Some seasoned surfers talk about their chosen pursuit in impassioned, mystical language like it is no less than a spiritual communion with nature. Maybe that’s true for some, but I found it to be nothing of the sort when struggling to learn to surf for the first time in Ecuador. Fortunately, though, it was pure adrenaline getting tossed around in the choppy waves south of Manta, near the town of Santa Rosa. Apparently, this spot has some really great breaks at times, but when I went out with my brother-in-law (one of those seasoned surfers who really wanted me to break into his world), the conditions were turbulent. Luke was disappointed that was my first experience—but I couldn’t wait to get back the next morning.