Surfing in Punta Cana
As mentioned in the previous post, Micah and I went to Punta Cana for a few days during my Spring Break. While we spent most of the time lounging on the beach, we did take a few hours one day to go surfing.
Micah is a surfer, so when he discovered Punta Cana was known for good surfing, he immediately started researching board rentals. Typically when he surfs, I stand on the sandy sidelines and take photos and videos of him, but this time he asked if I would want to take a surf lesson. The idea was both intimidating and thrilling. Although I exercise, I'm not great at sports, so I tend to stick to activities like hiking and biking.
"Do you think I can do it?"
"Yeah," he said. "They will at least get you standing on the board by the end."
He signed us up, and on the second day of our vacation, a van from Macao Surf Camp pulled into our resort to take us to another, more surfable side of the island. Our driver spoke less English than we did Spanish, so after some very rough Spanglish and awkward hand gestures, we were on our way.
Thirty minutes later, we pulled up to a tiki thatched shack on the beach. Surf boards leaned neatly against the wall behind the instructors sitting on a shaded bench. We were given rash guards to wear, and I was thankful for the sleeves to protect my burned shoulders. I must have gotten the last unisex style, however, because Micah was handed a ladies fit rash guard with cap sleeves. I'm not going to lie, the tiny fit looked comical on him. I suggested asking for a different one, but he is the type who would rather suffer than seem bothersome.
Macao offers a photographer and videographer to document the surf lesson. In the very beginning we were asked to do some cheesy poses, including jumping in the air, kissing Micah on the cheek while popping up my foot, and we were constantly encouraged to make the shaka "hang loose" hand sign.
Thankfully we were only asked to pose like this for a few minutes, and they soon faded into the background.
Micah was not taking a lesson, so he was given a board and told he could head on toward the waves. I stayed back to learn the basic movements of surfing on land. The instructor, Gustavo, demonstrated the motion of popping up quickly into a sideways stance, stretching arms parallel with the board, and squatting low.
"The most important thing to remember," he grinned, "is look cool."
Another student, Fredrick, and I practiced with the boards in the sand.
Once our motions were satisfactory, Gustavo turned us over to our new instructors. This was a group lesson, so I assumed there would be only one instructor for the two of us, but Fredrick and I were each given our own instructor. Mine was Addy.
"Okay, Holly," he said once I took position on my board in the water, "when I see a wave, I will ask if you are ready. If you say yes, then I will give you a push, say 'Go!', and you will stand immediately."
I pushed up on my board to stand and immediately felt the board dip under the water, the wave taking me down with it. Once I resurfaced, I made my way back to Addy.
This time I nearly got to standing position, but I quickly lost balance, fell into the wave and did a summersault in the water.
By this third time, to my amazement, I was standing and managed to ride the wave for a few seconds before falling. When I resurfaced, I turned to see Addy clapping for me.
The next two hours only got better from this point. Although I did have some epic (yet, funny) crashes, I surfed. I couldn't help but feel proud of myself.
Here is the video Macao made for us. There are plenty of cringe-worthy moments that make me love this video even more. Make sure to watch until the end so you can see the adorable surfing dog.
While I still have a lot to learn, I am thankful for this experience and can't wait to keep practicing. If you are ever in Punta Cana, I highly recommend Macao Surf Camp. For $100, you get a rash guard, a board rental, and a two-hour lesson with your own instructor. They were professional, kind, and not at all pushy.
This was the adventure that Micah and I needed in Punta Cana.
All photos and videos by Macao Surf Camp.