Our return guests likely know the Safari Surf story, but for those who don’t, we’ve decided to revisit our history as we continue to grow our business operations in Costa Rica and beyond. Safari Surf School, Nosara’s premier Costa Rica surf school, began decades ago, born out of a passion for surfing and a love for Costa Rica, its land, waves, and people. For many, the idea of starting a business in a foreign country is a distant dream that never materializes. For Tim Marsh and Marsi, our founders, it was inevitable. Dive in below to find out how it all began and learn the history of our Costa Rica surf school.
After traveling to Costa Rica to surf in 1995 and falling in love with the country and its waves, Tim and Marsi returned the following year and bought a small market in Garza, where they lived and worked. Making a living selling sandwiches to traveling surfers and fishermen while living on the beach seemed like a dream, but the slow season proved too much to bear, and Tim and Marsi returned to the states.
By 1997, Tim and Marsi had resumed their lives in the States but were still just scraping by. When Marsi revealed she was pregnant, Tim knew he needed to get his act together. He got a job in the mortgage business, bought a house and a Range Rover, and began checking all of life’s boxes. Despite his success, Tim knew that something was missing.
The Turning Point
One day in the late nineties, Tim ran into an old friend, Pat Weber. Pat had started a surf school in California and was living the dream—surfing every day and getting paid to do it. He handed Tim a surf school t-shirt and said to keep in touch. Tim’s run-in with Pat changed everything and gave him the perspective he needed to realize his dreams. He missed the Pura Vida lifestyle, the people, and the waves in Costa Rica.
A Costa Rica Surf School is Born
When Tim was a boy living and surfing on Oahu’s South Shore in Hawaii, he would ask tourist girls if they wanted to learn how to surf. Sitting in his office, Tim realized his dreams were right in front of him all along. “Why not start a Costa Rica surf school?”
Tim called his brother Tyler, who was living in Costa Rica at the time, and proposed starting a Costa Rica surf school. Tyler was enthusiastic about the idea, but neither of them knew how to start a surf school. They used to eat at Casa Tucan in Nosara, so they approached the owners and asked if they could start a surf program based to help attract more guests. They got the OK from the team at Casa Tucan, and the Safari Surf School was born.
The first few years were tough for Safari Surf School, as Tim and Tyler had to work tirelessly to grow the business. Over time, they built a reputation for providing high-quality surf lessons and excellent customer service.They hired experienced, local surf instructors, who were passionate about teaching and spreading stoke.
Safari Surf School Today
Today, Safari Surf School is a premier Costa Rica surf school with 24 years of surf lesson excellence. Located in Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica, we offer surf lessons, surf tours, surf retreats, and so much more. Since opening our doors in 1999, Safari Surf has expanded to Panama and Ecuador with new surf schools with the same founding philosophy based on a love of surfing and spreading stoke and joy to all of our students.