“I want people to know that there is space for women in the water, and that the ocean needs us!”


Bright, determined, and passionate about everything related to surf, we had the pleasure of interviewing Linda Belli Cristani, one of our Dreamsea Costa Rica volunteers, who was eager to share the ways that surfing has impacted her life as a woman, both in and out of the ocean.

Growing up in the waters of Italy, Linda started swimming when she was just 3 years old but it was not until one year ago at age 22 that Linda tried surfing for the first time and fell completely in love. Like every beginner she faced challenges, but was surprised to find that not all of those challenges were physical. Linda conveyed – “In Italy there is not a big culture for surfing yet. It is mainly men in the water and I was a woman and a beginner so they didn’t treat me equally.” 

But that didn’t stop her from going back. Immediately hooked to the sensation that surfing provided, Linda took a few surf lessons to get started and then eventually pursued it on her own. While simultaneously juggling both working and attending University, it was not an easy task for Linda to take up surfing, but where there’s a will there’s a way. Linda pronounced – “When you love something, you give your heart to it. It is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about before your head hits the pillow at night. You let it consume you, and through that, it becomes a beautiful kind of magic.”

An additional challenge for Linda was the distance she had to travel to get to the ocean. She explained – “I would have to wake up at 5 A.M. and then, drive two hours to get to the waves , just to fit in a surf session before school started. I was always the last one to get out of the water. Everyone was always calling my name -‘LINDA! LINDA!’, and I would get in the car completely wet but always smiling so big.”

Before Linda started surfing she was struggling to get good grades, even though she put in extensive hours studying.- “I was constantly tense, nervous and sick from stress.But once her love for surf began to blossom, even the chaos and weight of her education became a bit lighter – I was still studying as much, but also spending a lot of my time driving to surf spots. I’m not sure how, but after this became routine, I somehow managed to begin getting better grades.”

It is common for a woman in our society to grow up needing to become accomplished in many diverse areas of life. This translates directly to surfing. On the water you are not only using your strength, but your sight and senses too. “People think surfing is just about power but it is so much more. Woman are graceful and watching them surf is like watching a beautiful show. ”

Ultimately, in speaking in detail with Linda, we were able to come up with 10 reasons why woman make good, if not GREAT, surfers:

1. Women are strong (physically and mentally).

 

2. Women are great communicators. 

 

3. Women have mastered the act of multitasking.

 

4.Women are graceful. 

 

5. Women are patient. 

 

6. Women are audacious!

 

7. Women are powerful.

 

8. Women are focused and determined.

 

9.Women have good visionary skills. 

 

10.Women are PASSIONATE! 

As is the case when learning any new sport, but especially surfing, it is common to see beginners go out in the water and get frustrated with the initial progress. We asked Linda if she has ever had moments where she wanted to give up. She emphatically delivered – “Never. To me it is all a part of the experience. Of course I still get frustrated and I have days when I go out to surf and I can’t catch even one good wave. But then when you do and it makes it all worth it. The waves wash away the frustration and you are left buzzing from the wave you just caught. But in those frustrating moments you have to stop and realize you are in the middle of the ocean, doing what you love, so really, what else could you ask for? ” 

Linda’s best surfing moment in her life thus far occurred while staying here at Dreamsea Surf Camp of Costa Rica. She excitedly described – “I got one second barrel and it was amazing! I wasn’t even expecting it. I can’t wait to have another one. I’ll go every day if I have to just to have that experience again. It was incredible! All of the other sounds in the world are blocked out and the wave is the floor, the wall, and the ceiling all at once. There is nothing like it!”

In closing, whether it be on a surfboard or any other walk of life, one thing Linda pronounced that we here at Dreamsea Surf Camp of Costa Rica could not agree more with is this – Women can do whatever they want, and they can do it really really well.” 

This interview was conducted and written by the dynamic and extraordinary, Mikaela Hawkins, who much like the blog’s interviewee, Linda, is a powerful and creative women exploring the World with tenacity and compassion.  You can follow her life endeavors via her Instagram page at: @mikaela.alice

Learn More

Volunteer Today