The only qualification for this women’s camp is determination to catch a wave (forget your sorrows, your age, your tumor, your fears) and have maximum fun on the ride back in
SAYULITA, Mexico — As I sat on the nearly deserted beach peering out at the frothy Pacific just before sunset, a knot gripped my stomach. What travel guides had billed as mellow waves appeared, in my amateur assessment, to be crashing with ferocious intensity.
Call me a wuss, but waves freak me out. Yet, I’ve always been fascinated by them, and growing up in Northern California, I had harbored a lifelong dream of Gidget-hood.
That’s what brought me to this sleepy fishing village, a 45-minute drive north of Puerto Vallarta, up dusty, winding roads carved into the mountainside. I enrolled last month in a weeklong surf camp for women.
As one of our instructors, a svelte, sun-kissed 25-year-old named Dominga, launched into a tutorial on how to read waves, I tried not to think about the recent summer when I had tried to body surf in Westhampton, N.Y. — pummeled by wave after wave, tossed like a rag doll onto the beach until a friend dragged me from the undertow (the others just laughed as they frolicked in the surf, something I had been assured my surf instructors here would not do).
I didn’t even learn to swim properly until a year and a half ago, and have done so only in a pool. I worried about losing my contacts, and packed goggles, just in case.
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