Video + Story: Life in the Sunny Coast, Australia

Perhaps some of you have wondered why Dkoko, a Costa Rican brand, has so many photos and stories from the beaches of Australia?

For those who might not be familiar with who we are behind the brand, let me start by introducing Veronica and myself, Michelle, the owners of Dkoko. Veronica lives in Santa Teresa, a tropical paradise on the Central Pacific of Costa Rica; and I left our beloved country three-and-a-half years ago, to come live in the Sunshine Coast, a city on the eastern shores of Australia.

Here in Australia, life is good and mellow. It’s no coincidence that they call this spot on the globe “the lucky country”; the majority of people here live close to the beach, and I have the fortune of living just a few blocks from the sea.

Australia is famous for its unique animals. But it also has incredible plants that have adapted to the particular climate of this giant island located between the Pacific and Indian Oceans. When it rains, the eucalyptus fills the air with its fresh aroma, and its flowers paint the landscape with the most beautiful gum nut flowers. The beaches have the clearest water, white sand, and stones pressed into the banksias trees, where the multicolored birds sing sweetly. 

Surfing at the Sunny Coast with Tia & Rommie

The Sunshine Coast has all kinds of waves: beach breaks, rocky pointbreaks, and fast barreling waves that work best when the big swells arrive. But as many surfers have come to know, Australia is particularly famous for its perfect longboarding waves.

I had never even touched a longboard in my life until I came to live here. I remember the first time I went to visit my Australian boyfriend, and he surprised me with the gift of an 8-foot longboard. At the time, I didn’t understand why he was giving me this board that I couldn’t even move from the rack, let alone try to surf. In fact, it took me a few years to warm up to the idea and finally come to understand the happiness a longboard provides by letting us surf and have fun even when the swell is small.  

Here in Australia, the winds change significantly with each season of the year, which means the beach with the best waves changes depending on how the wind is that day. The beach closest to my house is a very consistent beach break, yet it needs soft winds from the west for the waves to be good. That means when the wind blows from the south, you have to go in search of places that are more protected from the wind; and luckily, that’s when all of the best spots begin to work.

A five-minute drive from where I live, there’s a famous spot for longboard sliding, known as “The Bluff”. It’s one of my favorite waves because it’s soft, long and perfect. When there’s some bigger swell in the water, it’s an incredible wave for shortboarders, and it’s the spot where I have caught some of the best waves, on those perfect days that stay in your memory forever.

Since the first few times I surfed at the Bluff some four years ago, I remember having seen Tia Coulter sliding agilely like a ballerina on the water. At the time, she must have been only 12 years old. Tia is part of a family of surfers whose favorite spot is the Bluff, which is why it’s common to see Tia surfing alongside her grandmother, grandfather, mother and brother, who are all ocean-lovers and excellent surfers.

At this stage of my life, I don’t surf as frequently anymore, or for as long as I would a few years ago. But when I can get there, surfing still fills me with the same energy and happiness it has always given me. That’s why I try to find time for my surfing passion between my career and motherhood responsibilities.

One of the things that has helped me keep surfing as a new mom is the group, Surfing Mums Australia. Surfing Mums are organized groups of surfing mothers who meet up each week at different beaches, sharing and supporting one another so that we can keep doing what we love.

I have been a part of Surfing Mums since my son was 6 months old (more than two years ago now), and I believe these groups are an incredible idea that should be replicated in other countries, like Costa Rica.

As part of Surfing Mums, my son and I have both made great friends. Rommie Beck is the organizer of our local group and is one of my favorite people here in Australia.

Us after a surf at the Bluff and Rommie going for a wave at the Bluff

Rommie is one of those special souls who is always happy and ready to paddle out no matter what the conditions are like. It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, windy, big or small out there; Rommie is always on the beach with a smile.

Last week, I went to surf with Tia and Rommie at a few of our neighborhood spots. First, we went to the Bluff. It had just rained heavily the day before, so unlike the deep blues we’re used to, the water had turned the color of chocolate milk; but the waves were just as fun as always. Later, we went to the end of the beach in our neighborhood, home to a lovely park with rocks, casuarina trees and a lighthouse. There, we surfed a spot they call Carties, which was small that day but had crystal clear water and just a few people out.

Carties gets really good with more swell, but that day we didn’t have much luck. Still, we surfed for hours between both spots without even realizing it, because, as they say, time flies when you’re having fun!

My talented friend Lucia Santiago filmed this video of our time together, where you can see what it’s like to live a day in the surf life here in the Sunshine Coast of Australia. When I watch the film now, I smile and think to myself: it’s absolutely true; we live in a beautiful place.

Surfing in Australia with the girls with our Dkoko surf bikinis

Story written in spanish by Michelle Rodriguez and translated into english by Tara Ruttenberg.

Video by Lucia Santiago.

Lifestyle photos by Tracy Naughton.

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