By Natasha Feduik
After taking different groups to Witch’s Rock Surf Camp over a few years, certain people in my life started to ask, “When’s the next surf trip?” “When can I go?” The last time, it was my family. So, this past January, the Feduik’s took WRSC by storm. My siblings, nieces, nephew, friends, and even my 73-year old mother headed down to Tamarindo. My sister and her husband were celebrating their 50th birthdays by learning to surf. My nieces and nephew were determined to hone their skills, as they had all surfed in the past, but wanted to get better. Friends who had listened to my surf tales for years finally decided to give it a try. So, with everyone at a different skill level, I thought it would be challenging to accommodate it all, but everyone at camp made it easy as pie.
We left New York in a nor’easter that dumped a foot of snow on the runways. Some of the group was stuck in LaGuardia for almost a day. But finally, we arrived in hot, sunny Tamarindo, just in time to decompress from the holidays. I was greeted by old friends that I met over many years and many visits. The staff made my family feel like they had been there time and time again, as well. They did their best to accommodate our wide array of age groups and skill levels, and still managed to keep the family together.
Two of us, my nephew and I, were in the intermediate group, and traveled daily to other surf breaks with Pako and friends. Every day, upon our arrival at camp, our group had expanded. Mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and my friends had befriended people that had met around camp or in their lessons. Mom became the camp cheerleader, and if she didn’t travel with the intermediate group, stayed “home” to cheer on the beginners. Whether she knew them or not. Within a day, every instructor and staff member greeted my mother as “Mama” every time they saw her. Before I knew it, they had all been invited for Christmas, and to visit my parents in Connecticut whenever they could.
One day, after returning from surfing at Avellanas, I saw one of my friends, instructor Andre, walking out towards the shoreline with my mother and a paddle board, followed by my entire family and friends from around camp. “Mama” had mentioned how she was determined to try surfing, to see what all the hoopla was about, and Andre wasn’t going to let her down.
As we all stood on the beach with cameras in hand and baited breaths, Mom stood up on that board and got into position. Granted, it was a flat day and there weren’t any waves to ride it, but she did it. It was such a great moment, and knew she was in good hands with the three instructors helping her. We knew they wouldn’t let anything happen to her, and she enjoyed the challenge that she conquered. When she walked out of the water, hugging Andre with all her might, all she could say was, “You just wait. Next time I’m going to do it for real.” It was at that very moment that I realized I was part of the Witch’s Rock family, and they were part of mine.