Surfing El Paredon, The Wall

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Traveling in Central America is a fairly easy task to accomplish. Everywhere you visit you hear of another place you want to go. I had seen a couple of posters at various kiosks for surfing on the Pacific coast of Guatemala. I booked into the Driftwood surfer hostel along with a shuttle. Again this is one of times where I thought “I’m doing this!”. The shuttle over from Panajachel, Lake Atitlan was rather extreme. The driver took us to a river and the van was loaded onto 20×50 foot plank style “ferry” with a lip on the sides of about a foot. The “ferry” had a small boat motor on the back. We actually ended up floating down stream a bit before the captain could turn the barge around. Guatemala Man! However there were flying fish jumping around the barge so that was awesome! I never thought I would actually see a flying fish other than in like National Geographic.

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Upon arriving at the hostel and walking out on the beach that night I began to have second thoughts. The surfing was pounding and the waves were enormous! Also there were signs up warning of rip tides. The young lady at the desk said my lesson would be at 11 am. The cost here was 150$ quetzales or about 19$usd. I also booked into yoga at 7am. In the morning I met my instructor Pollo and felt more comfortable about this whole surfing thing. Pollo explained that because of the rip tide we only surfed at certain times each day according to the tide tables.

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First things first he grabbed me a board. We headed out on the beach and then drilled down the steps to get up in a surf stance. So laying down on the board you do a push up, then step into a lunge, stand up and pivot and hold a fighting stance. I hope your laughing imagining this! It was going to be a repetitive epic fail…. sooo I dug right in! Pollo decided after some time that we just had to get in the water. Walking, swimming, smashing through monster waves with the board was a work out. At some point my instructor said “ok get on”. Luckily he held the board and would shove me off to catch the wave. Then it was all me! Push up, lunge, crash, fight my way through monster waves to Pollo repeat!

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We did this for 4 days straight. I probably stood up on my board 20 times. The last wave I rode all the way to the beach!  Then high fives from the fan club! I have decided to love surfing, and “break your back a little bit more Miss”. At any time I could have just rented a board on my own for 100$ Q or 13$usd. With lessons being so inexpensive, and learning at nearly 40 years old this is the way to go. If you get the chance to try out surfing do it!

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