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Surf School

May 02, 2024
April Price Coaching
Surf School

I recently spent a week at a surf school in Costa Rica and had an incredible time. 

On today’s episode of the podcast, I’m telling you all about my experience and also sharing some of the memorable lessons that I got from the trip, from the ocean, and from my surf coach that I have been thinking about since I got home.

While you might not be planning to go to surf school any time soon, we are all down here at earth school and I think the things I learned while I was trying to acquire this new skill will help you with the things you are trying to learn and master in your own life.


Welcome to the 100% Awesome Podcast with April Price. You might not know it, but every result in your life is 100% because of the thoughts you think. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome.

Hello podcast universe! Welcome to episode 261 of the 100% Awesome Podcast. I'm April Price, and I'm wondering if anybody's actually out there, or if you're all just listening to Taylor Swift's new album full time right now. I just got home from the gym and my husband was like, getting out of the shower and blasting the album. So maybe that's what you're all doing too, and nobody's actually even listening anymore.

But that was a fun surprise this week, right? A huge album, a double album, 31 tracks, and I feel like listening and appreciating and taking that album in is kind of like a full time job now. But I, I'm so happy to be doing it. I'm so happy to be doing the work right. And yeah, so fun week to get a new album. I personally not only like love the music and and love having a new soundtrack to my life, but I also just find myself so inspired by what is possible. You know, like, she's in the middle of a huge world tour and, you know, just generates a whole double album. And I just, I'm like amazed by it. It's like she's just not wasting any time with her life. And it makes me want to be as enthusiastic about the creative pursuits in my own life. And I'm really, yeah, inspired by it. Like the bravery and just like the permission that she gives herself and like to just, yeah, be her and say what she needs to say, I love it.

She's such a baddy and I am here for it. So, I of course, would love to sit here and talk about the album and all of our feelings all day long, but maybe another day. Anyway, welcome to all of you who are here that are maybe taking a short break from the Torture Poets Department. Welcome, I feel honored to have you here and have your ears for a moment. Today we are going to talk about surf school, and I can tell you that that is a sentence that I never thought I would say when I started this podcast six years ago. You know, I never could have imagined I'm going to have an episode dedicated to going to surf school. So there are just so many possibilities of your life that can and will happen that you don't know about. So let that be your reminder that your brain doesn't know. Your brain doesn't know what's coming. It cannot predict your future, okay? It doesn't know what you're capable of. And your life can be whatever you want it to be. And you always get to change your mind. You always get to choose your experience.

So recently, that's the experience I chose, I chose to go to surf camp. I was turning 50, as you know, and my husband told me, hey, for your 50th birthday, you can do whatever you want. And I was like, I really want to go to this surf camp. And it was amazing. I want to kind of just describe it for you and then talk about some of the things that I learned at surf school. So this camp is kind of like a little mini boutique luxury resort where the whole focus is learning to surf. And so it's very small I think it can house about 20 people. The week that David and I went, there were 14 of us there, and it was in Costa Rica. And they have this beautiful resort that's kind of like on a mountain. So it overlooks the ocean. The views were gorgeous. The resort itself was just beautiful. And then there were 14 of us there who all, you know, signed up to learn how to surf. And we spent a week together doing just that. We shared all of our meals together and we ate around this big communal table.

It was amazing. And then all of our work every day was about surfing. We had pool sessions where we learned skills. We did video analysis of our surfing. We spent about four hours down on the surf. Every high tide we'd go down and work on our surfing and the whole setup was amazing. And everybody there, the staff, the the coaches, there were so many surf coaches and and the chefs and like everybody was just there to like provide this experience for us. And it was amazing. Did I already say it was in Costa Rica? And so it was beautiful. The water temperature was perfect. Like you didn't get cold when you're out there surfing. The waves were amazing to be able to learn on. It was just beautiful and we had lots of time in the water. My coach, I'm going to tell you a little bit more about him as we go along, but he's a national champion for surfing from Costa Rica, and he's been all over the world surfing since he was like 12 years old and he was just freaking awesome. And like, it was just such a great experience all the way around.

And also in many ways, it was so much. It's harder than I thought it would be physically, like. It was a lot of work and I had no idea. Maybe that's, you know, pretty naive of me. But like at the beginning of the year when I was like, I really want to learn to surf, I didn't think, like, okay, this is going to be a physical challenge, right? Like, I just thought it would be like a skills challenge. But it was a lot of work and and I worked hard out there in the ocean. And anyway, I'd loved it. I would go back in a heartbeat. It was amazing. But I thought today I could just share some of the things that I learned and realized and remembered that I just have thought about again and again in the weeks after my trip, and I hope that they will help you in your experience of being a human with whatever you're trying to learn or master or practice in your life, right? Like, in a way, we're all here at Earth School, like we're away at camp. And I went away to surf camp. And maybe the things that I learned there will be useful reminders to you in your earth school.

So the first thing that I wanted to say was like, just going back to the decision to go to surf school, and my husband gave me full rein to just choose whatever I wanted. But my brain still had all kinds of objections to choosing surf school. My brain kept telling me like, this is not practical, like you don't live by the ocean. And so your opportunities to practice surfing after this week are really going to be limited. You don't own a surfboard, right? You don't live in Southern California. This is just silly. Like, why spend a week learning something that you're not going to be able to practice regularly? And it also told me that it was too late and then I was too old. And then I'm a late starter. And that this is kind of ridiculous to be a 50 year old woman like, you know, learning to surf and trying to be cool. And my brain told me like, maybe this is a dumb goal. It doesn't even matter, right? Like, are you really going to learn enough in a week to make it worth it? And you know, surfing is like any other skill.

It's like playing the piano or learning a language. And and like if you only spend one week doing it, that is not going to make you a surfer. Right? And so my brain really was telling me that this might be a waste, this might be a mistake. And it really questioned if this is what I should spend my time and my money and like this big, monumental 50th birthday on. And I just share that, to point out that there are so many barriers and excuses and rules and thoughts that keep us from the fun and the joyful and the the desires of our heart, and they're all constructed inside our own heads. I think at some point this should not become astounding to me, but it really just amazes me that the biggest barriers in my life are in my own head. There aren't actually any physical barriers outside of me keeping me from the things I want. It's all just the story and the chatter in my head. I just want to shine a light on what might be barriers in your own mind. Are there things you want and what are the barriers constructed by your own brain talking you out of it, telling you to settle, telling you it's ridiculous.

Telling you that it's not practical or reasonable, that it might be a waste, or that you might be stupid or bad or wrong or silly for wanting that thing. All right. So that's the first thing I really want to emphasize, is that what's really keeping us from doing all the things we want to do are just the constructs and the barriers inside our own head. Like I almost talked myself out of it. I almost talked out myself out of this really fun, amazing experience for no good reason. And that's important to notice. Like, I would have missed something awesome for no good reason. Okay. The other thing that kind of goes along with that is just that I just keep thinking about how many possibilities there are in this world, like how many experiences you can really have, how many things you get to choose, and how we sort of like limit ourselves. Right? The earth life experience is so abundant. There are so many possibilities available.

And I think sometimes we just stop. Noticing that. And we just do the things we've always done. But I remember just like sitting on that surfboard out in Dominica and looking at the beach and looking at the trees and the sand and the sun and the and the sky and the and the water below me, and just being like, oh my gosh, all of this is here, all of this is available. It's just always here. And I and I could experience it anytime I want. And it just filled me with this desire to use my life in having these experiences, to use my body to use the world like it's all been created to be used. And we are here. We can make the most of it. The next thing that was really awesome about Surf Camp was like the people that were there, the other 12 people that were at the resort with us. And I really want you to think about who do you think goes to surf camp? Who do you think like, like signs up for something like this. And I just want you to know that you might be surprised. There were people from all walks of life, all ages. There were people older than us.

There were people younger than us. There was a family. Like, again, challenging the barriers. And I had I think we have ideas about who's allowed to do this, who does this, who chooses this. There were all kinds of people with all kinds of talents and all kinds of life experiences, and knowing that they all got to choose it if they wanted it. And it was so nice to be together, like working towards this goal of learning how to surf. And I think all of us were a little bit insecure, all for different reasons, right? Like we all wanted this thing and we were all scared and we all nervous and but it was so nice to be in it together. And, you know, every day when we did our video analysis, like we clapped and we cheered for each other and we laugh together and like when you're on the beach, when you come in and you'd see somebody catch a wave, like you would just feel so much joy and, and camaraderie and, and root for each other. And it was just a really beautiful experience to all be working towards the same thing and to know that it was a vulnerable experience. And the other thing that I thought was really interesting is that lots of people who were there, were there supporting the desires of their loved one, right? Like David was there supporting my desire. He did not really want to be at surf camp. And in fact, halfway through the week he asked the coach, like, could I just use a boogie board? Right? Like he was just like, this is not my favorite activity. But he was not alone. There were people who were there just because their friend wanted to come, and they were there to support them. There were people there because their son wanted to learn to surf, and so they were there to support them. And it just made me think about this idea of like, we should ask, we should make the request, we should give voice to the desires in our heart and find people who will support us and find people who will celebrate with us and go on adventures with us.

Now I want to talk a little bit about the lessons that I learned from my coach. So I had a really awesome coach. Like I said, his name was Ronnie Obando. Shout out to Ronnie, who was so patient and so good to me. But he was so awesome and he taught me so many things. And as we work together out there on the ocean, like he just gave me so many nuggets that I loved and that I'm still thinking about. And so I thought it might be fun to share some of those with you. So, the first one is he would always tell me there's plenty of time, there's plenty of time. And what would happen is we'd we'd be out there, the wave would be coming. He'd be like, all right, April, this one. Right? He'd be like, get ready, you know? And just before I'd start paddling, he would tell me, there's plenty of time. Take your time. It was so helpful to me. Like, if you ever forgot to say it, I would inevitably rush things. I would, you know, as you're going and you feel that kind of like lift on the board and you start to hear the ocean gathering in power and speed behind you, you start to hear that wave.

Your brain starts to feel like, hurry, hurry, hurry, get on the board. Get set up like you feel this sort of like urgency to rush just because, like, you know, your brain kicks in. It's like it's coming, it's coming. Get ready, right? And whenever I could, like, settle into this thought that there's plenty of time that I can take my time, then I would, you know, go through the steps that I needed to take. And on my knees, set my back legs, set my front leg, get low. I would do everything step by step and not miss anything. And so I just thought it was so interesting how he simply needed to say those words like there's plenty of time. And that was enough to calm me down and to get out of my head and into my body and just concentrating on like, what I needed to do next. Another thing that he really helped me do is just to embrace where I am, at what my skill level is. So, you know, we spent the first three days working kind of on Whitewater and learning how to surf those waves.

And then the last two days we moved to green waves and we went to a different beach. We went to Dominica, which is beautiful little beach, and we worked on these green waves and. Like when we were working on the Whitewater, I really kind of like started to figure out which waves were mine and which were the right size for me. And like, I could kind of see it coming and know, okay, it's time to get ready. It's time to paddle. This is the wave. But when we were working on the Green Waves, when we moved to Dominica Alito, it was much different. Like being able to predict the waves and see the waves.

And I was telling him, I'm like Ronnie, like, I don't think I'm gonna be able to do this without you. Like, I can't tell where I'm supposed to go. And I really needed him to cue me and see, like, okay, here it is. You see that? That's where we're that's the way we want. And he was just like, that's just how it is, you know? Like I was really like, oh, no, like I'm not going to be able to do this without you. And he's like, of course not. Right. Like that was not a problem to him. And he's like, he he told me. He said that's how it was when I was learning. He's like my family helped me and until I learned and he's like, and I'm here to help you until you learn.

And there was a part of me that was like, okay, I've got to like, master this skill and all of it right now, right? Right. This week. Right. And I got to learn all the things and be able to do it all by myself. And he was just like, no, you don't. He's like, someone helped me and I will help you. And he was really just so warmly inviting me to embrace where I was and recognizing that, like, this is good, this is where you should be. You should know more than you know, and where you are right now is good.

I love that so much, because sometimes I think our thought that we should be farther ahead or our embarrassment that that we're not good at it, or embarrassment that our skills are so limited and that we aren't good at this thing that can get in the way of our progress, it can take away from our joy. And instead I just recognize, like, oh, like I'm just four year old Ronnie Obando. I'm just like, I'm out here on the ocean with my uncle, and he's just showing me the steps and and like, as long as I need help, it's okay.

Wherever I'm at, whatever skill level I'm at and whatever help I need is okay. And that's true of whatever skill we are developing, right? So many times I think we tell ourselves that we should already know how in whatever it is in our life, and that's not true. Like, he was just so reassuring that I was exactly where I should be and that it wasn't a problem. Another thing that he was so good at, which I really am trying to apply to my life, is the way that he set up expectations.

Like he was so good at setting up expectations in a way that served me and provided a lot of room to celebrate and be proud. And so he would tell me at the beginning of the day, we'd be on the beach, you know, waxing our boards and kind of like getting set and stretching out. And he would set the expectations for me. And he's like, all right, April, let's just get 1 or 2. Let's just get 1 or 2 good runs, and then all the rest is extra. And setting that expectation just made it so celebratory, because then I would get one and he would be like, oh my gosh, this is amazing, right? And he's like, all the rest is extra, all the rest is extra.

And then what happened? Is it just like sort of started to like snowball because I didn't get one and all the rest was extra. And then it just felt like joy. It felt like celebration. And they would just start adding up. He would just always be pointing out that I was getting more than I expected, and this was such a enjoyable way to learn this skill. It made it feel like there was lots to be proud of and lots to celebrate, and that I was just getting like extra time on the ocean learning this skill. And you know, we'd take a break halfway through.

We'd either, you know, have a snack or we'd have lunch or whatever, and we'd take a break halfway through and he's like, oh my gosh, like, you've already had such an amazing morning, like this whole afternoon. Like the second half of it, like it's all just extra. And obviously it's just a shift from that mindset of scarcity. Like not enough good runs to this mindset of abundance that like, just one is amazing and everything else is extra.

And that was an amazing feeling and something that I'm trying to, like, carry in to other areas of my life. Right? Like as I'm as I'm living my regular life so many times my brain is like, not enough, not enough, not enough. Like I still haven't done enough or, you know, I didn't accomplish enough or whatever. I didn't make enough progress. And I think really changing the way I set up the expectations of every day or the things I'm trying to accomplish in my life, like really seeing as like the minimum is amazing and everything else is extra. The next thing that I feel like I learned from him was just the power of like, going with the flow, with allowing what is you know, the ocean was always changing and I was always changing.

My energy levels were always changing. My skill levels were always changing. The timing of the waves was always changing. The currents, the high tide, the low tide, like it was always going to be different. And allowing for those changes and those differences is so important. Like, I remember one time he was saying we had one day off on Wednesday, we'd take a day off, the coaches take a day off, and we go and do an excursion, and we don't surf that day. And you let your body rest and and the coaches get a day off. And when we came back, I was talking to him about like, like, what'd you do yesterday? And he's like, oh, I went surfing.

And I was like, how was it? And he was like, well, you know, the morning was really was was not great. You know, the waves were not great. I didn't catch anything great. But the afternoon was amazing. And he just kind of said, like, that's how it goes, right? That's how it goes. Like some days they're just it just doesn't it's not good and it's okay. There are good days and there are bad days and there are good mornings and there are bad mornings and and you just keep going. And it was just really interesting to me to to watch him like he has so much experience and he just doesn't take any one session so seriously.

He doesn't take any one session as like a statement of where he is or, or or his skill level or like any one session is not catastrophic, right? Like he one time I remember on Friday I was. Kind of struggling and and like I had been surfing all week, but I was just really struggling to keep my balance and and ride the waves. And you know, he could tell I was getting frustrated and he was just like, you're tired. Some days are like that. You've been surfing for you've been surfing for a week.

He's like, we get tired. And he's like, it's not a big deal, right? And it was just recognizing that, like, everything's always changing and if you're having a bad session, you're having a bad set. Like it will change. The waves will change, the currents will change, the tide will change. This is not the definitive statement of whether or not you can surf. This is just one session. And sometimes it's like that. And I just loved his perspective. He's just shrugs. He's just like sometimes it's like that. We just keep going. And so I think I think there's just so much wisdom and in not taking any one session or experience so seriously, or using it to draw conclusions about your ability to be successful or your skill level.

Okay, the next lesson I know I kind of talked about this one when I went surfing in Hawaii, but it's just I gotta say it again, where your head goes, you go, right? So it was just amazing to me that whenever I would look down at my board, whenever I would get scared, I'd hear the ocean. I'd look down at my board and I'd see, like the the tip going under, or I'd see like, oh, my foot's not in the middle, or I'd see whatever. Like inevitably I would wipe out, I would end up in the ocean. But if I could get on my board and point my head forward, just put my eyes on the beach, get in an attack position.

That's what he was always saying to me April attack position, attack position. And if I could, like, point my arms forward and put my head forward, then my hips would swivel forward and I would go forward, and my feet didn't actually have to be in the right place, and I would recover my balance. And even if the board was going under, if my head was pointing forward, I would recover my balance. The board would come up on top. I would right be able to ride that wave. It's just fascinating to me that like watching. The board, or watching the water or watching my feet inevitably led to a wipeout.

Okay, so you have to be looking at where you want to go. You have to be looking at where you want to go and not at what you're scared of. And it amazed me that you you don't have to do it perfectly. Your feet don't have to be in the perfect position. You don't have to have the perfect balance. As long as your head is pointed to where you want to go, you can recover and and you can surf that wave. It's such an important metaphor for all of our lives.

The last lesson that I think is really, really important is just the power in play and especially play over performance. So I felt like I had a really good week and I was really successful. I had a lot of good runs, a lot of good. Like I learned so much. I was able to, you know, get up and surf these green waves and which was way more than my expectations. But my expectations started to catch up to me. Right? Like by the end of the week, I was like, oh, now I expect myself to be able to catch everyone.

And it was really interesting because the last day for me was the most challenging. Even after all the all the practice I'd had and all the experience I'd had and all the reps that I've had, like I struggled the most on the last day, and I realized it was because I stopped playing and I started trying to perform for myself, for my coach, for David, for whoever's on the beach, like whatever pretend audience I have in my mind out there. Like all of a sudden I was like, expecting myself to be able to do this thing well.

And I moved out of play and out of joy and out of experimenting and out of play. And I moved over into performance. And now I had all these expectations, and I had these thoughts like, this is my last time on the beach. I gotta make the most of it. This is my last time on this wave. I gotta make the most of it. And we had a snack and it was like the final hour and I was like, I don't know, the next time I'm going to be able to surf, I have to do this. Well, I have to prove to myself that I'm good at this. And it was so interesting to notice that as soon as my expectations changed, the joy went out of it and it became so much harder.

Like I was just in my head. I was trying to do it right instead of playing. And one thing that Ronnie told me all the time, he kept saying to me all the time, play with your balance, play with your balance, play with your balance. And at first I thought he was telling me that I needed to get balanced like he was. I thought it was sort of like he was telling me, like, you need to work on your balance. But he was actually saying play. It took me a while to figure this out that he wasn't telling me, hey, this is something you need to fix.

He was telling me this is something you need to play with. The more playful I got with it, the more I was like, oh, I don't have to, like, bail. When I'm out of balance, I can play. I can see what it would be like to shift my feet. Like sometimes when I get out of balance, I would, I would just bail. Like, I would just be like, oh, it's too late and I would like be off the board. But when I really tried to play, when I felt myself out of balance and I was like, oh, I could play with this and I could have fun with this, then I was able to shift and stay on the board. I was able to like, relax and move with it.

So all that to say, like play is so important and I think so many times in our lives, we take ourselves too seriously and we're trying to perform right. We're trying to perform at work, we're trying to perform in our in our marriage. We're trying to perform as a parent. We're trying to perform in our spirituality. And by perform, I mean like we're trying to prove that we are okay. We're trying to prove that we're good. We're trying to prove that we're worthy. We're trying to prove that we're valuable. Right? We're trying to like, do it right and be good.

And there can be so much pressure when we do that. And I just thought it was such a valuable lesson to recognize, like, I actually do my best when I'm playing, when I'm playful with myself, when I let myself try some things, when I let myself experiment, when I don't have to do it right. And so I think that that's an important lesson for all of us here while we're here in our school. Like play over performance. Okay. The last lesson that I got from Ronnie, I got on the very last days.

We were heading down to the ocean. We were standing there and, you know, he said, how are you doing? And I said, oh, I'm sad, you know, like, this is the last day. I'm so sad. And he's like, don't be sad. He's like, I've been all over the world. And everywhere I went, I just told myself, this was amazing and I'll be back. And I loved that thought, right? That we have so many chances that we can choose it again. Like my brain is like, so like all or nothing, this is over, right? Like you're never going to do this again.

You never coming back. It's never going to be the same. And like, I just loved what he said and the wisdom in it. He's like, I always just told myself this was amazing and I'll be back. He's like, then I never had to be sad. I just knew that that thing was always there waiting for me. And he's like, so just tell yourself you'll be back. And that just changed my experience. I just thought, yeah, like, I'll be back again. When we think about our lives as these scarce experiences, we just, like grip so tightly, it feels so desperate as opposed to like, I'll be back.

Like there's more. I can choose this again. There's so much available, so much I can't predict that still ahead of me. And as amazing as this week was, there will be other weeks ahead of me that are just as joyful and and just as abundant. Like there were moments on on that day when we were doing green waves in Dominica, and we're sitting out there on the surfboards, you know, in the lineup. And the water was just like calm, like it felt like we're never going to have another green wave again.

We're just sitting out here and we're just waiting, right. And like minutes would go by and just like sitting there on your surfboard waiting for that green wave. And it just hit me as I was sitting out there and my brain's like, we're never going to get a wave again. We're never going to get away again. Like it just hit me that like, no, like it never stops. There's always another wave. And yeah, the tides are going to change and the currents are going to change. But there's always another wave. And it's just, again, this idea of abundance that we live in a world.

We have opportunities. We have choices that are always coming towards us. There's no end to that abundance. The next wave is coming. It's never over. And when your brain is like, I'm never going to be happy again, or I'm never going to find joy again, I'm never gonna, you know, have this experience again is just it's just not true. There's always something coming. Like, our brain really wants to tell us that our opportunities are limited, our joy is limited, our capacity is limited.

And this week just reminded me of actually how abundant our lives are and just how many experiences there are out there for us. If we just remember that we get to choose them. If we just remember that we are the chooser. Okay, my friends, that's what I have for you today. I think you should all go to surf school.

Or maybe not. Right? Might not be for everybody, but I just think you should start to, like, expand the boundaries of what's possible. I definitely think that while you're here at our school, that that you should be a little bit more adventurous and a little more playful. I think we could all be more of that. There's so much to experience while you're here, and any experience you want is abundantly available for you to choose. And that, my friends, is 100% awesome. I love you for listening and I'll see you next week.

Thanks so much for joining me on the podcast today. If you're serious about changing your life, you first have to change your mind. And the best way to do that is through coaching. I work with my clients one on one to help them change their thoughts and their feelings about themselves, their lives, and their challenges so that they can live a life they love. If you'd like to work with me one on one, you can learn more and schedule a free call to try coaching for yourself at


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