DSC_3147Safari Surf’s new Sustainable Surfer Package is already beginning to make a difference, thanks to generous Safari Surf guests like the amazing Sheila Canning! Sheila was one of the first Safari Surf guests to take advantage of our new Sustainable Surfer package, and she made a huge impact on the local community during her stay through our voluntourism opportunities and our Partnership with Pack for a Purpose. Not only did Sheila cross of a couple items from her bucket list and conquer her fear of water, she graciously took it upon herself to bring down nearly 40 backpacks full of school supplies and stuffed animals for local schoolchildren. AWESOME! We were blown away by her generosity and spirit of adventure! Sheila, you’re the best! If you’re interested in helping the community or donating, please consider our Sustainable Surfer Package, and check out the list of items that could benefit the local community on our Pack for a Purpose page. Here are a couple images from Sheila with the local schoolchildren. Read on for Sheila’s account of how she conquered her fears!
Here’s Sheila’s description of crossing items off her bucket list during her trip with Safari Surf and conquering her fears. Inspiring!

Bucket List: Travel alone, surf and zip line. Succeeding in all three – Triumphant!

My name is Sheila Canning and I am from Canada. I decided to take a trip to Nosara, Costa Rica because a friend of mine suggested it. She raved about the people, the surfing, zip lining and the beauty. I was a little apprehensive at first, for a couple of reasons. Surfing was definitely not on the top of my bucket list of things I wanted to do in my life journey. For me, almost drowning at the age of 15 gave me a fear of water, I don’t know how to swim and I have a right hip with no cartilage and a short range of motion. Zip Lining; the height aspect has certainly prevented me from partaking in that activity in Canada, so why would I do it anywhere else in the world?
My first day heading to the beach with the surf instructor, I had to tell him my story and hope that this was still possible to achieve. No worries he said, we will get you surfing. Determined was an understatement in thinking about learning to surf.
My first day, I did not even make a full standing position, my fear took over and I felt like I drank the ocean. As everyone knows if you panic when you fall into the water, your mouth is wide open. Talk about exhausting. The instructor was really good, but I don’t think he understood fully how much fear I carried with me. As we walked back to the Casa Tucan, he tells me I will stand and surf tomorrow, I agree, however in the back of my mind, I am thinking,” are you crazy?” I am not going back out there; I am exhausted from trying and choking on the salty ocean. It took me about an hour to get cleaned up and clear my thoughts. I did not surf the next day…my hip took a beating also with all the falling.
sheila-canning Day number three, I get ready to go surfing again. The voice in my head was telling me I was a sucker for punishment, and the stubborn me was saying, you can do this Sheila and you will do this. It helped that the instructor had blind faith in me. Deep breath, and remember hold your breath if you are about to go under. The first three or four times, I did not stand to catch the wave, but I did remain in the squat position, without falling off and rode the wave. I was encouraged to stand by the instructor and given step by step instructions on the fluent motion that will take place as the wave approaches the back end of my surf board. Here we go…get ready, the wave is coming, move your back foot into position, look straight ahead, lift your torso, push up with your back foot, swing around and pivot on your heal, keep the squat position, reach one hand forward and the other in front of you and keep your eyes forward. WOW! I did it, I really did it, I stood up, at that moment I thought I did it and now I’m done. Well now I have been given the boost of confidence I need. Let’s go again. I am so excited! A few more waves, well that turned into 9 more waves. Once you get your rhythm and the steps together fluently, the ride is so much fun!
On my last day in Nosara, I had signed up for zip lining. Once I arrived at the meeting place, I met a couple of people who also had fears of heights. As I fought my fear, I decided to encourage these two frightened people to be brave and everything would be ok. Helping others is always reciprocated; it helped me forget I was so scared. Don’t look down though, the fear does come back. I did make it through 13 zips, the next was always more fun than the last. Courage increases as you make the journey.