- a graduate or former student of a specific school, college, or university.
Most of us are alumni of one school or another, right? How about graduates of Safari Surf School? Although we don’t have a formal cap and gown graduation ceremony, most who attend have fond memories of “learning to surf”, which is no small accomplishment. Many who experience the magic and charm of Nosara’s beautiful land and seascapes hope to return one day, and many do.
In addition, an elite group of devotees has emerged whom I refer to as “Safari Alumni Locals”. These are folks who come back annually or semiannually, and in some cases “multi-annually”. They know the lay of the land in Nosara and out in the lineup, and are respectful to the environment and its inhabitants. They have, in my estimation, earned the right to be called ‘locals’. Those lucky enough to be able to come back again and again all cite familiar motivation: surfing! Everyone returns for the warm water, beautiful surroundings, and consistent waves.
Some have actual goals in mind; to improve and fine tune their surfing dance, and to get to that ‘next level’. Safari Surf’s team of “elite senior instructors” cultivate lasting personal relationships with students, fostering positive learning-curve progression in the water. Many returning guests request the same instructor year after year, and ‘hit the water running’ once they arrive.
Four true-life Alumni Adventure stories follow!
THE GUITAR FAMILY
Definitely winners for best family name! The Guitar family adopted Nosara and Safari Surf some seven years (and vice versa!). Laura recounts the tale:
“About 8 years ago, John got me really hooked on surfing with a trip to Pavones. He chose that spot because it’s such a long left and we’re both goofy foot. (In fact, we all are – the “goofy Guitars”!) A couple of months later, I went back and spent a month on my own, surfing every day. We then took the girls to Pavones but realized pretty quickly they were too young to be that far away from basic services – Sophia was just six. Still, by then we’d all fallen in love with Costa Rica. We started looking for a place that had the remote feel we loved but access to a little more infrastructure – and found Nosara! We rented homes around town for years and, when we couldn’t find one for an upcoming vacation a couple of years ago, we walked by Casa Reef’s for sale sign, made an offer and flew home without ever seeing the inside of the house. It was the best decision we’ve ever made”
That was 15 odd trips ago. Living in Miami Florida, they must travel 100 miles north to get out of the “Bahamas Shadow” to find rideable waves. “We live on the 39th floor of a downtown condo overlooking the Miami River” says Laura, “Nosara is our jungle home and Miami is our urban jungle home”. Veteran Alumni Locals, the Guitars have Nosara in their blood, and return at least twice a year. “They are ‘Ohana’ here at Safari” says Safari GM Jeffrey, “and a true pleasure to have as friends and guests – and we get to watch the girls grow up!
TRAVIS & JOHANNA
Travis and Johanna started coming to Nosara in 2010 when Safari Surf School was in its original location at Casa Tucan. Since then they have returned 8 times. Both are healthcare professionals in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Johanna is an ER physician and Travis owns a consulting company.
“We work long hard hours and let off steam in the gym” says Johanna, “but knowing we will return to Nosara’s warm, silky waves is what really sustains us”.
Travis: “we’ve been to Tamarindo, Playa Grande, and Avellanas, nice spots, but once we discovered Playa Guiones we knew we’d found our niche. We come to relax and recharge and it works every time”.
Enough so that on February 9, 2016 Travis ‘popped the question’ out in the lineup (she said yes!).
Johanna: “we like all the Safari instructors, but have made a real connection with Helberth. He knows exactly where we left off and he challenges us to go hard haha!”
Alex lives in Houston, Texas where the nearest surfable waves are over an hour away in Surfside Beach on the Gulf of Mexico. As a service manager for GE and a pilot/skydiving coach at Desert Sand Aircraft Company, Alex is a very busy man. Yet he still finds time to ‘get wet and salty’. “The swell on the Gulf is not consistent” Alex says, “so you have to be ready when there is a good window. My surfing buddies there let me know when the waves are good and I do my best not to miss it”. Alex is also one of the growing group of Safari Alumni, and has been to Costa Rica five times, (the past three to Nosara). Alex:
“Why do I return? In general, the people are spectacular, everyone is courteous, friendly, supportive, and genuine. The environment is pure and clean, and the waves are endless! I always feel welcome and the staff at Safari and Olas Verdes treat me as family. The surf coaches at Safari are exceptional, and go out of their way to accommodate my needs and skill level. I’ve developed close friendships with most of the instructors, and keep in touch when back in the states. Each instructor has helped me establish valuable building blocks to further my progression. As a competitive athlete in skydiving and bicycle racing, I find it both relaxing and challenging to escape back to Nosara in pursuit of my surfing passion. See you guys this summer!”
BILL & KIMBERLY
Rooms tend to brighten with smiles when Bill and Kim Curley pop in. They are salt of the earth ‘good people’ and have endeared themselves to many in Nosara. Kim reflects:
“We first came with our children Wills and Avery in 2014 to celebrate Bill’s 60th birthday. He had always wanted to learn to surf, and thought he’d better get at it soon. After reading Outside Magazine’s article on Nosara, we found our spot and spent two weeks in Playa Guiones. We surfed with all the guys at Safari every day, and lasting friendships formed. Before we left to go home we purchased a lot, and planned to build a house. We’ve made over a dozen trips back to Nosara since 2014, mainly to oversee the building process and to surf. We always team up with Safari’s coaches even on short trips. We’ve recently been surfing a lot with Alonso, who knows our experience levels and always has us working on something new!”
Casa Oceanus was just completed in February 2017!!
Congratulations to all of our friends and hasta pronto!