“You have to go to Montanita” – everyone I met in Ecuador.
After the Galapagos I flew into the large, dull city of Guayaquil. After some research, I decided that the party village of Montanita sounded like a nightmare, but the quiet village just next to it, Olon, seemed perfect.
It was. I found a lovely hostel with a cheap private room, run by a Spanish woman and staffed by an Italian couple. It was the best service I had in Ecuador. The first night the Italian guy with a huge mullet made a pizza from scratch.
Montanita and Olon are both surf destinations. The difference being that there is almost no-one in the huge beach at Olon. In Montanita the beaches are packed with surfers and swimmers and it becomes a lot more dangerous since it’s so easy to hit someone, or get hit.
I surfed for three hours in Olon, with a longboard which I can ride. A right fin was missing from the bottom of this board (the fins help stabilise the board), so it always veered to the right, but I managed. The waves were perfect. After a couple of good hours surfing, one of the biggest waves came and I decided to ride it. As I was about to stand up, just as the force of the wave was behind me and starting to crash, I lost my confidence. I decided the wave was too big, I didn’t have the skill to ride it, and I didn’t even try to stand up. But it was too late to make that decision. The wave crashed down with all it’s might, ripped the board from the leash around my ankle, and forced me down into the sand below. When I got above water I scanned the sea for the board. It had floated quite far down the ocean and I swam to it with all the strength I had. Once I got hold of it, I got out of the water, spat out any seawater I hadn’t swallowed, threw my body onto the sand and lay in the sun.
The sea-gods whispered to me, “You can ride the wave, or you can wait for another one, but change your decision on the wave and I will rip you apart”.