HALF MOON BAY, Calif., February 17, 2012—Surfers always seem to have the best laid-back lifestyle. They hang out at the beach and enjoy an ocean playground—riding waves as much as their schedule allows.
Have you ever considered joining them? You can, on a weeklong surf safari on Mexico’s Riviera Nayarit. Better yet, you can leave most of the planning to someone else.
Now in its 15th year, Las Olas is one of the world’s premier surf camps for women. With a sweet spot near a surf break north of Puerto Vallarta, it’s an ideal opportunity to learn to surf as well as relax and soak in the chill vibe.
Las Olas provides gorgeous seaside accommodations, daily yoga class, daily surf lessons (including a private lesson), loads of free surf time, a private sports massage, ground transportation and boat trips to secret surf spots. In addition, the Las Olas surf instructors include world champions and sponsored professional surfers, so you’re getting quality attention.
How do I know all this? I just returned from a Las Olas surf safari. Although I’m a decent kayak and stand-up paddleboard surfer, I had never tried traditional surfing until this trip. Every day for a week, I rolled out of bed in my seaside villa, attended morning yoga class, hit the beach for surf instruction and practice, and had some incredible food in a little beach town. My fellow classmates, eight women from the United States and Canada, were welcome companions along for the ride.
One of my favorite things about this experience was not only the quality, focused instruction, but also the camaraderie of a group of women of varying ages. We all had spent vacations with partners and families, but did not always have a chance to focus on ourselves and get quality time to play. The feeling seems appropriately expressed in the Las Olas motto” “We make girls out of women.”
Sure, it’s possible to learn to surf by paying someone on the beach to teach you a lesson for an hour or two. But my experience with surf camp allowed me to get constant feedback for days: what I was doing right as well as what I was doing wrong, and how I was improving. For me, the hours of attention are a key factor in making sure I’m successful when I buy a board and hit my home waters on my own.
The gorgeous villa, countless fish tacos, great yoga classes and muscle-melting massage helped, too. Alone, that week of quality surfing and playtime ensures that I’ll be a surfer for life.
Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill and her husband are avid kayakers and own Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.
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