It’s been a great week here at Safari, highlighted by the visit of The Chandler Family and their guests. I pondered scripting a splashy and profound title for this blog; “Genesis of a Dream” or “Jersey Angels” or how about “Olas Verdes First Family Revealed”. The truth is, the Chandlers are such gentle, lovely, “salt of the earth” folks that none seemed appropriate or necessary. The Chandler’s have been loyal Safari Alumni for the past nine years. They come from Sandy Hook New Jersey, which makes me smile, since Jersey is my birthplace as well. There must be something about the New Jersey Atlantic salt air that gets in your soul and points you to the beach. My family devotedly spent those three precious summer months (June, July, August) on the beach for countless years. Come Labor Day the whole place would shut down and saltwater depression would set in. Same with the Chandler family. In those long, cold, dreary New Jersey winters we would dream of perfect waves in warm water, sunny skies, with palm trees on the beach……..seek and ye shall find. That we all have discovered Nosara is no coincidence – its serendipity! When Casa Tucan sold last year, Safari embarked on a new adventure. Tim and Tyler reached out to faithful alumni who might be interested in helping grow and expand the dream. Jeff and Kerry Chandler answered that call, and a partnership was formed to develop a one-of-a-kind sustainable upscale surfing resort called Olas Verdes.
A week with the Chandlers
One of the coolest things about the Chandlers is that when they come back to Nosara each year (sometimes twice) they come to Safari and enroll in the full program, lessons, meals, the works. Many folks return to Nosara determined to do it on a budget, which is fine, but the Chandlers seek the camaraderie and fellowship, the relationships, cultivated with Safari’s instructors and staff years ago. It is a true pleasure to have them here and kind of sad when they leave. Usually their kids Sam and Tess come with friends, and on this trip they each brought their 3 best friends in kind of a belated birthday trip. Sam and Tess celebrated their actual 16th birthday in January (yes, they are twins!). So here come the Chanders, 10 strong, extended family, instant atmosphere!
Here Come the Chandlers!
I sat down with Kerry and we chatted about life, kids, New Jersey, and of course Olas Verdes.
PL: Welcome back Kerry! When and how did you folks find Nosara and Safari Surf?
Kerry: We wanted to have a family surfing vacation and I knew Costa Rica was a cool place to visit. So I went on the internet to do research, typing in the search box ‘Surfing in Costa Rica’ and that’s where I learned about Safari. That was about nine years ago and we’ve been coming back to Safari every year.
(Kerry was actually in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica in 1985-87. Destiny!
PL: I was stoked to hear you are from New Jersey. I was born in Atlantic City, and learned to surf there. I spent the Summer of Love in Ocean City! Do you guys go to the beach in Sandy Hook?
Kerry: Oh yes, my family tree is full of beach people! Learning how to surf with Safari has led to us being year-round surfers in New Jersey.
PL: I am impressed that each time your family visits here, you enroll in the full Safari package rather than setting out on your own.
Kerry: Always! We feel so comfortable here. Our kids grew up with the instructors and they keep in touch. The meals together are a special time as well. Back home it’s hard to get everyone together at the same time – well you remember!
PL: Let’s talk about Olas Verdes. How did you come to be involved?
Kerry: We had heard that Casa Tucan was sold and Safari was in the process of reinventing itself. We had recently received a prospectus from Tim Marsh (Safari president/co-owner) seeking private investors interested in creating a partnership to expand the operation. Somehow it just resonated with us on many levels and we came aboard. The project is now full steam ahead. We will have 17 rooms, a restaurant, clubhouse, pool, and all the trimmings. Safari Surf School will be an integral part of the overall operation. Olas Verdes will be a sustainable surf resort!
PL: How do you envision the hospitality, theme, and creature comfort standard of the new resort?
Kerry: Olas Verdes will be upscale and very family-friendly. We have designed the accommodations as mini apartments with either a wet bar or full kitchen. Single units can be conjoined to form two and three bedroom suites. We are committed to making the facility as sustainable as possible following the LEED certification process. The resort will be a model of sustainability. There will be an educational component to this and we will conduct tours, identify all plant species with signs, and lots more. Most importantly, we want to capture the heart, spirit, camaraderie, and joy of Pura Vida that we have experienced so deeply on all of our trips with Safari.
PL: Any idea on the grand opening date?
Kerry: We are optimistically hoping for March 2015. And what’s this I hear about Donavon Frankenreiter performing at the grand opening?
PL: Confirmed! I was there when Tim asked him. He will most likely be here simultaneously with a Billabong ‘Surf with a Pro’ camp. The resort will be crawling with surfers!
PL: In parting I must say it has been a true pleasure getting to know you all better.
We are all very excited about Olas Verdes. Take good care and we’ll see ya at Christmas.
Kerry and Jeff Chandler
A chat with Sam and Tess
Sam and Tess Chandler are some of the nicest kids I’ve ever met. On this trip they each brought down three of their best friends, all wonderful people. They both turned 16 in January and belatedly celebrated the occasion here with family and friends.
PL: What do you guys think of this amazing place being built?
Sam: So stoked, Costa Rica here I come!
Tess: It is truly a dream come true to have a house here one block from the waves (the Chandlers are also building a home near the resort)
PL: What do you see yourselves doing in five years?
Sam: I’ll be living here working at the surf school!
Tess: Oh wow, let’s see, in college?
PL: What is your “must have” on the Olas Verdes breakfast menu? Dinner?
Sam: Breakfast: granola with yogurt and fruit. Dinner: large selection of seafood.
Tess: Breakfast: French toast. Dinner: arroz con pollo.
PL: TV’s in the rooms, yes or no?
Sam: No TV’s. The entertainment here comes from natural sources. I don’t think we’ve ever turned on a TV in all of our trips here.
Tess: Yes and No. It might be nice for families with kids, but personally I won’t watch it!
PL: Thanks guys, it has been great getting to know you and your friends. See you at Christmas and keep surfing in New Jersey.
Sam/Tess: (in unison) PURA VIDA!
Sam with his “Awesome Surf Mom” Sweet 16
Winter in New Jersey Tess and Kerry
December 2013 trip
I found it interesting that I couldn’t find many surfing photos of the Chandlers. Truth is that they are having so much fun that they don’t really care! They are avid surfers who will be a presence in the Guiones lineups for many years to come. More photos to come!
COWABUNGA! Papa Jeff leads the charge
Symphony of the Sea
With conductor Alonso
Tyler Marsh admires the new Safari Clubhouse at Olas Verdes
A wave shaped pool – very cool!