This weekend was the 2nd contest of the Costa Rican National circuit in Puerto Viejo. I have spent the last month in Puerto committing myself to learning the wave Salsa Brava. This heavy reef wave that breaks right in front of the town is predominately a right but also has a left that throws a fast, short hollow barrel onto pretty much dry reef. The right has two peaks, main peak and second peak. On a good day when the swell is a good direction and breaks over five feet, you can take off a first peak, getting barrelled on take off and then hold your line into second peak for your next barrel. For me to learn this wave it’s a mental game more than anything else. The only advice I can give it commit full on to every wave that you paddle for, and just trust that you will make it. Be quick to your feet and have confidence in yourself – easier said than done, especially on wave that breaks heavily onto shallow reef. Nevertheless, putting yourself out of your comfort zone when surfing is always a great way to improve your surfing. Even just sitting on the edge and watching the boys pull in and seeing how they do it is truly inspirational. The harder you go, the more you learn and the quicker your learning curve. Here’s a photo of French rider Romain, who has Salsa Brava dialled and is out there with the best of them on the big days picking off these perfect barrels.
The first week I arrived in Puerto Viejo, I was lucky enough to get to surf Salsa everyday so I was stoked. The next couple of weeks however the swell dropped so we were surfing the beach break Cocles, five minutes from town. By the time the contest came around the swell had dropped completely and we were left to surf 1-2 foot waves. Now I know I just recently blogged about surfing small waves, so I should have been all over it. However the reality is, even I haven’t practised enough in small conditions. The key to being able to surf the small stuff is to get out there on the small days and do it. So if there is anything I learnt form this contest, it’s that I need to be surfing even on the really really small days if I want to start winning these things and progressing further. I wasn’t overwhelmed with my result, and I feel that my performance reflected the lack of confidence I had when going into this contest. I was happy to get in to the final, that’s for sure, but I am now really committing myself to training this month to get my head back into the competitive mind set, and to build on confidence that should hopefully bring me a better result in the next contest in Jaco on the 23rd and 24th of February. So much of the competitive surfing relies on where your head is at, so lets start by getting that right! Stay posted for training tips, workouts and more travel adventures over the next coming weeks!