Whoaaaaaa so many girls… and they're hot, they're all hot!!! I have a good feeling about this place…
It was pitch black when I arrived to la Ventana. The morning was exciting. I had no idea what to expect. It was breezy outside, and the air was salty. I walked on the beach to explore La Ventana, on a mission to find good vibes.
A spot with good vibes means three things: good people, beautiful surroundings, and a fun activity to do. When the three come together, they create a fantastic feeling of belonging. The place feels homey and hard to leave. Good vibes.
The town was slow to wake up. I lingered in a coffee shop and asked the waiter if he knew a place where I could store my kitesurfing gear; hopefully with a shower. He pointed to a large building painted in yellow, a kitesurfing school. "Ask for Diego, he will help you" he said.
There was a vintage hippie van parked next to the building, a tall totem on the roof, and cheesy signs showing the way in. The interior decoration was even more eccentric. Nothing fit but somehow, it all seemed connected in chaos. The building looked like a giant lost-and-found office. That was the famous kitesurfing school of la Ventala: Playa Central.
Inside, two guys were talking. One was wearing a bright yellow t-shirt. He had long hair, a scruffy beard, and the unique skin color of someone who spent too much time in the sun. He looked cool. I approached them and asked for Diego. He lifted up a finger in my direction and returned to his conversation. When he was done, he faced me with a smile and said in a soft, slow voice, "hello… I'm Diego."
We chatted for a bit and I immediately felt reassured. He had an incredibly chill aura; the kind of zen vibe that soothes people. Time seemed to stop around him. I imagined him cruising through life at his own pace, sailing, and smiling back at the sun.
Diego suggested I talked to the manager about the storage, and the shower. He led me to a group of people chilling on the beach front of the building. I crossed my fingers, just one single pretty girl please. The manager was a cute brunette sitting on a large pouffe, surrounded by other girls. Diego introduced me as his friend, and all the girls welcomed me with cheerful smiles.
Aaaaaaaand I froze. You know that moment of awkwardness when the blood leaves your brain to attend other parts? That moment when your two options are an uncomfortable silence or verbal diarrhea. I needed to stay there, it was fate, destiny, the universe's wish. In a flash of clarity I thought, Use your brain! Be objective. Assess the pros and cons. … yeah right.
The manager told me I could store my gear and shower for free, as long as I consumed at the bar from time to time. That was it! Isn't that the best cross selling ever? No commitments, no pressure, only good vibes…and pretty girls.
By the time I brought my equipment, the wind had picked up and kitesurfers were getting ready. I took my gear and went to the water, as excited as a dog going for a walk. Kitesurfing brings the feeling of freedom to new heights. When you're out in the water, you are alone with the elements. The sun, the water, the air, and you. You can ride in any direction, glide on the water or fly in the air. The options are limitless. Freedom.
The sensation is incredible. I love it so much that I often forget about safety, and sometimes end up in trouble. That day, I was too far away at sea to notice that the wind had dropped. By the time I realized, it was too late to return to the launch area. I landed my kite 1km down the beach and started the walk of shame. Diego saw me coming from the distance, happy in my hassle. He kindly nodded, a silent sign of approval.
Back at Playa Central, I saw a foil rider doing freestyle tricks on a strapless board. Freestyle is physically demanding. Riding the board strapless is challenging. And manoeuvring a foil board is delicate and difficult. This guy was doing all three with ease; a world-class performance. I was watching in awe when I noticed a guy next to me amazed just like I was. He was about 5"11, with a childish face and a genuine smile displaying perfect teeth. His name was Aurel.
I invited him to watch the rider from the rooftop with a beer. Aurel was enthusiastic. He asked smart questions and listened, in all modesty, with his full attention. Aurel spoke with the tone of someone who had nothing to prove. I suspected he was successful. Successful people are often the most humble.
Aurel had started a crowdfunding platform for small businesses in France. He wanted to help entrepreneurs get access to funding in alternative ways. "Fuck the bank!", he said. Six years later, he was managing a team of 10 people in Paris, while living in Los Angeles with his wife and dog. Meanwhile, he took mini vacations to kitesurf around the world.
We shared our admiration for the insane good rider. Ensued shenanigans, sex stories, and our most humiliating walks of shame. I found that vulnerability is the foundation to building trust. If the conversation flows both ways without judging, you know you are on solid ground.
We chilled on the rooftop, watched the sunset and hung out at the bar to spot the single girls. There was one with a contagious laugh that piqued my interest. She told me about a hippie camp nearby where I could stay with la Chichona.
I left Playa Central that night, tipsy and joyful, and headed for the hippie camp. In the dark, I hit a sand bank without noticing. I kept on pressing the pedal, spinned the wheel and dug myself deeper…newbie mistake. I walked out and saw la Chichona buried half a meter in the ground. The alcohol was talking.
"Only good vibes here. We'll deal with that tomorrow."