We are daughters of the tides
Meet Serena Xing, born and raised in China until she 15, then went to Toronto for high school and university. Now she's living in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
What brought you to Costa Rica?
I had been struggling with body image issues and eating disorders since I was younger.
I never fit into the Chinese “beauty standard”
Rapid weight fluctuations from trying to lose weight got me into a dark place. I tried to find ways to cope with my depression, by coincidence I booked myself a solo trip to Tamarindo for a surf camp. I fell in love right away even though I had no idea what I was doing. The connection with the ocean just felt amazing. After graduation, I went to Costa Rica again. This time I was able to travel across the country, visiting the volcanos, forests, waterfalls, etc. Back to Tamarindo, people even called my name. I was alone but I didn’t feel lonely. I went back to Toronto with my desk job but my heart already has a new destination. A few months later, I went on the trip again with my savings during the rainy reason. The storm was heavy so my trip got extended. Coincidentally my lease in Toronto had some problems and I need to move out. At that point, I made the decision to stay here. I went to Toronto and sold most of my stuff, came back to CR with a suitcase, my guitar, and a surfboard.
Tell us what you like the most about living in Costa Rica?
Number one is the ocean, the sun, and nature. I love tropical weather and the freedom to connect with Mother Nature. Also, the locals are very friendly and welcoming. It is pretty safe to compare to other Central American countries.
Tell us about Tidal Tribe Lifestyle Retreat?
It started with the idea to share the lifestyle and love to people who want to experience authentic Costa Rica.
We offer high quality, stylish yet affordable accommodations, with private yards as well as professional surf lessons. We can customize your stay according to the guests’ preferences. Sometimes we take our guests for adventures like snorkeling in less touristy spots. It is super women-friendly if you are traveling alone.
Since the COVID-19, how did it affect you and the business, tourism industry in Costa Rica?
After the lockdown was announced in March, we barely had any business. The economy here has been hit heavily as we depend on international tourism. There are so many people in need who can’t afford food for the family. The beaches still remain closed most of the time which is extremely difficult for the people live along the coasts to make a living.
We are hoping and praying that the government will open the beaches and the economy can be recovered.
Are you looking forward to seeing tourism again in Costa Rica?
Absolutely! I have got messages for my guests telling me how badly they want to visit. A lot of people’s travel plans were interrupted and of course, we are ready and will be so excited to see the border open.
What you don't miss about tourism in the lineup?
Tamarindo is a very touristy town therefore a very touristy lineup. In the high season, it does get crowded with beginners and surf lessons. Most of the time the locals respect that and are patient to help the beginners. It can be frustrating sometimes if the tourists refuse to get help and interfere with the lineup.
You have a Youtube Chanel and you talk about Fitness, can you tell us a bit more about it?
I’m certified as a personal trainer and fitness instructor in Canada. Now I’m mostly doing functional training, and incorporating moves to help me perform better in surfing. I love to share my tips on my Instagram and YouTube.
How Fitness is important and can help with your Surf?
Surfing can be fun without a good fitness level but I think it is very important if you want to surf well.
Cardiovascular health will help you with breathing; endurance, strength, balance, mobility, and agility are all important factors to surf better. Land training is crucial and you can get muscle memory. A good fitness routine will help you progress and avoid panicking in the water.
What's your vision and what message you want to give to women that wanted to be more involved in a Surf Community?
I’m very glad to see more and more women in the lineup especially when I traveled to California. However, it is still a male-dominant sport. Even here in Costa Rica, the number of women surfing consistently is not comparable to men. It is an awesome idea to have local women organizations to support each other.
I want to tell all the girls that do not fear other people’s opinions, lower down your ego, enjoy the wipeouts, have the most fun in the water.
You are not judged by skin color, age, or size here, just bring on good vibes. We are the palettes of the ocean, we are daughters of the tides.
Is there any association or program to encourage women, to get into surfing in your community?
Yes, @lakesurfistas in Ontario Canada, is my first enlightenment into surfing. We don’t actually have a program here in Tamarindo, but I surf regularly with a group of strong independent women and I always try to help other girls out. It is my vision to have an association here to motivate more women in the community.
Who inspired you the most?
Do you feel you are also an inspiration for other women?
Not until recently. Some girls came up to me in the water telling me they love watching me surf, or want to surf like me. In the beginning, I felt flattered since I’m still kinda new to surfing and I’m definitely not the best ones around. Then I realized maybe I’m actually able to inspire and motivate others so I started to work on my social media a few months ago.
What's your most memorable surf session?
Last year in my favorite beach Playa Avellanas. We were with a few clients on a surf trip, the waves were big and glassy, just perfection. Everyone had so much fun. Another one is just right before the quarantine, my girls and I were surfing in Avellanas, we saw some whales and it was captured on camera!
Anything else you will like to share with us?
Surfing has really changed my life.
I’m grateful and would love to share my passion with you all. After the pandemic, I want to travel a little bit to chase the perfect waves, get to know more people. I also invite all of you to Costa Rica!!