Have you ever wondered what life would be like if you had thrown off society’s expectations as a teenager and chased your childhood dream around the world? The incredible Lucie did just that, and after countless surf trips and spiritual adventures all over the planet, this soul surfer has embraced the journey of a lifetime and never looked back. With her home base now in Costa Rica, Lucie continues to live her childhood dream as a passionate surfer, ocean lover, and lead instructor at Pura Vida Adventures surf and yoga retreat. If you haven’t had the chance to meet Lucie yet, her story is a testament to the power of following your heart.
Lucie was born on a small island in the U.K. called Jersey, very close to the northern coast of France in the Channel Islands (so close, you can see the French beaches). The weather is similar to England — warm summers but chilly, stormy winters. She learned to surf here at age 10, with the help of her kind older brother who was also a surfer.
“From the moment I stood upon the board, I was like, This is so much fun, I want to do this. And I also adored my brother, so I wanted to do what he was doing,” she said.
Her deep love for the ocean comes from her early years in Jersey. “Luckily my parents took me swimming as a kid, and I found so much peace in the water,” she said. “The sensation of floating and being held, I thought it was unreal.” Lucie’s mom loved to spend long sunny days at the beach in the summertime, and Lucie and her brother spend much of their childhood on the beach.
The surf community in Jersey was small but also supportive, and everyone knew everyone. Eventually, Lucie (still a kiddo) started taking the early morning bus with friends to go surfing, often heading out before the sunrise.
When we went really early, we would do this dawn patrol before it got light. I was so little that my arm wouldn’t fit around the board, so some of the guys would drive to my house on the scooter and they would carry my surfboard for me, and I would carry their body board on a backpack, and we’d go down to the bus stop and meet a couple more friends, and then take the bus to the beach, and hopefully there’d be waves.”
When the ocean was flat, they’d hang out in the carpark or on the seawall, sometimes for hours, waiting for the tide to come in and the waves to form. She bonded with the other surfers there, hanging out at the beach while waiting for the tide to change. “I was really lucky, I got kind of looked after in the surf community,” Lucie said. Soon she started competing in surf contests between the islands, as well as contests in England and team events. It was a fun way to travel and learn to surf in different breaks, and it also meant you got out of school. “I was like, I’m in, let’s go!” she said.
When she was 15, Lucie knew that all she wanted to do was travel and surf. And because most of her friends were older, making money and living the lifestyle, she had a vision of what was possible. She’d watch her friends leave on epic six to seven-month surf trips around the world and then return to Jersey for work. Here it was: This was the life for her. She left school and got offered the opportunity to teaching surfing for the summer season in Jersey.
With the money she earned she went on her first big surf trip with friends, to Australia. They stayed there for six months (the maximum visa length), and then spent two months in Indonesia on the way back home. After that, Lucie was hooked. “Jersey was such a gem in the sense that it gave me so much love and support and fun little waves, but I never wanted to go home. I just wanted to stay on the adventure,” she said.
The surf trips continued, and when she was 17, she and four girlfriends from Jersey came to Costa Rica for the first time. It was instant magic.
“We came straight from San Jose and arrived at the beach under a full moon, and there was so much light. The sand was glowing white, and you could see the waves breaking and the jungle on the beach. And I was like oh my gosh, I think I’ve landed in a surf heaven.”
The pace of life in Santa Teresa was much slower than it is now, and there were only a few travelers in the area. Lucie remembers meeting new people on her twice-weekly walk to the supermarket. “There was sort of that sense of, Ah, there’s a fellow human, how interesting. How are you?”
Although she fell in love with Santa Teresa on that trip, Lucie kept traveling. “Because I was so young and curious, I just wanted to see the world and experience all different types of surf breaks and cultures, and ways of experiencing life,” she said. She returned to Jersey and then took off on another surf adventure the following year, this time to South Africa for seven months. Her intention was always to return to Costa Rica, but there were still many more places to see. “Life just kept unraveling and taking me to different places and on different spiritual journeys, and surfing journeys,” Lucie said.
She eventually landed in the Canary Islands, where she spent many years surfing and working as a surf instructor. The volcanic landscape there is completely different from Costa Rica, and the waves are heavier. Even though she loved her experience in the Canary Islands, she never forgot Santa Teresa. “In the Canaries, everything about the ambiance is a little more strong, natural-wise. In Costa Rica, it’s just flourishing and light and fun, and there is a gentleness which I love.”
Now, after several years of living and working in Costa Rica as the lead instructor for Pura Vida Adventures, she feels a newfound love for the little surf town she first discovered when she was 17. “At this time in my life it just feels like such a gift to be here and experience it,” she said. “I guess at some points in your life you don’t realize what your ambiance is and what it can give you. But I feel like I’m at a stage that I feel very lucky to be around such natural beauty, open-minded people, and a really nice community. I feel very grateful to be here.”