The Inside Peak – Activities in Nosara

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

Welcome back to the Inside Peak! Wow, here we are in March, hot weather, south swells, Spring Break!

I know I promised to bring you the “Tyler Marsh Story” in this edition but my research is not finished and I’ll have to postpone until next week. It will be worth it……so stay tuned……NEXT WEEK!

NOSARA’S BEST TOURS & ACTIVITIES

Last week I did a review of one of Nosara’s most popular (non-surfing) tours – Miss Sky Canopy Tour. This week I thought I would continue on that line of thought, and feature some of the other fantastic tour and activity offerings available here. Safari Surf can provide further information and help you arrange any of these activities, just ask and we are on it!

 

ON THE WATER

Water activities abound in Nosara! Abundant rivers, tide pools, waterfalls, estuaries, bays, and ocean provide for a variety of water sports, offering ideal settings and conditions for beginners through advanced skill levels.

KAYAKING/SUP

The convergence of the Nosara and Montana Rivers at ‘The Boca’ offers multiple waterways and spectacular scenery, perfect for calm-water kayaking and stand up paddling. A favorite attraction here is the mangrove tunnels where you can paddle through an amazing network of coastal mangroves. At the intersection of land and sea, mangrove forests support a wealth of life, from starfish to people. The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster, and shrimp. Mangroves can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. Mangroves also filter water and maintain water quality and clarity.

SUP

Stand up paddle tours (SUP) can be conducted on the river or in a variety of ocean conditions.  Safari Surf works with Experience Nosara, a professional full service outfitter providing the latest in equipment and excellent local guides. The cool thing is that they have a storage shed right on the river, so when you book a kayak tour, they also bring along a couple of stand up paddleboards so people can also give them a try. Experience Nosara conducts SUP camps teaching basic and advanced techniques in all facets of the sport.

If you are feeling the call of the wild, try SUP surfing on open ocean swells, a guaranteed buzz! They also provide snorkel and waterfall excursions!

SNORKELING

The pristine beaches of San Juanillo (45 minutes north of Nosara) offer the perfect setting for a family day of swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking.  The vast diversity in coastal ecosystems in this region is impressive. Playa Guiones is hard packed light sand, Playa Pelada is defined by volcanic reefs and outcroppings. Ostional is a black sand beach and north of that San Juanillo is punctuated with white coral reefs and crystal clear bays and lagoons.

WATERFALLS

Everyone loves a waterfall! There are several in our area, some well known, but also a few secret spots. We can help arrange a memorable waterfall hike in between your surf lessons (rainy season June-November).

 

FISHING

Costa Rica is known for its world class fishing and the Nosara area is no exception. Far removed from commercial fishing lanes and off the beaten tourist paths, the Nosara area is Costa Rica’s best-kept fishing secret. The nearby 100 fathom ledge bends in towards the beach creating a pool of deep blue water very close to the shore. Our waters are full of Sailfish, Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Snook, Cuberra Snapper, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado/Mahi-Mahi, Bonita, Rooster Fish and Pago Snapper.  You can charter a boat for offshore trips or hang down at the Boca (river mouth) with Safari Surf instructor/fishing guide Alonso and try your luck for snook.

HORSEBACK RIDING

Nosara was originally dominated by cowboy culture! Every year local town fiestas feature rodeos and Tope (horse dancing) and everyone comes out to celebrate the country life. There are a variety of horseback tours for rider of all experience levels.

TURTLE TOURS

Turtle nesting in the Nosara area is a well known phenomenon, famous actually in environmental circles. The beaches of Playa Ostional just to the north is the setting for a rarely-seen biological wonder. The week before new moon hundreds, and sometimes thousands of sea turtles come to one specific mile of beach at Ostional to dig their eggs into the black, volcanic sand. Prompted by some secret signal, the “arribada” will begin. At first, a few hundred turtles will come out on the beach, followed by a steady stream of animals for the next three to seven days. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica was created in 1984 to protect one of the world’s most important nesting sites of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Amazingly, Ostional is the only beach in the world where harvesting turtle eggs is legal. Scientists found out that most of the eggs deposed in the first nights of an arribada are destroyed by subsequent turtles who dig their nests.  Therefore, since 1987, the government of Costa Rica allows the community of Ostional to harvest the doomed eggs on the first three days of an arribada. In return, the villagers become rangers who protect the turtles, clean debris from the beaches and patrol day and night for poachers.

MOTORIZED TOURS

ATVs or ‘quads’ are a fun way to see the areas diverse coastal nooks, rivers, and mountains.

You can rent a quad for a day or week and also go on various guided tours. One of the more creative operations here is Howling Monkey Adventures. Their website description tells the story:

Howling Monkey offers exhilarating off road adventures, guaranteed to be the highlight of your Costa Rica trip! Drive our TOMCARS and experience Costa Rica’s secluded beaches, untouched wildlife, amazing mountain vistas and pristine sunsets. Our Unique military grade vehicles with our Super Amazing local guides, allow for a safe and thrilling ride into remote jungle terrain to witness Howler Monkeys, exotic birds, and a variety of other jungle dwellers in their native state. Whether you are into surf, snorkel, nature or just pure adrenaline, let us customize a unique adventure for you, your group, family or corporate guests. This is guaranteed to be an adventure that you will never forget!

 

NEW IN NOSARA!

NOSARA CLIMBLING WALL


ESKINA SKATE PARK – OPEN SOON!

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK

      CAITLIN & CALVIN’S FAREWELL BREAKFAST      YELENA & FRIEND WAXING UP

OWEN SMILE   OLAS VERDES CONSTRUCTION SITE

“WILD HORSES”

Thanks for reading! Come back next week for my interview with the man, the myth, the legend… Tyler Marsh!

Pura vida,

Peter

May Early Bird Special – Save 10% Today!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Book Now to Save 10%

Our May Early Bird Special ends April 1st!
Book any package for May from now until April 1st and save 10% off any standard package!

Our new surf instructor from Nosara, Kevin Monteil (pictured below), knows how good the conditions are in May! Or as Tyler says, “Early bird gets the waves in May… and a mango!”

kevin-may-early-bird

The Inside Peak – A Family Affair

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

The Safari Surf experience is about special people sharing the essence of Pura Vida.

Tim and Tyler Marsh knew that had found something special when they came here.  It was about nature and waves, simplicity and clean country living, but especially it was the spirit and heart of the local people that really made a lasting impact on them. Costa Ricans are warm, helpful, friendly, sincere, and loyal to a fault. They love to share the joy they feel just being alive; they want to make you happy! Many lifelong friendships have been forged while on a surfing vacation here, and people stay in touch across the miles and over the years. In Hawaii it is known as “Ohana” – extended family. Here it called Pura Vida.

This week we feature a mother/son duo, Alicia and Luis. Everyone who has visited Casa Tucan over the last few years remembers Alicia. She worked in the restaurant there as a server/bartender and she is a consummate professional. I have seen her handle a full dining room with grace, unbelievable efficiency, and joy. Alicia is of an amazing caliber of server that can take an order from a table of 8 without writing anything down. She is a treasure and we are blessed to have her! Her 20 year old son Luis started surfing 8 years ago and had the benefit of being around the Safari Surf School operation out of the Casa Tucan location. He knew what he wanted to do! Alicia and Luis are true locals and have never strayed far from Nosara. There story is of a country life, farming, horses, pigs, and cows, and clean simple living. I sat with them to get this Inside Peak.

PL: Where were you born?

Alicia: In Nicoya at the hospital

PL: Tell me about your family and growing up here.

Alicia: I grew up in a big family, 6 sisters and 4 brothers. My father was a farmer and we lived on a big ranch just south of Nosara. We grew rice, corn, vegetables, beans, and melons. We always had enough food to go around.

PL: So you were a farm girl?

Alicia: Oh yes, I would milk the cows, sweep out the barn, and help at harvest time, the whole family did. We had horses, cows, goats, pigs, chickens and they provided our food. I love horses and was a really good rider at one time.

PL: Where do you live now?

Alicia: We have a house a short distance from the farm we grew up on. I have two sons, Luis and Sebastian, and my husband Quillermo.

WITH MOM AND DAD MOM WITH SON SEBASTIAN

PL: When did you start working in restaurants?

Alicia: I started working at the Harbor Reef Lodge in 2000. I worked there a total of 11 years, mostly as a waitress in the restaurant. Then I heard about an opening at Casa Tucan. I was ready for a change and this was a small cozy place. I loved it and made many good friends there. It also introduced me to Safari Surf School which was very cool. I worked there a total of 3 years until it was sold.

PL: What was your biggest tip?

Alicia: One night I got $100 from two different tables!

PL: Now you are at Safari House?

Alicia: Yes, it’s much more private and personal, like being home.

PL: Do you plan to work at Olas Verdes?

Alicia: Oh Si Si Si, I can’t wait.

ALICIA “WORKING THE ROOM”

PL: Have you tried surfing?

Alicia: Yes! I had some lessons with Tinis (Safari female instructor) and love it. The ocean is very special, very powerful. The big waves scare me.

PL: Music?

Alicia: I love la musica romantica, I love to dance!

PL: Food?

Alicia: Camarones (shrimp)

PL: Dream Car?

Alicia: BMW – black with tinted windows!

PL: Dream Vacation?

Alicia: Isla San Andres in Colombia

PL: What is Pura Vida?

Alicia: It means Very Happy, Better than Better

PL: Good answer! Thank you Alicia, now to Luis…..

Alicia: Oh I am very proud of Luis!

LUIS – ‘EL GATO VOLADOR’

PL: I am guess you were born in Nicoya?

Luis: Yes, I am 20 years old

PL: When did you discover surfing?

Luis: I started in High school 8 years ago.

PL: Your nickname “El Gato Volador” means flying cat, what does that mean?

Luis: Gato means cat, I inherited that from my grandpa. Volador means flying, so I am ‘the Flying Cat’.

PL: Does that relate to your surfing style?

Luis: I think so, I love to boost airs!

LUIS CATCHING AIR

PL: When did you start teaching for Safari?

LUIS: Well my mom worked at Casa Tucan, I hung out there. All the instructors were surfing buddies and I would watch them with students. I knew this is what I wanted to do.

PL: How long have you been an instructor?

LUIS: I think it has been a couple of years. I passed the ISA certification and Tyler put me on a “trial period”. I think I made it!

PL: What points do you stress when teaching?

LUIS: I start on the beach with lots of stretching, it is very important!

 

PL: Do you surf in contests?

LUIS: No I don’t like to compete; I guess I am a free surfer!

PL: Places you’ve been surfing?

LUIS: Only on the Nicoya peninsula, there are a lot of secret places around here that nobody knows about.

PL: Dream Surf Trip?

LUIS: Bali

PL: Dream Car?

LUIS: 4×4 truck

PL: iPhone?

LUIS: Not yet but I am saving for one. I do have a smart phone though!

PL: Hobbies?

LUIS: I love to fish and ride horses. My grandfather has a big finca (ranch) where there is a beautiful casacada (waterfall). We sometimes take Safari guests there on horseback.

PL: Describe a perfect day

LUIS: I think its Dec 24-25, Christmas time – mucho fiesta!

LUIS – “LIVING THE DREAM”

MAMA ALICIA – “VERY PROUD”

COOL TOURS

Nosara boasts some pretty great non-surfing activities and tours. One of the most popular and my personal favorite is the MISS SKY CANOPY TOUR.

The tour takes place in a series of coastal mountains around 30 minutes from Playa Guiones.

It is a perfect combo of exercise, adventure, nature, and discovery.

Their website description says it all:

Set amidst the unequalled beauty of a Costa Rican forest wilderness is the longest, most exhilarating canopy tour in the world. Traversing majestic mountain ridges and valleys, soaring high above multiple ravines, with breathtaking vistas of rivers, waterfalls and the Pacific Ocean.  Comprised of 21 exhilarating runs, a stopover at the waterfall and river pools for a refreshing swim. Suitable for nature lovers, adventurers, families and all who wish to experience the ultimate canopy tour adventure; Miss Sky Canopy promises to be the experience of a lifetime.

I can attest to this, I’ve been on it ten times. The guides bring it all to life with great energy and humor – they love to play tricks! In the rainy season (May-Nov) you stop off at an amazing waterfall to swim. The tour takes about 4 hours and you will come away positively giddy!

NEXT WEEK!

In the next edition of Inside Peak don’t miss an up close and personal interview with the one and only, the irrepressible………

TYLER MARSH!

The Inside Peak – Buzz Around Town

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

SAFETY FIRST

There’s a lot going on in Nosara, new stuff everywhere! The staff interviews will have to wait another week, my fin hit my leg and now I’m out of commission:
injured thigh

Welcome back friends! I had planned to continue with my instructor profile series this week but had an unexpected “anomaly” occur. I was surfing fun small cruising waves a week ago when I had weird accident. I caught a wave and upon standing I must have hit a slippery spot and suddenly proceeded to slide to the front of the board (both feet) at a brisk clip. I didn’t intend to hang ten at this point but found myself on the tip of my surfboard anyway. With all my weight up front, the board became unbalanced and suddenly flipped over and I was deposited right on top of the fins with great force. The impact nailed me on my lateral right thigh, and sent me to bubble land. Luckily it was a mellow day with super clear water. When I surfaced the pain was blinding, so I treaded water until it abated, and of course kept surfing. Upon exiting the water, as I strolled up the path to my vehicle I glanced down and saw the grapefruit size lump on my leg.

OUCH!

My wife diagnosed my wound as a hematoma, which required constant ice and elevation.  I laid low for 4 days and followed her advice, and on day 5 thought I was healed. Therein I felt it appropriate to resume my pre-surf exercise regime of walking up and down our steep driveway swinging dumbbells. After that I decided to give surfing another go, and was stoked to find there was really no pain or restriction. Turns out I was the dumbbell. When I left the water this time the damn thing was badly swollen and black and blue. So I headed home and propped the leg up on pillows once again. My thigh was swollen and deeply bruised and the pressure of the hematoma impeded circulation to my lower leg and foot, which was turning blue. After a couple more days of no improvement the inevitable became apparent: bite the bullet and go to the hospital in Nicoya. Since we have our residency and associated social insurance there would be no cost, but no surfer I know wants to go to the doctor!

Costa Rica is known for its high standards of healthcare and all citizens are covered by the national socialized medicine system. There are also excellent private clinics and hospitals and people come from all over the world for dentistry, cosmetic surgery, etc. There are even programs called “medical tourism” where folks come down, have a facelift, and then go on tours around the country. But this costs money!

THE HOSPITAL IN NICOYA

The drive to Nicoya takes about 1.5 hours, half of it on bumpy dirt roads. Since this is a social security hospital the place is a madhouse; screaming babies, elderly folks, soccer players holding limbs, and on and on. Trying to navigate the admission process is mind boggling and it’s good to have a helper. Our Tico gardener was with me and saved the day. It took all day, but I got in.

I received excellent care and was released early the next morning. The staff was friendly, sincere, upbeat and professional. BUT there are NO amenities like we are used to in American hospitals. But I won’t go into that! You leave feeling like you were “of the people” and I like that. When we decided to move here we were looking for “a more interesting life”. Man did we ever get it!

Best thing – I will surf again!

BLACK SHEEP PUB

Many of our return alumni have had the chance to visit an original Nosara creation called the Black Sheep Pub. Located in the coastal mountains about 30 minutes from Playa Guiones, the pub is the creation of Joe and Helena Wygal originally from Boston. Joe travelled extensively throughout Europe in search of “Pub Culture”, collecting memorabilia from far and wide, and shipped it all here in a container. The pub is an amazing little working museum of sorts.  They are only open for special occasions, New Years, 4th of July, St. Patty’s day, and anniversaries. They celebrated their 8th anniversary on Saturday. If you are here for any of these openings you should go!


 

Lots of Development Around Town

JADE – NEW SPA IN GUIONES

NOT SURE! –  LOOKS LIKE AN OIL SHEIKS PALACE TO ME

FORMER ‘SOLO BUENO’ SURF HOSTEL – NEW RESTAURANT/SPA OPEN SOON

SELF-EXPLANATORY!

SURF ARTIST BOB LANGSTON JAZZES UP A FRIENDS GATE

OLAS VERDES CLUBHOUSE – PROGRESS!

BUILDING SITE ENTRANCE – TRUCKS MUST PASS OVER THIS ‘ROCK FILTER’ TO ENTER

ROBBIES NEWLY ENLARGED MINI SUPER ON “MAIN STREET” GUIONES

HE ALSO ADDED TWO NEW APARTMENTS ON TOP

NEW LIFE AT HOTEL PLAYAS DE NOSARA!

FIRE CHIEF RYAN BOMBARD & FAMILY

The Inside Peak – Meet Our Instructors: Pio!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Inside Peak Instructor Profile: Roger ‘Pio’ Ruiz

‘Faith and Focus’

Pio Ruiz is a well recognized ‘fixture’ around Playa Guiones. He was one of the original locals to parlay his love of surfing into a career both with Safari and the Nosara Surf Shop. Pio’s positivity and innate sense of responsibility make him a very desirable employee. He has been an instructor with Safari Surf School since day one (14 years) and has been the manager of the Nosara Surf Shop for 11 years. He saves his money and owns a killer truck. Don’t talk to Pio about Ticos always being late and lazy, it makes him mad! I have always wanted to find out what make this upstanding, super-responsible surfer tick so here we go!

FAMILY

PL: Are you a Nosara native”

PIO: Yes. I was born in Nicoya in 1975, that was the closest hospital. Back then it was an epic journey to get there.

PL: Everyone calls you PIO. Is that your given name?

PIO: No my real name is Roger, it is actually a common name down here. My parents called me PIO because as a kid I loved to chase the little baby chickens around. They would make these loud non-stop peeps, “PIO PIO PIO”. True story!

 

PL: Where did you grow up?

PIO: In a little house by the river. I have 4 brothers and 3 sisters. Mom and Dad are still there, you should go meet them (I did!).

(Pio’s hearty salt of the earth parents, the Good Book always present. They are soooo proud of son PIO!)

PL: How long have you been surfing?

PIO: 20 years, maybe longer. All the guys fished and that eventually led us to the ocean. It was hard to ignore those amazing waves, everyday there were waves.

 

PL How did you become interested in teaching surfing?

PIO: Back in the late 90’s I got a job at Corky Carroll Surf School, it was the only surf school here. I was the “shop rat”, cleaning boards, swept floors, that kind of thing. I would watch the instructors and what a fun life they had making people happy. I knew that’s that what I wanted to be! I actually drove to California and worked at their Huntington Beach School for three years. I had a Visa. When I crossed the border into Arizona I discovered a big mistake on the Visa – my date of birth was listed as 1875, I was 120 years old!

 

PL: Wow, from Nosara to Irvine and Huntington Beach, what was that like?

PIO: It was all new and exciting, paved roads, endless buildings, fast food! It was a great experience but deep down I missed home, I’m a country boy at heart.

 

PL: You have been with Safari from day one?

PIO: Yes, it’s been 14 years. Safari Surf School was originally based at the Nosara Surf Shop. Eventually Tim and Tyler leased, and later bought the Casa Tucan and operated the school from there.

 

PL: You are also the manager of the surf shop?

PIO: Yes I met owner Michael Rourke while working for Safari and we hit it off. I have been there since 2003. It all fits together well; Mike has always been supportive of my work at Safari and vice versa.

PL: What do you like about teaching?

PIO: It’s great because you are in the water, getting exercise and stoking people out.

Surfing changes people’s lives, I can say that because I’ve seen it, still do!

GETTING READT TO CHANGE CHAD & SARAH’S LIVES!

 

PL: Funniest thing that happened during a lesson”

PIO: This one guy just could not get it when I said “go right, go left” He always went the opposite direction.

 

PL: You speak English very well. Did you take classes?

PIO: NO! I learned it all just by listening and talking.

 

PL: You are a man of faith?

PIO: Oh Yes. That picture you have of mom holding the bible; that is how we were raised.

I belong to a great fellowship that includes lots of American surfers. We meet every Thursday and services are in English.

 

PL: Dream Surf Trip?

PIO: Indonesia. I already have the boards!

 

PL: Favorite Surfer?

PIO: Australian Mick Fanning “fanning the flame”, Mike even brought me a signed poster from Surf Expo.

 

PL: Countries surfed?

PIO: USA (Cali), Panama, El Salvador, Nicaragua.

 

Pl: Biggest wave you’ve surfed.

PIO: Pavones 6 years ago, 20 foot faces. They were calling it the biggest swell ever.

PAVONES in southern Costa Rica.

“Rides over a mile, your legs give out”!

MEANWHILE BACK at GUIONES

PIO at SIZE

AND SLASHING!

PL: Music?

PIO: I like soft music, folk rock, and Christian.

 

PL: Food?

PIO: Fish Casado (casado means “married” In food terms a casado is a typical Tico dish with fish, rice, black beans, vegetables, and salad all on one plate).

 

PL: Special Girl?

PIO: I pray for that every night!

 

PL: I think you’ll find her! Thanks PIO, I really enjoyed talking to you.

PIO: Pura Vida!

HIGHLIGHT OF THE WEEK – TIDEPOOLING!

This past week we experienced some very extreme tides – high highs and low lows. These “flood tides” are associated with the New Moon Cycle. During the low “minus tides” (below sea level) wonderful tide pools appear, great fun for kids, dogs, families!

SUPER LOW TIDE

BRINGS TIDE POOLS!

HASTA LUEGO!

Great group this week. Thanks for coming friends!

Top: Wayne, Michael, Ashley, Miriam

Bottom: Eric, Robert, Steve

The Inside Peak – Meet Our Instructors: Alonso!

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Safari Instructor Profiles

This week on the Inside Peak, I begin a series of interviews with Safari Surf School instructors.

Since moving here I have long been fascinated by the amount of heart that our surf instructors put into their lessons. They take it all very personally, in the highest sense. They want their students to experience the same joy, inspiration, thrill, and spirit that surfing gives to them. The essence of the art of teaching is the genesis of Pura Vida. The nature of surf instruction is very intimate. People trust their instructors. Everything is very close, tactile, visceral and in motion. Its wet and salty, its warm, the sun is shining, and all around you are people stoked and hooting, feeling it!
To me you can’t put a value on the experience. I have seen surfing change people for the better!

This is the rhythm of the place, Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica. It is about living the in the moment and finding your place in the ocean.

Alonso Aragon (Chumino)

alonso-inside-peak
PL: Everyone calls you Chumino or Chumi. Is there a story behind that?
AA: “Chumino” refers to having coins or ‘change’ clanking around in your pockets. The change here is clunky and heavy, it weighs down your pockets. When I was a kid, I always had a pocketful of change so they called me ‘Chumi’.

PL: Are you a local boy, born and bred here?
AA: I was born in Nicoya in April 1984. We moved to Nosara Centro when I was a young boy.

PL: When did you discover the ocean?
AA: I was introduced to the water at a very young age. I grew up by the Rio Nosara where we fished and went shrimping. The river provided so much food! I fell in love with it immediately. I began surfing when I was 15….I’m almost 30 now so I have been surfing full on for 15 years.

PL: What are your early memories of the area?
AA: Everything was simple and slow. We were very in tune with nature. People shared and helped each other. Lots of families, we were happy, I remember that. We always had enough to eat, a home, family and friends.

“Everyone fished, even the dogs!”

PL: Family?
AA: My mom and grandmother are here. I have 6 brothers, 2 sisters, and heaps of aunts, uncles, and cousins. I live with my son Jay (7 yrs). His mother (Dunia) is my novia!

Son Jay following in dad’s footsteps

Alonso and Dunia

PL: How did you become interested in teaching surfing?
AA: I was a waiter at Casa Tucan, Safari’s old home. It was a small hotel and great restaurant. It was a surf place. I could see how much surfing stoked people, especially the beginners. I decided I wanted to help people learn to surf, to share all the gifts the ocean has given to me my whole life. It seemed like a dream job. I have been with Safari now for 8 years.

PL: Did you have training for this?
AA: Yes. I had to meet all the requirements and standards for ISA (International surfing Association) certification. There is a tough final exam and swim test. I passed!

PL: What do you like about teaching?
AA: The people and the joy they have when they catch a good ride. It is very satisfying and rewarding to pass this happiness on to people. I also love the kids. At Safari we have a program called ‘kids camp’. It a full or half day camp where we surf, play games, make art, and eat together, I love it because I’m a big kid.

LEXIE – PERFECT FORM!

PL: I remember Prado (former Safari instructor) telling me that all the best local surfers in the area aspired to become surf instructors. He said there was a “code” amongst his peers that set very high value on “giving the best lesson”.
AA: Yes true, we all wanted to be the best. Everyone wanted to teach for Safari, that was considered the premiere place to teach.

PL:  Any coaching tips, common mistakes, etc.?
AA: It is very important to always stay pointed out to sea. You don’t want to get caught “broadside”, that can knock you down hard. We do lots of beach exercises, pop-ups, that kind of thing. Proper stance, knees bent, back straight, hands by your sides. When we hit the water I am with my students at all times. We all (instructors) wear bright yellow rash guards so they can always find us!

GO SUSANNAH!

PL: We hear a lot about your fishing accomplishments. Safari even has an activity called “Fish with Alonso” where guests can spend a morning with you at your favorite fishing spot.
AA: Fishing has always been a big part of my life. I just love it. There are huge Robalo (snook)
at the Boca (river mouth). These are excellent eating fish. I have heard these are illegal to take in Florida and other states. Not here!

HOLY ROBALO!

PL: Favorite Food
AA: fried fish!

PL: Music?
AA: Reggae

PL: Dream surf Trip?
AA: Indonesia

PL: Biggest waves you’ve surfed
AA: 8-10 feet in Nicaragua. I love big waves. I would love to try tow-in surfing.


PL: Describe your perfect day
AA: Starts with early morning at the boca fishing, then surfing big hollow waves. After that I give surfing lessons at Safari. The rest of the day is for being with my family. And fried fish!

Safari’s Guests Last Week–see you next year!

THE NECHALA FAMILY

CHARLES, LILLY, KELLY, JIM

SUSANNAH AND STEVEN

BEN AND ELLIE

Thanks for reading!

Pura vida,

Peter

The Inside Peak – End of January

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

Surfers and Weather

If you’ve read any of my blogs you can’t miss the many references to weather and it’s effects on waves, wind, and well….the weather. Surfers are the consummate arm-chair meteorologists. We speak in terms of  low pressure systems, buoy readings, wave periods, latitude and longitude, wind direction. It’s all part of it. Surfing can expose you to many cool things: travel, culture, photography, yoga, fitness, meteorology!

Herbie Fletcher once said, “surfing’s a trip, better pack your bags.”

So back to meteorology. The offshore winds have been honking down here for almost two weeks running. This phenomena is explained by the non-stop cold fronts plunging south from the northern hemisphere, resulting in a ‘Polar Vortex’ that  pushes the subtropical jetstream deep into the Caribbean, creating pressure inversions, and hence these winds.

You may have seen the news about giant swells hitting Hawaii, and now California. These big storm swell events up north can and do send swell our way. Generally they are not as big and strong as the Southern Hemi swells, but due to swell direction the north swell energy can get into little nooks and crannies and light them up. I surf a spot I call “Riddles” because the waves peak up all over the place and can confuse you, especially the newbies. A little north in the swell pulls the take off spot further up the point and the waves can be perfect little  southbound runners. It did this yesterday. Looking for mire today!

Smooth Mile on a southbound runner

My sweetheart Emily connects one down the beach.

More Swell Getting In Today!

MEANWHILE AT MAVERICKS (just south of San  Francisco):

I talk weekly with my dear Dad who has been on the planet for 93 years and lives in Florida. He’s had a storied career in the Air Force and  was the meteorologist navigator aboard B-24 bombers in World War 2, and relied on a sextant and a slide rule to get his crew there and back time and again.  After the war the Air Force sent him to M.I.T. where he earned his masters degree in meteorology and worked in many  capacities , including  being one of the original Hurricane Hunters flying modified B-29s out of Bermuda.

So you see I had a head start with this meteorology habit. And  man does he love the beach, ocean, bodysurfing, sandy shoes. The man is pure Salt and Light!
My Dad Colonel Bill Lewis (Ret.) – still bodysurfing at 93

Olas Verde Update

Our new sustainable “surf resort” project is set to break ground very soon. There have been ground clearing crews hard at work all week, and our excitement builds as we anticipate the creation of this state of the art project. The design and construction team of Loria/Guanacaste Builders is one of oldest and best in all of Guanacaste – you’ll  see! The buildings have been designed and placed to minimize tree removal as much as possible–we are removing small Jobo trees, palms and some shrubbery, but the large Guanacastes and Pachotes have been saved to retain their beauty and shade qualities for generations to come!

We plan to take daily photos of the  project following the progress, lets call it “Countdown to Olas Verdes”.


Old World Tree Cutting Techniques!

THE CLUBHOUSE TO COME!WITH MY CUT AND PASTE EMBELLISHMENTS!

Nosara Fiestas

It’s that time of year again! Nosara’s legendary Fiesta takes place from Tues-Mon this week with rodeo events, horse shows, mystery food stands, lots of alcohol, and live music and dancing into the wee hours (3am nightly). Every town in Costa Rica has a fiesta, which is essentially a celebration of cowboy culture. A favorite attraction is always watching blind drunk campesinos jump into the bull ring in a mini ‘running of the bulls’ show of foolish bravado. It’s wild, raucous and rootsy fun, worth a check.
The Tope is my favorite part of Fiesta week. Best described as a ‘horse pageant’, the Tope brings  together dedicated horse lovers of all descriptions for a kind of macho “show and tell’ of their horses’ skill and derring- do. Its full of passion, fueled by ego and alcohol, and not to miss!

THE LEGEND OF MALACRIANZA
Without a doubt, Guanacaste’s greatest (animal) hero is a bull named Malacrianza.
Translated to ‘Bad Manners’ or ‘Bad Ass’, Mal has enjoyed a long, storied rodeo career throughout Costa Rica. Riders greatly feared this cantankerous creature who dominated the rodeo scene for over two decades. He is known to have killed several vaqueros over the years, giving him the moniker “El Toro Asesino” (The bull Assassin). I’m glad (relieved) to report that Malacrianza is now ‘out to pasture’ and enjoying his retirement and legend status in a finca (ranch) very close to Nosara. We see him all the time, pretty cool link to the soul and history of this place.

If you want a great laugh you have got to watch this:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7WkcFKJQ7M&feature=player_embedded

Excellent article on The Legend of Malacrianza:
http://www.sbnation.com/longform/2013/5/14/4312042/legend-of-malacrianza-costa-rica-killer-toro-bullfightin#top

Thanks for Coming

Every week we have the marvelous pleasure of welcoming new and returning “students” to our little world down here. These lovely folks, men and women, kids and families of all ages make up the soulful atmosphere that is Safari. Thanks for coming guys and see you next year!
Laura and Emma Guitar (cool name or what!) – Multi-year Safari Alumni from Florida
Erin and Valerie escaping a COLD Canadian winter

Scott and Kate from Toronto
Brian and Jamie,  educators from Chicago (on both ends)
Jessie Witherspoon from Boston (middle) – another cool name!
Pio, Chad and Sarah (from Atlanta) – the grandparents are watching their two boys!
Alumni Ben and Ellie from Toronto
SONRISAS EVERYBODY
The word for ‘smile’ here is sonrisa… There’s a beautiful metaphor there.

Until next week, Salud!
Peter

SONRISAS YA’LL

The Inside Peak – Mid January Update

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

Chamber of Commerce Weather

If Nosara had a chamber of commerce they would no doubt be beaming at the amazingly dependable weather and beach conditions we enjoy during our verano (summer) season.

Every day seems to be a repeat of the previous one with sunny skies, steady offshore breezes, spectacular water clarity, and absolutely perfect sparkly little waves peeling off up and down the beach. You can set your watch by it, year after year, when the states and Europe are freezing their knickers off……we are wallowing in a surfy tropical fantasy land. Sounds like a good time to come for a visit, no?

I would wager that the majority of property sales here go down in this same time period (Dec-April). How many people get the urge to chuck it all, the job, mortgage, school, girlfriend, you name it… to become full-time Nosara surf bums? The summer season is so seductive. It is paradise, no doubt about it. A vacation in paradise does the trick every time, but be careful, it can rearrange your cosmos!

My wife and I have lived here for 5 years. At 58 years old we sold everything we had and moved to Nosara. What were we thinking?  For me, my beach love-affair started long ago, way back in the 50’s and 60’s on the Jersey shore. My people were all beach people, dyed-in-the-wool sand-in-your-shoes by the silvery sands beach people. I have them to thank. And you know I’ve never looked back, I’ve continued surfing non-stop and here we are!


Ocean City NJ 1968, that’s me on the far right.

Offshore Winds

Woke up this morning to howling gusty winds, blowing hot and dry off the land. To a surfer offshore winds are Nirvana, shaping and grooming each wave into a moving cylindrical race track. But this morning the Nosara Chamber of Commerce is concerned – it is too windy! Generally related to Northern Hemisphere cold fronts diving south, the Jet Stream penetrates deep down into the Caribbean basin, creating the mechanics that result in these seasonal winds (think Santa Ana’s). Known here as the “Papagayos” or “Guanacastes” these conditions occur from Dec-April, our dry season. These wind events usually last up to three days and then moderate. Today our morning surf lesson schedule was cancelled due to these dangerous winds, but in the afternoon things calmed down enough to produce beautiful glassy blue-green peelers.

Morning gusts up to 45 knots – too windy to surf


Mid day conditions looking up!


Afternoon session: fast, clean, & fun!
 

Great Beach Walks #1

Nosara is a very scenic place. Our coastline has vast diversity; white, pink, and black sand beaches, lava reef, and white coral all within a 15 mile span.

Beach walks can be revealing and inspirational. Walk #1 starts on Playa Guiones and ends at Playa Pelada:

On Playa Guiones head north toward the point

Look for the path across the headland.


Playa Pelada – Enchanting!


At far north end of Pelada looking south


Ancient Civilizations?
 

Beach Walk #1 Details

  • Distance: approx. 3 miles round trip
  • Time: approx 1.5-2.0 hrs
  • Attractions: tide pools, lava reef, blow hole
  • Restaurants: La Luna, Olga’s
  • Bring: camera, water, suncreen

Safari Class of January 15, 2014

We are stoked to welcome our new “students” this week. Bienvenidos to Gordon, Jake & Cara, and the lovely Stafford family. It’s great fun to to watch this “dynamic” come to life – folks of all ages, backgrounds, and diversities come together to form this lovely unique group. Lifetime friendships are forged, matches made, and extended families spawned, it is truly a very cool phenomenon!

Gordon Fontane (safari alumni) from Boston – a real live dog trainer!(Check his website: http://zendogtraining.net)

Jake and Cara from New York – Personal “CrossFit” Trainers!


Olivia, Katelyn, Emily


Interviewing the dynamic Stafford girls!

Safari Surf School Class of Jan 15, 2014


Extended Family!


On Vacation!

Thanks for reading! See you guys next time on The Inside Peak!

Pura vida,

Peter

The Inside Peak – Holiday Wrap Up

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

Welcome to The Inside Peak in 2014!

The Christmas holidays in Nosara was in full swing this year, the town was packed with happy families, yoga devotees, soul surfers, and party animals. Hotels and restaurants were full, rental cars, ATV’s and bicycles were all taken, and the areas many popular tours were booked to capacity. As hectic as this sounds, it never seems to feel over crowded here. Maybe it’s the jungle that surrounds you giving the feeling of peace and solitude. The beach at Guiones can accommodate heaps of people and the learning conditions were ideal with numerous wave zones groomed by offshore winds. The waves this time of year have been described as soft and friendly. The Southern Hemisphere seas are quiet now, giving way to background swells from the west and northwest, resulting in fun waist to chest high rollers. The peak experience for any beginning surfer is to catch and ride a ‘green wave’. This is the unbroken wave caught outside the white water zone. As the swell nears it reacts to the shallow sandbar and crests and breaks. This is the pure essence of surfing which is accessible to students. Once back on the beach they describe the experiencing of riding a green wave to the beach in mystical terms: “surreal”, “amazing”, “cosmic”, “dreamlike”. This vibe spreads throughout the town as everyone is surf stoked to da max!

green-wave

The Mythical Green Wave

shiva-rea-surf

Shiva Rea Surfing

Speaking of mystical, wildly popular Yoga Diva Shiva Rea brings her Surf, Yoga, Soul retreats to Nosara over the Christmas holidays in two one week sessions. Based at The Blue Spirit Yoga Resort on the point just south of Guiones, these retreats have been sold out well in advance for many years running. Shiva is good friends with Safari owners Tim and Tyler Marsh, and each year she brings her students to Safari for “surf immersion” (lessons!)

shiva-rea

Yoga Superstar Shiva Rea


Safari Surf welcomed many wonderful guests over the holidays, and it is a true pleasure to observe the subtle transformation everyone goes through during a week of great food, fellowship, and surf immersion: skin turns a healthy tan, hair turns blonde, folks conquer their fears, muscles toned, and all exude an inner peace and health. This applies to boys, girls, men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, kids. If you’ve ever wanted to experience surfing and its essence, don’t hold back; make your 2014 New years Resolution to come to Safari Surf!

Thanks to all who brightened our days over the holidays.
The following picture gallery tells the tale!

Pura vida,

Peter

The Inside Peak – New Season & New Headquarters

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

Hi Everybody – Welcome to our new edition of the Inside Peak! We wanted to capture more of the life and color of our guest’s Nosara experiences, so I will be submitting a monthly synopsis of Safari – Everything Surf! – yours truly, Peter Lewis.

First Month in New Headquarters - The Inside Peak - Safari Surf School

Summer Arrives

Blue Skies, brilliant sunshine, and offshore winds appear to have ushered in an early summer season. Even though we are located 9 degrees North of the equator, our dry season here (Dec-April) is referred to as “summer”, and the rainy season (May-Nov) “winter”. The dry season also corresponds with what I refer to as the” International High Season” – where snowbirds escape the cold climes to find warm playgrounds! Here in Nosara we must endure ‘Septober’, our two rainiest months where everything shuts down and all there is to do is read and sleep. November can go either way weather wise, last November was a washout, I’ll take an early summer any day! All around town merchants are painting, renovating, landscaping, and spiffing up for the upcoming season. This year we are seeing a lot of construction everywhere. There are also at least three new tour companies stocked with ATVs, bicycles, and transport vans. The roads were horrendous after the rainy season but heavy equipment moved in and cleaned everything up. However the hot, dry, and windy weather, produce an unwelcome byproduct: polvo or dust. Driving becomes more difficult as visibility is compromised, especially after the big delivery trucks storm by. With lots of motorcycles, ATVs , bicycles, and pedestrians on the roads, everyone covers up with scarves, respirator masks, goggles, and all sorts of innovations (banana leaves, etc.!). The beaches provide sanctuary from the dust storm and is the place to be.

Prado and Helberth

Pura vida from Prado and Helberth

As we move into our summer months clear skies, blazing sun, and inviting blue ocean beacon. As the Northern Nemisphere winter takes hold, our weather becomes dreamy. Every day is a carbon copy of the one before. The waves this time of year settle down and offer lovely conditions for surf school attendees. Playa Guiones is an immense white sand beach where the inclination of the ocean floor is very gradual, allowing for a safe and comfortable entry into the wave zone. Waves here tend to regenerate into new waves after they break on the outside, creating numerous fun zones for beginners. This is one of the friendliest surf locales on the planet. With lots of room to move enthusiasts can always find an empty peak down the beach. With all the best local surfers employed as surf instructors, we have very little “localism” in the water and the spirit of Pura Vida and Aloha prevail!

Donavon’s Return

Safari’s new season opened early and with a bang as we hosted Billabong Pro and wildly popular singer/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter to Nosara for surfing fun and a big concert at the well known ‘Tropicana’ discotheque. Due to Donavon’s busy schedule he could only come down for a few days in the first week of November which was before the season takes off, but in spite of this the concert pulled in 350 stoked revelers and was a memorable event. Safari is aligned with global surf brand Billabong, which operates and endorses surf schools and camps around the world. Their ‘Surf with a Pro” camps are unique offerings. Staged at exotic locales with perfect surf and idyllic surroundings, a limited number of enthusiasts can book a week to surf and hang with their favorite pro. Only a few select surf camp operations are chosen to host these events. Safari is stoked and proud to have been selected twice to hold Donavon’s camps, and we look forward to more in the future.

Donavon and Peter

Jammin’ with the Pros

The New Safari

We open this season in a brand new location and with renewed focus and energy. For the past 12 years Safari Surf School operated out of the Casa Tucan, a little eight room hotel and restaurant on main street Guiones. The property was sold and Safari circled the wagons around a very special property fronting the maritime zone until we secured a house and five lots to be developed into an upscale sustainable new surf resort called Olas Verdes (Green Waves). Throughout the upcoming season we will welcome surf school guests and operate out of the “Safari House” while the new resort is being developed. The approach is much different than before, as we no longer have a public hotel/restaurant to contend with. It’s a more personal hands-on style of hospitality and service, as if we are entertaining company in our own home. Guests have a choice of several lodging options, the closest and most popular being Harmony and Harbor Reef. We meet daily at the Safari House for lessons, meals, and special events. Surf lessons are conducted a short walk down a wooded path, away from the main beach crowds. Our goal is to create an inviting surfy clubhouse atmosphere where guests can relax and unwind and meet new friends.

Check out the gallery of our new friends and facility so far this season!