Last Thursday I got a call from our friend Elsy and she told me about a surf competition that was going on in Tamarindo that coming weekend and she wanted to know if we were interested in coming. “Sure!” I replied, assuming that she meant to watch. As the conversation went on, I realized that she was inviting Ben and Jacob to participate in the competition. I told her I’d check with the boys and let her know. I had NO idea what their response was going to be, so I didn’t want to commit them to something before asking them about it. When we hung up, I asked the boys if they would be interested in competing that weekend in a surf competition. Both of them immediately responded with a “YES!”, so I called Elsy back and let her know we were in. Cool!
We really had no idea what to expect. We knew it was Saturday. That’s it. None of us have ever been to a surf competition, let alone competed in one, so it was a day full of wonder and our usual feeling of “I have no idea what’s going on here.” It was perfect.
When we arrived Saturday morning we found out that it was starting at 11, and the competition was part of a town festival for kids revolving around Earth Day. There were 4 age groups ranging from 7 and under, 9-12, 13-16 and under 20’s. Quite a few of the kids competing we had “heard” about around town. The good surfers stand out and people talk about them, and they were there that day, ready to compete.
Erin and I were quickly reminded of the early swim team days with Ben from last summer. He got real quiet. Very focused. In his head. In the Zone. It was cool to see how similar his pre-surf competition game mode was to his pre-swim meet game mode. Virtually identical.
Jacob was the opposite. He was all smiles and when we suggested he go out and catch some waves to warm up, he quickly grabbed his board and ran to the ocean and surfed for at least an hour. Focused and driven.
When the time came for Ben’s first heat he was paired up with (in my opinion) the best 10 year old surfer (Malakai) in the country. I wasn’t sure how Ben would feel about that. He wasn’t phased at all. In fact, he paddled out with him stroke for stroke, watching, learning. Ben has never done a duck dive on his board before, he’s never learned and within 30 seconds of watching Malakai duck dive, Ben figured it out and was charging the waves. It was amazing to watch.
Ben did great in the competition. He caught a ton of waves, rode them in and tore it up. Malakai (as expected) was a much better surfer, but Ben was all over it. He never got frustrated, and kept catching wave after wave. I was so proud watching Ben, who has been surfing for about 4 months competing with Malakai, who has been surfing for the last 8 years. When the heat was over and Ben was riding his last wave in, he was FULL of smiles, so proud. He knew he rocked it. We all welcomed him back to shore and that quiet kid that paddled out was now beaming upon his return. We couldn’t have been happier for him.
When Jacob’s heat came up a little while later, he was ready to go as well. With the younger kids they have the option to have a parent go out with them. I asked Jacob if he wanted me to go out with him and he replied, “Dad, do I get more points if you don’t go out with me?” “Yes”, I replied. “OK, you stay here, I’ve got it.” And sure enough, he had it. Out he went. Immediately he started catching waves, I don’t think he missed any of his first 5 or so waves. The current was super strong that afternoon, and he kept getting pulled further and further down the beach toward the crowds of the surf schools in the water, I’m not even sure he noticed. He was on fire. His goal was to catch a wave and ride it as far into the shore as he could. He nailed it.
When his heat was over, Jacob came back to the shore with a smile plastered all over his face. He knew he did exactly what he set out to do, and 20 minutes later when Elsy came over from the judges area and told him he had placed FIRST in his heat and would be going to the finals, he was ecstatic.
Both Ben and Jacob had qualified for the finals. We had no idea (again) what to expect, but we were super excited for them. Ben went back into his “mode” and Jacob remained lively and pumped.
Long story short, both boys did a fantastic job in their final heats as well. Competition was fierce (especially in Ben’s heat) and the boys both held their own. As a parent it was such a cool thing to be experiencing. We hung out with the other parents of surfers on the beach and had a great time. Abby was there cheering them on the whole time, Uncle John joined us as well. A few of our friends from town came by to cheer on the boys also.
When it was all said and done, and awards were being given out at the end of the day, we couldn’t believe it. Jacob had placed first place in his age group. Ben places third in his. Who would have ever thought that two Colorado Boys would be placing in a surf competition in Costa Rica. I certainly never even considered the idea. Erin and I were at a loss for words on and off all day long. Was this really happening? Are those really our kids out there surfing? YES! And we were so so so proud of them.
We’ve heard there is another competition on the 5th of May, both Ben and Jacob are already excited and ready. Guess we’re competing again!
Enjoy the pix of that incredible day.