Andrea Diaz Launches New Women’s Surf Program with Safari Surf School

Posted by & filed under Surfing, The Inside Peak, Travel.

“Think of many things; do one.”

It is hard to believe that it has been nearly one year since Andrea Diaz sent Safari Prez Tim Marsh an email inquiring about possible job opportunities at Safari Surf School in Nosara. Born and raised in San Jose, her teenage years were devoted to the pressure-packed world of competitive swimming. But taking a volunteering position as a ranger at the National Turtle Preserve in Playa Grande at age 17 pointed her life’s compass to the ocean. It didn’t take long for surfing to catch her eye, and she knew this was her destiny.

Andrea has lived and worked in the surf industry in Tamarindo for the last 15 years. Everyone knows her there. She has three beautiful kids, “water rats” she calls them, and everyone in town watches out for one another. Her resume in the local surf community there is extensive and impressive. She was quickly recognized for her style, talent, and exuberance, earning her numerous photos in surf magazines and a coveted 7-year stint on the Roxy Team. She has held management and coaching positions in several of the top surf schools there and has been instrumental in surfing’s popularity and growth on the Nicoya Peninsula. Andrea founded ‘Surf4youth’, a non-profit outreach empowering youth through surfing and educational experiences, and also founded and served as head coach for ‘Educartes’, the first public school in Costa Rica to incorporate surfing into to their curriculum. The list of her achievements goes on and on; a very busy girl indeed!

 

 

So why, with all the surf industry work available in Tamarindo, would she consider moving her family to Nosara to “start over”?

“I had a vision”, Andrea explains, “to create a special all-inclusive ‘Women’s Retreat’; a comprehensive immersion into my holistic approach to surf training and ocean lifestyle”.

Her new program Safari Surf Women’s Retreat launched in December to rave reviews from participants. The guests experience daily yoga, surf training drills in the pool and ocean, classroom study of oceanography, water safety, and surfing essentials. After a couple of days in the water, students watch a ‘video analysis’ of their surfing performances while Coach Andrea deconstructs their surfing techniques and fundamentals.

But it is not all “Boot Camp”. The girls have a ball hanging out together, visiting local restaurants, taking in local cultural sites and events such as rodeos, fiestas, organic markets, and turtle nesting. A favorite activity is the ATV exploration tour where the gals drive ‘quads’ to remote beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, and mountains. Side trips such as zip lining, kayaking river mangrove tunnels, horseback riding, and fishing can also be arranged. Andrea’s “right-hand girl” Daniele contributes amazing support and heart to the program. “This is an experience where special new friends are made, for life” beams Dani. The Safari Surf Women’s Retreat is open to women of all abilities. Find out more on Facebook and SafariSurfSchool.com.

Have you tried surfing Nicaragua yet?

Posted by & filed under Surfing, Travel.

10% OFF ALL PACKAGESINCLUDING CUSTOM TRIPS

It’s no secret that this time of year is one of the most popular for surf trips. Most of us have time off work, want to celebrate the season and head down to the tropical waters to catch some solid sets. There is also no bigger bummer than hearing the dreaded “we’re all booked up”. We hate saying it…you hate hearing it. And, unfortunately, unless you book super early…this time of year is notorious for that very phrase.

But fret not, fellow surfers…we’re here to help! We are so stoked to announce that our Nicaragua location is finished renovations and is back online and ready for business.

Nicaragua has recently experienced a resurgence amount surf travelers because it offers some of the best surf in the world, is fairly easily traveled and frankly, is just a damn good time.

Headed up by one of our head coaches, Nicolas “Nico” Almeida, our Nicaragua location offers incredible top-notch instruction, amazing cultural adventures, and perfect surf conditions. Located at La Jolla de Guasacate, the Safari Surf Resort is perched upon a gorgeous landscaped hill with majestic ocean and mountain views. Pristine beaches and world-class waves for every level of surfer are just a short hop away. With a stylish clubhouse, restaurant, 2 pools, 18 room boutique hotel, with a luxurious spa, yoga center, and a 4 bedroom luxury rental home, Safari Surf Resort is the hottest new full-service lodging facility in the Tola and Playa Popoyo area.

We are also providing an incredible array of other activities, like deep sea fishing, SUP, yoga, horseback riding, golf (Guacalito de la Isla Golf Course & Hacienda Iguana Club), day trips to Granada, Ometepe, or other towns close by.

Just like our Costa Rica program, we provide an array of packages in Nicaragua…including completely customized trips (currently at 10% off). This is the place to book your next surf vacation.

New LGBTQ Surf Program…it’s about time, right?

Posted by & filed under Community, Surfing, Travel.

Recently, while doing some research for an upcoming project, I got tuned into a film that I found, both as a newbie surfer, and personally (in my first published acknowledgment of this…whew!) as a bi-woman, pretty eye-opening.  Produced in 2014 (I know…I’m usually late to the party), Out in the Line-up, has won multitudes of documentary awards all over the world and exposed a side of the surfing world that frankly was long overdue to be addressed.

Like many other sports, surfing hasn’t necessarily been at the forefront of LGBTQ community acceptance. We see the same narrative that has been played out over and over again…people suppressing who they because they are afraid of the very real repercussions of being an out athlete.  Out in the Line-Up illuminates these exact scenarios in the surfing world with complete candor and honesty. From former pro’s who have lost sponsorships, had to cut careers short, to surfers that have contemplated giving up the sport they love or worse because they’ve been ostracized for simply being gay.

This was surprising to me because I have always viewed the surfing community as one of complete acceptance…especially of things that may fall outside the lines of the status quo. I mean, look at us…mostly a group of sun-worshipping, vagabond seekers of the perfect left who regularly shun the norms of society in exchange for one good set at dawn patrol. The surfing community, like few others in sports, is inherently built for the inclusion of the unique and that should be fervently embraced in all its shapes, sizes, and colors.

Luckily, as a result of the efforts of passionate individuals like Thomas Castets, producer of  Out in the Line-up and founder of gaysurfers.net, and LGBTQ pro’s like Serena Brooke, the tide within the surfing community (see what I did there) has begun to significantly turn.  And frankly, it’s about damn time.

Indelible on any surfer is the transformative experience that being out on the water can provide. It’s why we all become and stay addicted…and that’s something we should want to share with anyone and everyone.

In that vein, at Safari Surf Adventures, we are very excited to launch our flagship ‘Surf Pride’ surf camp, to help celebrate and support friends and surfers in the LGBT community. The trip is open to all and has all the same features of any SSA surf camp, but is aimed to provide a comfortable, open and progressing environment for all our clients to concentrate on their surfing.

This trip is being headed up and coached by former Pro-Surfer, LGBTQ advocate, and all around cool chic, Mrs. Serena Brooke. It will also be our first camp in the land down under…so obviously, we are STOKED!

For more information on how you can get involved, what the trip includes, etc., please visit our trip page: https://safarisurfadventures.com/booking/220/noosa-heads-australia/

 

FALL IS HERE…TIME TO CHILL

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.


October in Nosara is generally considered to be the slowest month of the year, mainly due to its reputation for abundant rainfall and the majority of the town being “shut down”. Safari Surf School and Olas Verdes have made the commitment to remain open with full services year-round, which has resulted in an unexpectedly busy and eventful month.

The month started off with a very well attended water safety course held at Olas Verdes, conducted by Marvin Perez, who presented curriculum from the International Surfing Association (ISA) and the International Lifesaving Federation (ILS). Twenty-four participants came from all over Costa Rica, Central America, and even Dubai! Later in the month, Marvin held an all-day water safety “Jr. Lifeguard” course for twenty-five local children ranging in age from 7-15 years old. Marvin will also assist in the establishment and operation of two new lifeguard towers on Playa Guiones beginning in December.

Torrential rains inundated Nosara and all of Costa Rica during the first week of October as a result of Tropical Storm Nate, which formed in the Caribbean Sea, east of Costa Rica. The storm pulled moisture
into its circulation from the Pacific Ocean over a three-day period, creating devastating floods and widespread destruction throughout the country. Many families in Nosara lost everything. An amazing
community relief response immediately sprang into action providing food, clothing, shelter, and rebuilding assistance to afflicted victims.

Donations are being accepted at:
https://www.gofundme.com/amigos-de-safari-surf-y-olas-verdes

Throughout October the Pura Vida spirit flowed and those who were fortunate enough to visit were treated to our signature hospitality, amazing nature, and killer waves.

Thanks for coming and see you all soon!

THE NEXT LEVEL

Posted by & filed under Surfing, The Inside Peak, Travel.

 

Safari Surf School founder and Prez Tim Marsh can be summed up in one word: Irrepressible. Look it up and you’ll find words that say “That’s Tim!”: passionate, unquenchable, everlasting, ebullient, exuberant, buoyant, [more]high-spirited, impossible to hold back…

I remember hearing motivational speaker Joel Weldon touting his mantra “SUCCESS COMES IN CANS, NOT IN CANNOTS” – this is Tim!

With the success and growth of Safari Surf School in Nosara, Costa Rica, you’d think he’d have his hands full. He does! But inside that brain of his, the hamster wheel spins madly – he is hatching something!

A longtime dream of Tim’s has been to create a program that bridges the ‘novice’ surfer to the next level. The result has manifest in a new travel abroad guided surf coaching company call Safari Surf Adventures. Geared for the intermediate skill level surfers, Safari Surf Adventures organizes all-inclusive “coaching tutorial” group trips to exotic locales with amazing challenging waves.

With the first of two promo trips now under his belt, I asked Tim about this new adventure program and where it’s all headed.

 

1) Explain the genesis of SSA I’ve always knew there was the “next level” or “natural progression” with Safari Surf School…meaning the surf school program could only take a person so far in their surf skill set as well as one’s taste for adventure travel.

I started a business plan back in 2011 and had just about finished the plan in 2012 for the future project called Safari Surf Adventures. The program was to be dedicated to intermediate level surfers and above. Persons looking to take their surf skill set to the next level while surfing remote and exotic point type waves with top notch surf coaches in the water with you and state of the art video analysis software for recording and analyzing one’s surf technique. All this while enjoying the local cultures of the destinations we go to and traveling with a sustainable philosophy to ensure our footprint is not too large and the local communities we visit can benefit in some fashion from our presence. The plan was set and ready for a public launch in 2012. I created a page on my website letting people know there was an investment opportunity and then BANG. The rug was pulled out from under me. My partners in the hotel Casa Tucan decided they wanted to sell the hotel and Safari Surf School was about to be homeless. My focus immediately turned to finding a new location for SSS in Nosara and the SSA program was put on the back burner. Three and a half years later Olas Verdes was completed and Safari Surf School had its new home. I had achieved what I had set out to do which was to create an awesome home base for my program there in Nosara.  Late in 2016 I received an email from a person interested in an investment opportunity. I had no idea what it was about but soon came to find out a person had seen my original old web page about my investment opportunity for SSA. Literally 2 weeks later another person contacted me about the very same page / investment announcement that I had placed on the back burner some years prior. The signs were flashing and the stars seemed aligned to make my SSA program come to fruition. Through hard work and strategic relationships SSA was born and we have completed our first two pilot trips.

2) Where will future camps be held?

We have base locations in Indonesia (Timor area), Peru, Portugal, New Zealand, Morocco, and of course Nicaragua and Costa Rica. We are also looking at adding locations in Australia, Puerto Rico, and possibly in Maui. 

3) What factors go into selecting a destination?

We are looking for somewhat remote locations with shoulder seasons that are not crowded and have world class point type of surf breaks. Riding a point wave will increase one’s surf skill set exponentially! The locations need to have quality accommodations, and we are interested in training and employing local peoples where we can. Obviously we’re looking for quality people to work with in each location.

4) Who are the coaches? Describe the coaching process.

We’re in the process of working with many coaches but currently we have world ranked # 2 surf pro Serena Brooke working with us in the Australia, Indo, and New Zealand area. WE have Kimber Kinley along with my local SSS staff members who are ISA Level 2 Surf Coaches like Alonso, Helberth, Pio, Luis etc. working with us in the Americas (Peru, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua). We’re always looking for high end surf coaches to join us!

5) Will the trips be videoed and photographed?

All trips surf sessions will be videoed along with photographs, but our main content will be video as this is what we will be using to analyze and breakdown surfing technique and performance. All video, photos, and analysis footage will be provided to guests.

6) Who is this new programed geared towards?

So far, we’ve had mostly SSS alumni which has been so cool! There is really no right or wrong board type for these trips. Most I will say have been guests shortening their boards and getting more comfy on mid-range length to short boards. We’ve had men and women with all types of age variance …really this program is for everyone who is a solid intermediate level surfer.

7) What other activities are offered along with surfing?

Ha …what don’t we do! Of course there are all type of ocean and land-based activities to partake in. We also visit local schools, local cultural events, local communities. For example, on our latest Rote, Indonesia trip we all toured the island on mopeds, visiting remote communities, markets, hidden beaches, and restaurants – A Blast!

8) How did the first two trips go? AMAZING !!

These were “pilot” trips to get people there and provide us feedback while we also did a ton of video so we can create location story board videos for these locales as well. 

9) Where can we find out more on SSA?

Our website is now live: www.safarisurfadventures.com We also have pages on Facebook and Instagram.

 

Assignment: Describe Surfing in THREE Words

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak, Uncategorized.

“Fun, Not Fun, So Fun!”

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This was my assignment for a group of students who spent a busy March week with us here in Nosara. Group coordinator Jason Roderick, an administrator and school counselor at Providence County Day School in Rhode Island brought 15 lucky students on his annual ‘Spring Break Surf/Yoga Retreat’ at Safari Surf School. This was Roderick’s SEVENTH annual trip!

Jason believes that surfing can offer students a positive alternative stress reliever and explains, “as the PCD Wellness Coordinator, my goal is to offer students the opportunity to experience healthy and organic ways to reduce and manage stress. Furthermore I want kids to push themselves (in a safe environment) to experience a different place and people; to respect the local community and culture, and to learn self-sufficiency, as important tools to be utilized throughout high school, college and the rest of their lives”.

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This year’s Surf/Yoga group was kept busy with surf lessons, zip-lining adventures, daily yoga and meditation sessions, a beach walk clean-up, and a spirited soccer game verse the Safari Surf instructors on the village soccer field. At the end of the day sleep came easily!

Needless to say everyone had a solid time…but, it wouldn’t be school without an assignment, right?

So we decided to come up with one…

Without exception surfing has a profound impact on one’s psyche – it’s fast and beautiful and fluid and dangerous all in one. A good time to register the impact surfing can imprint on someone’s demeanor is to catch them immediately upon exiting the ocean. This is when we asked students to pause and describe surfing in three words. The answers were awesome…here are some responses:

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Whenever I meet a new guest I give them the ‘Safari Surf School Guarantee’:

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Sustaining Substainability

Posted by & filed under Sustainability, The Inside Peak, Uncategorized.

Olas Verdes, Nosara

Olas Verdes, Nosara

In December of 2015, our partner hotel Olas Verdes opened its doors to the public. Touted as the world’s first L.E.E.D. Platinum rated surf hotel in the world, the project has received wide acclaim for its innovative design and management approach. I spoke recently with General Manager Luis Pardo, who has been at the helm of this noteworthy operation since its inception.

What does ‘Sustainable’ mean?
It’s the ability to run an operation than minimizes the ecological impact, while creating a positive effect to the community and its economy.

“We kept 85% of the original trees, planted over 15 times the amount cut, and added near 3,000 native plants.  We strive to furnish everything needed for the operation from local sources; supplies, food products, and employees. That’s not always possible, but it is the goal.  We are very active with community organizations and invest a good deal of resources in training and development of our staff.  We are proud of what we have achieved, but are conscious that it is a continual learning process and requires periodic reviews of our practices.”

Green Earth * Green Waves * Green Operation

Green Earth * Green Waves * Green Operation

Walking the Walk
“I lived in the United States for 10 years and worked as a manager for a popular casual dining chain restaurant. It was there I had a huge “epiphany” regarding the throw-away crisis our world is facing – plastic drinking straws! I saw that these straws came in huge boxes, and they were each individually wrapped in paper. They are used one time and then discarded. When I thought it through I pondered the foot print to manufacture, market, and ship them, an incredible expenditure of energy and resources, all ultimately destined for the landfill. This realization had a profound impact on me and inspired me to study and implement sustainable practices in my daily life.”

Project Manager & “Sustainability Guru” Carl Kish addresses the staff

Project Manager & “Sustainability Guru” Carl Kish addresses the staff

Sustainable Tourism
“Costa Rica endorses an ecological/environmental ethic in its developmental and operational policies. We protect our forests, wildlife, and natural resources. This instills pride and participation in our population. It’s cool to be green! The Costa Rica Tourism Boards states: The development of sustainable tourism must be seen as the balanced interaction between the use of our natural and cultural resources, the improvement of the quality of life among the local communities, and the economic success of the industry, which also contributes to national development.”

Olas Verdes – Model of Sustainability
“We are so fortunate to have owners who are dedicated to very high standards of ecology and environmentalism. From day one they insisted on building a state of the art sustainable hotel. It takes longer and costs more to do it right from the beginning, but it pays off! ”

Sustaining Sustainability
“It all comes down to a commitment on a personal level. My employees purchase and use the same biodegradable products the hotel uses for their homes. There is a sense of pride and personal responsibility in being a part of this special operation. They understand why we do not provide drinking straws, iron the bed sheets, or have hair driers in the bathrooms. They want to leave the world a better place for their children.”

More details on how Olas Verdes is committing to sustainability.

Rethinking Your Local Surf Bum

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

Safari Surf Instructor Erick Aragon – Miner with a Heart of Gold!

Safari Surf Instructor Erick Aragon – Miner with a Heart of Gold!

As Erick and I sat down to chat, I was trying to explain to Erick the definition of “surf bum”. He had never heard the expression before. After a lengthy attempt, (“you know, a lazy, derelict ne’er-do-well beach bum”) Erick eyed me quizzically and replied dead serious: “I do not understand this”.

Erick comes from country-life roots. Born in San Jose, he grew up in Nosara. Skateboarding, surfing, and fishing grabbed his attention early on. So where did he get this ‘ambition’ for more?

“I have always been interested in science”, he shares. “Maybe it comes from been absorbed in the nature that surrounds us here. To me I see science, and I want to study it deeply”.

Not long ago I read in some trendy, uber-cool travel blog: Nosara Costa Rica – the perfect getaway to get your inner surf-bum on! And sure, at 1st glance a lot of Nosara’s surf elite seem ideal candidates for the ‘surf bum’ profile.I remember back in the day when long hair and surfing automatically enrolled you in this dubious category. But if you look further, you’ll be surprised at the many things they accomplish!   Time has revealed that we surf-rats also went on to earn college degrees, have careers, and raise successful families.

All of Safari Surfs’ instructors have a serious introspective demeanor…and Erick is no exception. He set his sights on personal progress early on in his life. In 2011, he enrolled in Universidad de Costa Rica…

“I wanted to major in something involving nature and the outdoors. I have always loved science; chemistry and physics are my favorites. When I discovered the field of geology I knew it was what I wanted to study”.

Erick graduated in 2016 and now holds a bachelors degree in Geology.

Geology Department Graduates, Class of 2016

Geology Department Graduates, Class of 2016

So…what does he have in store next?

“My goal is to work on my Masters Degree somewhere out of Costa Rica, maybe in the states or Europe. Eventually I would like to have a career in the environmental sciences”

Thoughts on Nosara (scientifically speaking, of course!)

“Nosara is growing rapidly and we need more regulations and controls on building and zoning requirements. Water rights and conservation needs to be carefully managed and protected. The Government needs to step-up its development of infrastructure here in sustainable ways; we need the main road paved. Let’s take care our paradise home”.

Here at Safari Surf, we are SO fortunate to have wonderful individuals like Erick…we are so very proud of him.

“Lead the life you love, love the life you lead” he says; THAT is Pura Vida!”…thanks Erick!

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A Nosara Christmas Story

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

What’s the most memorable Christmas present you ever received; a train set, a sled, a new surfboard??

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Well, Safari Surf School senior instructor Pio Ruiz’s gift to his parents will really blow your mind!

I first caught wind of what Pio was up to six months ago.

His very sweet parents have lived in their little rustico casita down by the river all their lives. Little Pio was born and raised there as were his brothers and sisters. The reason I know about this is that we live quite close by. In dry season we can cross the river into town and would pass by Pio’s folks house every day and smile and wave to them. They would almost always be sitting on the porch, his mom clutching an old oversized Bible. They always appeared peaceful and content, and always waved back. “These are the simple joys of living here” I thought, “the real “Pura Vida”.

So what was Pio doing scouting about on some nearby undeveloped land? I asked him one day and he replied: “my parents own all this property and I am going to build them a new house”.

Well of course this piqued my interest, and I soon learned all about this remarkable man’s lifetime dream.

Pio:  “Ever since I was a young boy I knew I wanted to do something really special for my parents. They raised me in a loving environment and always took great care of me. They encouraged me to follow my dreams. So I became a surfer at a young age and it became my passion and livelihood”.

Pio has always been a very focused individual. When I first met him he had a bitchin’ 4×4 Toyota truck and took great care of it. I later learned that he owned his own home. When I interviewed him for a Safari ‘Instructor Profile’ three years ago he told me “I don’t like it when I hear people say ‘Tico Time’, which I guess means it’s ok to be late – It’s NOT ok to be late”!  As I got to know him better I developed a great admiration for his gentility, sincerity, and big heart. And oh yeah, the boy can surf…

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The New House: So it turns out that Pio is very disciplined with his earnings and has been saving for years towards this dream. “My goal was to move them into the house by Christmas of this year and I made it”!!

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One of my all-time favorite photos. Pio’s folks in the original family home.

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The term ‘Pura Vida’ has been around in Costa Rica dialect for many decades. In English it translates to ‘pure life.’ In local Tico culture it has become the expression of eternal optimism embodied by the people who live this peaceful, simple, uncluttered life with a deep appreciation for nature, family, and friends.

Kind of reminds you of the real “Christmas Spirit”!!

So good on ya brother Pio! This is a Christmas Story for the ages!!

Moving Day!

Moving Day!

 

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Home, sweet, home

Safari Surf’s “12 Dias de Navidad”

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

 

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Here at Safari Surf, Christmas time is always a special time of year. We are in the middle of our busy season, which not only means there’s a lot going, we also get to see some of our favorite guests come back to enjoy some holiday “Pura Vida”!

So what do Safari Surfers want for Christmas this year?

We asked 12 of Safari Surf’s Christmas Elves what was on their list this year…


Pio
“ Spending time with my family”Pio

 

Marlon
“ Surf trip to Witches Rock with friends spending all day in the green room”
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Erick
“ I really, REALLY want a NEW 5’8″ Firewire Surfboard!”
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Jazz
“ My very own house built with beach driftwood”
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Luis Pardo
“ All day private coaching session at perfect Velzland in Hawaii”
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Luis ‘Gato’
“Perfect secret spot barrels with friends on Christmas day”
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Alonso
“Happy family, lots of work…and money, of course!”
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Ali
“Good health and prosperity in my restaurant…OH! And new shoes!
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Helberth
“Two NEW JS Industries surfboards…and to surf with you again abuelito!”
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Maritza
“I wish for peace an health, and big success for our restaurant…and a new watch :)”

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Kevin
“A new wine-colored Toyota Tacoma and a surf trip to Australia!”
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Sebastion
“I wish for a new soccer ball, shoes, and tambores (drums)”
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