Saturday, 27 June 2015

Guest Post by Mara Oudenes - Surfing is life and the rest are details

I came into contact with the term surfing for the first time when I was ten years old. My parents had changed me into a private school to get a better education, as my previous one lacked good resources. A boy walked into the classroom and until then, I have never seen a boy like him before. His skin was dark, his hair blond and his eyes were green. Santiago was his name and according to the girls that were melting while looking at him, he was a surfer. As I made more friends, I realized that Santiago wasn't the only boy in class that practised the sport. Many others did. Every weekend, they would go down to a fishing village in my hometown of Guayama called Pozuelo and would ride the waves on their boards. The whole idea was fascinating and a bit romantic, or maybe I just had a crush on a boy or two.

Surfing originated in the islands in the Pacific, where people did it mainly for pleasure instead of as a sport. It has been commercialized and has spread throughout the whole world, although is mainly associated with places like Hawaii, Australia and California. My little island, Puerto Rico, even has 63 beach areas in which the sport is practised, so is difficult not to come in contact with it.

I started toying with the idea of a storyline for what would become my romance novel “Tides” years ago, but it wasn't until we visited the Caribbean island of Curacao that it started to get a real shape. 

When we visited Mambo Beach, I knew that I had found the perfect setting for Sea Glass Beach. It had the right atmosphere. Even the colours and the scents were perfect. Just like that first whiff of a bottle of sunscreen on your first day of vacation.

Then came the challenge... how to write a story about surfing when I barely know the essentials? I spent countless hours doing research and watching surfing videos online. I had to learn slang terms such as grommet (beginner surfer), bunny (a girl that likes to watch surfing), kook (inexperienced surfer), poser (a surfer wannabe), but also had to learn the parts of a surfing board as my character Luna is a shaper (a surf board builder).

Then I decided that there needs to be a competition, the quest. How to explain surfing manoeuvres without making the book sound like an instruction manual? That is where my character Dylan comes in. He is completely new to the world of surfing, and gets talked through everything by his friends.

Here is a bit of what Dylan has learned:
Wipe out: falling off the board
Bail out: jumping off the board before a potential wipe out
Carve: making of a radical turn
Climbing: making S-shaped paths on a wave
Cut back: turning toward the breaking part of the wave
Dropping: bottom turning, climbing back to the wave’s crest and then cutting back
Spinner: a 360 degree rotation
Tail slide: making the fins of the board lose their grip on purpose
Tube riding: surfing in the hollow portion in front of a wave

So this summer, head to the beach and send a prayer to the Kahuna (Hawaiian god of sun, sand and surf) that you get to spot these brave dudes and dudettes for whom surfing is life and the rest are details. Enjoy!

Author Bio
Mara Oudenes-Cruz Ramos is an indie romance writer, illustrator and graphic designer. She was born and brought up in Puerto Rico, where its surfing culture inspired her newest novel Tides. Mara lives in Heerhugowaard, The Netherlands and enjoys spending time with her husband and their little daughter. She likes attending craft workshops, reading chick lit and traveling with her whole family. You can visit her author webpage at

I would like to thank Mara for taking the time to initially contact me about reviewing her book, but also for writing this interesting post for us.

My review for Tides is being published tomorrow, so please do check back in the morning, to see what I thought of Mara's book.


  1. This was the best way ever to kick off my mission! I am so excited and will post more in the coming weeks.
    Cape Cod Surfing Lessons

  2. The whole idea was fascinating and a bit romantic, or maybe I just had a crush on a boy or two.Cape Cod Surfing Lessons


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