Soul Surf: Shannon’s Story

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Shannon joined us early this summer, after finishing her first year of university and before starting work at a surf camp in North Carolina which she has attended either as a counsellor or a student for the past several years. While her passion for the ocean and surfing were already firmly established, she was still thrilled to spend time here in Bahia Ballena with us, perfecting her surf skills and enjoying the warm water and laid back Pura Vida lifestyle that Costa Rica is famous for.

Post-surf papayaPartway through her time here, Shannon told me that she had been reflecting a lot which had inspired to write, and that she had a piece that discussed her passion for surfing and parallels she saw between surfing, waves, and life. I was interested to read it for many reasons, primarily because she is in such a formative period of life where the feeling of passion and being alive is at an all-time high, anything seems possible, and your life’s path is unveiling itself.

This post marks the first of what we hope to be a long and varied series called “The Bodhi Diaries”, where we invite our guests to write about their reflections of time spent and experiences enjoyed here with us, in this little coastal Costa Rican community.

Soul Surf

There are challenges in life. There are up and downs, and things that are so hard to push through that at times can feel never-ending. But what many individuals forget is that, in this life, the only real eternal existence is passion. Passion is something so deep and powerful that lives within all of us, but only if we search for it. Passion is the fire that brings people to life. It is a fire that, without fail, always gives reason to continue pursuing. Many of us spend our lives ignoring opportunities to meet new people, go to new places, do something different — based solely on fear. But what is it that we really fear? It is the idea of failing? What many don’t realize is that the beauty of life comes from taking risks. Life is about taking chances to find one’s passion, to discover something that brings purpose and peace within. And with that comes a sense of contentment in life.

Surfing is My Passion

Surfing in Playa ChamanSurfing brings me a sense of peace no matter where I am. Ever since I was little, the ocean has been my escape. The simple bliss of being on my board in the water brings me a solace that cannot be put into words. My passion for surfing has saved me, has brought me a gratitude for things that nothing else could have. It has led me to see the truth in having something that truly makes you feel you are alive.

Through the ocean and surfing, I have learned many great lessons which I will forever remember and keep within my soul. Life is driven by two strong feelings: fear and love. Love brings passion, while fear leads to resistance. With our own dedication we can feel anything, and we can fight anything. Those challenges that once seemed boundless can be faced. And suddenly that fear disappears, forever making the challenge worthwhile.

Surfing: A Metaphor for Life

Bahia-Uvita SurfIn surfing, every wave is a new challenge, just as each stage in life has challenges. Every wave is an individual lesson meant to be learned. Every stage in life is an adventure meant to be explored. Each wave ridden and each adventure taken are opportunities to learn and grow stronger. And as a result, the action itself is the greatest reward as it gives us the opportunity to triumph and truly feel free. To enjoy each moment, to be in the present and to embrace the power of one point in time, the beauty of complete pure existence in one unique moment. Such a natural state of mind is similar to the action of riding a wave. When you catch a wave, you are one with the surf. In that moment of triumph, nothing else matters, you are one with yourself and you are free.

My Time in Bahia Ballena, Costa Rica

Wildlife sighting while surfingWhy am I taking the time to write this? Because in the little town of Bahia Ballena-Uvita, Costa Rica I have had the privileged to experience the ocean’s true, strong, and powerful lessons. With the help of a beautiful and pure group of people, I have felt the beauty of a simple but peaceful life, a Pura Vida that means being in unity with all things. Through their generosity to the ocean and to me, I see each person’s unique soul joining together toward one common purpose: their love for each other and the ocean. It is amazing what such welcoming and kind-hearted people can remind me of — the purpose of my soul and my passion for surfing. My love for the surf forever brings and leads me to an effortless unity, a unity that flows between my mind, body, and soul. It is a unity that brings me inner peace and connects me with the ocean.

Transformative Power of the Ocean

Nothing like the feeling of riding a waveNot that many years have passed since I was a little girl who, for the first time, stood at the edge of the shore gazing with awe at the ocean and its beauty. I feel in my heart that the awe has never changed: it is as if every time the ocean and I meet, I am once again transformed into that awe-struck soul. After my time here, I realize that my passion for surfing has paralleled my passion for life, and both have grown and thrived. Surfing continues to teach me to appreciate life, and to enjoy every second of it.

It is not my intention to convince others to share my love for surfing but rather to express what my passion has given me — the hope that devotion can keep the good alive forever. Surfing has given me something that nothing else has in my life. It is a gift to me, a gift that has been there, patiently waiting for and guiding me through each and every stage of my life. It is my greatest friend and teacher. It is my Pura Vida.

Thank you for your time Bodhi Surf!


We want to thank Shannon for joining us here at Bodhi Surf School, we’re so stoked to have connected with such a wonderful soul.

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About the author


Adrianne is the fun-and-food-loving socialite of Bodhi Surf + Yoga. If she's not whipping up a feast for Bodhi Surf + Yoga guests, she's probably busy writing for the Bodhi blog or keeping people up-to-date on the goings on via social media!

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