Wrapping up 2015: Surf is no(t the) answer

As this year ends, it is already clear that this will be one I will remember. I incurred the biggest voluntary changes in my life so far in 2015. Did I take these steps and have they already made me so happy I never have any doubts? Not at all. All I know for sure after having dedicated the past six month almost exclusively to surfing: To surf is not the answer.

Surfing took me a lot of places geographically and has helped me win my fears of the ocean mentally. (Although I am sure that a round of cage diving in South Africa would reverse my progress in an instant.) It made me become friends with a lot of great and inspiring people. It made me rediscover my passion for photography. But still: It is not the answer. At least not to my questions.

BB8_2752Maybe it is because I am a mountain person (I’ll find out more about that soon). But more likely, because I was naive. Or had excessive expectations.

While the perdition-o-meter has gauged pretty high levels during the last few weeks here in Costa Rica (touchy locals in Santa Teresa, a trip to Carribean lost-souls-home Puerto Viejo, some intense episodes in my private life), it has made me find a first, deep-felt desire within me. It is called a home. A home at home, in the Tyrolean mountains. I can visualize it.

So maybe it is true, and all the rocking by the waves of the ocean connects us to our subconsciousness, and subsequently to our true emotions?

Happy New Year to you.

Your Gipsy Banker

PS: Thanks for reading my blog in 2015 🙂


Moving on (a bit)


Santa Teresa sits right next to Malpaís at the tip of the Guanancaste peninsula. Costa Rica surf map by Blue Gecko Surfmaps.

Finally, we – that’s Burkhard, Daniel, Daniel’s dad Peter and me – decided to move on. We left Nosara and Guiones Beach to head out to Santa Teresa, at the southern tip of the peninsula of Guanacaste.
We strapped  my 9.6 longboard and the two shortboards to the roof of Peter’s rental 4WD and took off on the dirt road down south.

A road in very good conditions.

The trip was supposed to last three to four hours.  It ended up taking us about 10 hours on mostly grueling gravel roads with holes the size of a fridge before we finally arrived in Santa Teresa. The first morning session there was a poor one but the evening session was a magic one, glassy water, fun-sized waves and a beautiful sundown.

Moving on (a bit) too.

Also, this was to be our last evening as a group of four, so we partied a bit. Alcohol consumption has been at record lows on this trip since we have developed a ‘surf nerd’ (quote Burkhard) pattern of getting up early (sometimes as early as 4.30 a.m.) surfing in the morning, surfing in the evening and going straight to bed after dinner.

Some more pics

I’ve tried to upload some more pics for days… the internet connection is really not that good here. Enjoy.

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Takeoff on a rival peak in the sunset session @ Guiones.

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Catching a wave in the sunset @Guiones.


Temporarily forbidden wave due to turtle pilgrimage @Ostional.


Riding our golf cart  in our Ralph Lauren board shorts all the way to Marbella.


The golf cart crew @Marbella.


Missing this beauty by a stroke or two @Marbella.


A clearly frustrated wave warrior @Marbella.

Surfing beats blogging. Nosara, Costa Rica

First lesson for the unexperienced surfing blogger: When what you experience is inspiring and worth telling, it’s hard to make time to write. Or take pictures. Whereas, when you have lots of time and are bored (read: on a plane, in the airport lounges of Munich and Houston), you tend to be little inspired and would end up writing boring self-reflexions. (And you would thank me for not publishing those.)

Yesterday was my first full day in Nosara, and ever since the waves were too good and the water too warm not to hang in there for a daily total of almost six hours. I still don’t have a picture of myself surfing yet (a flaw that needs to be cured asap), but I can honestly say that I did catch a fair share of ca. 2m waves pretty quickly despite not having surfed in months. That’s not due to my extraordinary talent but rather due to the benign nature of the waves at today’s (high tide) morning session.

The sunset session, a matter of low tide, was quite different: steep and powerful waves, still easy to catch, but hard to make something out of with my longboard after the takeoff. The problem with steep waves is that beginners like me have trouble going sideways on the steeper faces. You drop and all of a sudden you are at the bottom of the wave with the board still pointing 90 degrees away from the wave. We’ll see how all of this changes in the 2 months time I have planned to stay here…

A less technical comment about the sunset session: It’s just an enchanting affair, sitting in the warm water, trying to read the waves against the sunlight and even when you have to paddle back out against the white water (i.e. the broken waves), your mood gets lifted by the stunning view of the lips of the incoming waves back-lit by the sun.



Morning glory in Playa del Ostional. (Yeah, this wave will close out, you are right. But if it wouldn’t, I’d be in the water instead of taking pictures.)