There are a lot of reasons a bunch of moms hovering around 40 should NOT go to Costa Rica to learn how to surf. There are jobs to manage, kids to shuttle, groceries to buy, houses to clean. There’s the guilt that comes with spending money on a vacation just for you. There is fear of leaving your family, fear of flying, fear of the ocean, fear of failure. But, earlier this month, a group of seven friends left all those reasons in the cold, snowy mountains of Vermont, packed their bikinis, and boarded a plane to Peaks N’ Swells Surf Camp in Montezuma, Costa Rica. And it was the trip of a lifetime. So, here are my top 10 reasons why every woman should learn to surf:
#10. No grocery shopping, no cooking and no cleaning. Glorious platters of tropical fruit, huge salads, fresh grilled fish, and local specialties like ceviche, gallo pinto, and arroz con leche served three times a day.
#9. Really leaving our “to-do” lists and web of possessions behind creates space for true relaxation and rejuvenation. More than one of us felt an almost spiritual release of tension and emotion during the week.
#8. A little tropical sunshine and vitamin D in the dark months of winter is good for the skin and good for the spirits.
#7. It is physically challenging—your muscles will be sore, your body will be tired, and you’ll look better in your bikini at the end of the week.
#6. We can afford good quality instruction. While at 20 we might have “winged it” and skipped a pricey lesson, at 40 we are more than happy to hire the 24-year-old British surf pro to show us the ropes.
#5. Having the courage to try something new, to push out of our comfort zone, is the best way to encourage our children to push out of theirs. We have to model the adventure we want for our kids.
#4. Researchers at UCLA discovered when women are confronted with a challenging situation, they will encourage and support each other. The sudden release of oxytocin is more likely to inspire a “tend and befriend” reaction (vs. the classic “fight or flight”). In other words, you will be hooting and hollering for your girlfriends, sharing in their success and excitement, and learning in a supportive environment.
#3. Setting goals, taking risks, and overcoming fears keeps life interesting and adventurous.
#2. It feels REALLY, REALLY amazing to stand up on a wave.
#1. And the number one reason is borrowed from the book Surf Sister—“Surfing serves as a metaphor for life. It’s ultimate lesson: can you stand calm, amidst the chaos, and take a bite out of joy.” What mom doesn’t need that?