«I grew up in a small harbor town in Holland. Growing up I always loved the beach, spent my summers playing in the sand and sea. But there weren’t really any waves. I loved my town, summer was my favorite but the winters were long and it seemed like there was always something that was missing
During my studies I got the feeling that I really wanted to travel. A plan started to form, with 3 goals: learn how to surf, learn a different language (Spanish) and do more with yoga. I thought about going to 3 different countries. My friend Arie, who had an apartment in the Dominican Republic, said Shar, why don’t you start there?
I saved money, finished my studies, worked a summer on top of that to save some more, and off I went.
The moment I arrived , I fell in love. The country, the sun, the temperature, the beautiful white beaches with their blue sparkly water and the big palm trees, the culture, the people, the music, the dancing and most of all the waves and surfing. After a month I dropped my ticket home and decided to stay.
The beach I learned to surf was called Encuentro, part of Cabarete, a famous Caribbean kite destination. I loved my Encuentro mornings, every day I woke up early, got on my bicycle and biked to the beach. I started with a super heavy, huge board, that had lived a whole life before it got to me, and for 3 months I went cruising with that, up and down in the white water. The break is really nice, there are multiple peaks, and in front of them you have a whole lot of white water for beginners. Those first months I never took a green unbroken wave, maybe the fact that it was winter and the waves in the back were huge, but for sure it was also me wanting to feel sure enough that I was able to control the board. I didn’t have a teacher, I just went by myself. Up and down, struggling in the white wash. But it was so much fun!
One day I felt ready, went to the lineup and took a wave. And it was awesome! Because I spent so much time struggling in the whitewash, it felt so much easier without constant waves breaking on top of me. And I fell in love with surfing even more.
After 8 months I had to go back home, my money was running out and I had to find a job fast, and make some money.
The first day in Holland I went to the beach with my best friends and when I biked home, I decided to stop at a beach restaurant where my former classmate and friend worked and I asked them if they needed someone. My (soon to be boss) said, ah you are looking for work? You are hired! It was the fastest work interview ever. It was such a great job, I worked my ass off and I saw my coworkers more than I saw my family and friends, but it was such a great time and I had an amazing summer. So many laughs and such amazing people, I still look back with a big smile on that time. I did miss the waves and the Caribbean life so much, but I knew what I was working for.
In November I returned to Cabarete. And stayed again for 8 months. I got better and better at surfing and decided I wanted to surf small boards. To be honest, at that time I thought that was what the ‘real’ surfers surfed, that the goal in surfing was to get to a board that was really small. But I didn’t know too much about surfing before I started.
I started to surf a 6.8 and by the end of that year, I surfed a 6.2.