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!


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!



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”!




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!


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!




Great group this week. Thanks for coming friends!

Top: Wayne, Michael, Ashley, Miriam

Bottom: Eric, Robert, Steve