Santa Theresa and Mal Pais sort of blend into one township along the coastal road pretty much ending at the little fishing village.
The area attracts a much younger set, pretty much all surfers, and although I always feel 18 well maybe 21 in my head, I felt very old and out of place down here. Strange. Not at all like Nosara that has - lets say - a more mature demographic. Shane - our eldest - suggested that perhaps the reason that I felt more comfortable here was because it smelt of warm, stale urine, embrocation and the food was pure`ed. (Not true! He actually asked me if I had found out what was the cause of the lingering smell of salmon. Incotinence and senility being just two of his metaphors for me riding a stand up paddle board.
Our intention was to visit the nature reserve at the tip of the Nicoya however some stomach bug that we had brought with us from the UK persuaded us otherwise. Always find that if your going to be ill you are better off in familiar surroundings.
The surf at Santa Theresa was quite punchy, we watched the local young rippers tear up the shore dump at high tide. I'm always amazed how these kids (I swear you see the same ones at breaks all around the world!!) seem to be able to paddle in - bust out numerous turns, floaters and airs all in a wave that pretty much breaks on the head of the beach.
We got up fairly early and were on the road by 8:30, not without some trepidation, by all accounts the drive back was going to be much the same as the one in, and we had both lost sleep over the prospect of making a return visit through some of the river crossings - I didn't think that the RAV4 sump could take much more amateur modification and the car's soundtrack was definatly playing a different tune than when we collected it!
In fact once we rose up out of Santa Theresa the roads were excellent. The scenery was green and lush and we made good time back completing our circuit of the Nicoya peninsula on the inland predominantely tarmac coastal route. What took us 7 plus hours yesterday we completed in under 5 - without doubt the best way to Mal Pais.
Charmaines stomach had been iffy now for a few days so we decided to book a table and eat at the hotel rather than stray too far from safety. I had a half hearted attempt at fishing but ended up being tempted by the surf which although was a bit choppy (perfect by home standards) was good fun and ensured that I kept up my everyday average.
At dinner we got chatting to Darren and Anna who came from Norfolk. They seemed keen on getting into sup but I think that they were just being kind however after a decent meal, salad and spag bol, we made very loose arrangements for a dawn surf.
Wind got up through the night but dropped enough at first light to snag a few decent waves but by 7 it was blowing me off the board and generally bloody hard work to paddle in. Darren had more sense and stayed tucked up until brekfast.
Double click on this pic and you can tell from the paddle how strong the wind was
We lazed by the pool with a beer and a book, got a small but fun wave in the late afternoon before having dinner at the hotel with Darren and Anna. 16-01-2009
Up early again but although the wind has dropped off so has the swell. My elbows are giving me a bit of grief now, hardly surpising as I have not missed a day since I've been here, might also be down to a change from a glass to an alloy paddle. We are falling into a nice holiday routine now totally chilled and ripping through the books which is something we don't do too much of at home.
More of the same great little surf this morning followed up by a snooze in the hammock some assing around with the Uli in the pool with Ray, our host, Stefan a German guest Anna and Darren before another late afternoon surf.
We ate at the Guided Iguana - the hotel restaurant is closed on Sundays. Food was excellent Charmaine had beef fajitas I had Cerviche and a Dorado Casado (porn star name) - nice good price as well, 17,000 colones. Certainly eat there again. My cold has now broken out feeling pretty shite, poor Charmaine is still no better. 18-01-2009
Checked magicseaweed.com which said that a fresh swell was due 4 1\2' @ 13 seconds perfection in my book. Seaweed also reckoned that it would improve from 9am so I decided to have brekfast first and then go in. What a session! Chest high on the sets with loads of rideable inside waves. This place has to be paddle and longboard heaven.
There are plenty of peaks, always reeling and easily paddle inable.
I surfed left and rights across the beach and felt planted enough on the board to ride it backwards, albeit awkwardly almost on the nose (like being almost pregnant) I pulled of a couple of complete 360's, thats me not the board.
Still pretty good for me and I felt like I was surfing well. Totally stoked.
The Uli really is an amazing piece of kit, perhaps that should read amazingly simple once you get to grips with the soft rails and the need to drive it off the tail. It forces you (me) to rethink technique such as rail weighting and paddle strokes. Perhaps we get too wrapped up with some of the techy aspects of boards, who knows? All I can say is that the board is fun BIG FUN and I love it.
E.g. When holding station, waiting for a wave I found myself back paddling, keeping my back to the beach and edging in ever so slightly. This seemed to counteract the stiff offshore breezes and allowed me to rapidly turn the board into the catch letting me to drop in fairly late. Also by holding the paddle in my waveside hand I was able to pull the outside rail up with my free hand enabling me to stay in tighter and tucked into the steeper sections of the wave face. Soo stoked.
Massive increase in wind overnight, quite scary actually I passed on the early surf but got in late afternoon and managed to drop into some biggish barrels but the huge offshore wind made life hard. I did manage to get whoopped into one barrel that was for me the wave of the trip. Big enough for it to go dark behind me, the look on the tico surfers' face paddling out was a picture. 20-01-2009
More to come
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