Living in the home of a friend in the middle of a Central American jungle filled with spiders, scorpions and snakes – all for the sake of surfing the legendary waves of Costa Rica. That’s Selena Moberly’s life right now and the 13-year-old from Water Mill wouldn’t want it any other way.
Moberly is the Eastern Surfing Association’s No. 1 girls shortboarder age 14-and-under in New York for the second year in a row.
She’s also currently the No. 3 girl (ages 12-15) in the Costa Rican Circuito Nacional De Surf. Which is why she is living the jungle life. She relocated with her mother, Janice Moberly, to the Costa Rican town of Nosara, which features miles of white sand and roiling surf along the Pacific Coast.
Janice calls the year in Costa Rica a social experiment and not motivated purely by the sport. But we’ll see how far her teenaged daughter has developed on a shortboard at the Northeast Regional Surfing Championships May 21-23 in Hampton, N.H.
“The surf here is pretty good, but surf was not the main reason for this trial year,’’ said Janice, a registered nurse, who left her husband home on Long Island. “We had an opportunity to give Selena the unique experience of living in another country, so we went for it.”
Selena Moberly grew to love surfing ever since jumping on a board at 7, and calls Ditch Plains in Montauk her home. Now she spends five hours a day riding Pacific waves.
“I am a goofy footer, which means that waves that are going left is my frontside,’’ Selena wrote via e-mail, probably using a palm tree to shade her laptop screen. “I like waves to be overhead, which would be about six-to-eight feet. In my last contest the waves were 12 feet and heavy. A little big for me, but I still rode them.”
Surfing is not without consequences, especially for someone so young. Selena has suffered a black eye, a slight concussion, punctured an ear drum and collected all manner of cuts and bruises.
Then there is the cost of travelling. Her mother sold her car to help finance the year in Costa Rica, including the cost of a school tutor and surf coach, which is approaching $30,000.
“Selena is unsponsored,’’ Janice Moberly said. “As a young girl she represents a healthy down-to-earth lifestyle. She does yoga once a week, pilates three times a week and surfs every day. We would welcome a good fit for her in sponsorship.”
And there it is. The Moberlys unplugged from Long Island life to give their daughter, the youngest of three children – a brother and sister in their 30s – a once-in-a-lifetime exposure to a world beyond strip malls and MTV reality shows.
Nosara happens to be home to a renown yoga school and Selena hopes to be fluent in Spanish by the end of her excursion south of the border. So mother and daughter will deal with the spiders, scorpions and snakes in exchange for a mind-opening experience – and rad waves.
“It has already taken me to so many places and I have met so many new friends,’’ said Selena Moberly, who plans to join the National Scholastic Surfing Association and extensively surf the New Jersey shore this summer. “I hope to be able to continue my surfing competitions and go where it leads me.”