Learning to surf in Costa Rica #MakeItHappen

by | Feb 16, 2015 | Around the world | 11 comments


I’ve got a confession to make: I’m a bit of scaredy cat. I’m afraid of flying (turbulence has me gripping the handrests with white knuckles), horse riding, being on boats, and generally going fast on anything I don’t have total control over.

I’ve tried to surf in the cold shark-infested water of Cape Town, and never got very far. A year or two ago, my first surfing experience (which lasted a total of 10 minutes) ended with bleeding from the head after being hit by my boyfriend’s board in a big wave. It took me awhile to get back in the water after that, and my second attempt was decidedly unsuccessful. Without any surfing lessons or guidance (or natural athleticism), I could barely even catch the tiniest waves. The third time I tried, I was taken out by a bailing beginner as unskilled as I was. At this point I decided that surfing wasn’t for me.

Then came the first day of January 2015, when I decided that I didn’t want to look back on my life and not know that I filled it with as much adventure as possible, even if those adventures terrified me. I made a list of all the things that filled me with fear, and resolved to start ticking them off, one by one.

First up: surfing. Luckily I don’t have to do this one in the icy Atlantic Ocean, but in the warm Pacific of Costa Rica. After travelling South America for four months, I’m staying put in one place for awhile in the little surfing village of Nosara, on Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula, where surf shops and super tanned surf instructors abound. I have no excuse not to get in the water and start catching waves!

I hope that my resolution inspires some of you to tackle an adventurous or scary activity you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t because you’ve struggled to get over your fear. This year Lumia is enabling and encouraging South Africans to actually stick to their goals this year by committing to anything small that gets you one step closer to your dream. 2015 is the year of making it happen!

If you want to commit to learning  you’ve been procrastinating, you can make it happen with Lumia. Lumia will also be giving away a Lumia 535 every week, so if you’re lucky, you could win just by submitting your resolution.

Check out the Lumia #MakeItHappen video to find out how to make your pledge.

Photo by Fred Moore


  1. Christie

    I tried surfing when I was in High School…it was in Cape Town and the water was bitterly cold. After purchasing a ‘rad’ figure-hugging wetsuit, I went out with some of my more experienced surfer friends but experienced much the same as you did. Not for me! But I if I was in Costa Rica…then maybe, just maybe I would! Enjoy your ocean adventure!

  2. Johan Van Der Walt

    Surfing is definately on my bucket list! The cold Atalantic is not by idea of fun though – maybe I should trek up to Costa Rica to have my turn! Nosara looks like a rad place.

  3. Deborah

    I know Cape Town’s waters can be a bit cold, but next time try Surfing through Coffee Shack. It’s a little closer and prob a bit easier on the pocket too. And if I can stand up on a board there – so can ANYONE!

  4. Zarah

    my year started with me making a promise to my husband that i would ride a wave from the back line with him…. perhaps in return he can fly me to Costa Rica!

  5. Joe Lawrence

    Ah man this makes me want to go and do this now! I have tried to surf before but without much success but this is pretty inspiring, thanks!

  6. Tristan

    Huge kudos Sarah. I remember a conversation with someone wise who said surfing is the purest form of exercise and the best possible zen one can experience in life. Judging by your adventures and hearing from J how profound it’s been on him, this seems to still hold true 🙂

  7. Chris

    I’ve always wanted to learn to surf but have this phobia of Cape Town’s great whites. But Costa Rica sounds awesome! It’s definitely going on the bucket list.

  8. Brad

    I am also a scaredy cat. Mainly of going fast. I drive like an old person. I wouldn’t mind trying surfing but the sharks give me the fear. Well done for actually doing this thing. Also I think your pictures on this website are inspiring for would be travelers.

  9. Chanel Rossouw

    Thanks for sharing, Sarah! You’ve made a very important point in this article: fear is a common and normal part of life; learning to see it for what it is, and deciding when it’s necessary to ignore it and follow your dreams, is an empowering way to live. Amazing; I hope to do something like this in the near future!

  10. Tatjana

    It’s rad to see that you followed through with this. So many of us set the intention but don’t make the effort to follow through. I think I might just give that longboard another shot 🙂 Thanks Sarah!

  11. Meghan

    This is great! I’m like you, also a huge scaredy cat. I don’t like to do anything that could possibly cause me harm. I have given surfing a try and was not very successful, for many reasons. So kudos to you for overcoming your fear and tackling it head on, literally! Maybe I’ll get out there and give it another shot.


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