trip that life is too short to lose sight of what makes you happy. It’s good for your overall well-being and benefits everyone around you. 

Have you ever had a hobby or a passion that you lost sight of due to the hustle and bustle of life? How did it affect your well-being?