New Season Opens With A Bang!

Posted by & filed under Community, The Inside Peak.

Olas Verdes Hotel

Olas Verdes Hotel

We have lots to report in this edition of inside Peak!

November brought an unusual amount of heavy rain early in the month, but that didn’t seem to deter the crush of surf and yoga enthusiasts that descended upon our town. Emerging from the languorous state most of us year-rounders fall into during September, an early crush of fun-seekers sort of took us by surprise. Suddenly, this place was hopping! Tour operators, restaurants, and local businesses reported record traffic – all signs of a busy season ahead. Olas Verdes Hotel (pictured above) opened its doors in soft-opening mode and along with it, on-site partners Safari Surf School and Restaurante El Manglar came into a new chapter of life. There were lots of meetings, training sessions, and quite simply a lot of work-work-work going on throughout the month as we all came together to launch this beautiful, new enterprise.

Olas Verdes Group Shot

Olas Verdes Group Shot

Cheers from Safari Surf

Safari Surfs first guest of the new 2015-16 season was Steve Beck from Southern California. Steve stayed at a nearby hostel for his first few days while he waited for the finishing touches to his room at Olas Verdes Hotel. What fun it was to watch his transition from rustico to luxury. We are all muy orgulloso (very proud) of this magnificent, new and sustainable Costa Rican operation!

Luis Video Analysis

Luis’ Video Analysis

Guest, Steve Beck

Guest, Steve Beck

Late in 2015 we also had the pleasure of hosting another lovely guest – LA transplant and well-known travel blogger Alyssa Ramos. The work of this travel writer has graced the pages of outlets Matador Network, Geo Chic, The Mirror UK and The Huffington Post, just to name a few. She authors the blog MyLifesAMovie – a site that achieves over 100,000 unique visitors each month – and her social media reach, alone, is impressive, with over 27,000 followers (and growing) on Instagram alone. Alyssa’s unique approach to her craft focuses on travel destinations for the solo traveler. Alyssa took to surfing quickly, and gracefully, publishing two fantastic blogs about her experiences here in Nosara at Safari Surf School. Be sure to check her work out here. We are grateful!

10 Ways You’ll Feel Pura Vida In Nosara, Costa Rica

10 Tips For Learning How to Surf Like a Tica

Alyssa Ramos of "My Life Is A Movie"

Alyssa Ramos of “My Life Is A Movie”

Alyssa Ramos Making Friends

Alyssa Ramos Making Friends

G-Love in da House!

Undoubtedly a November milestone was the benefit concert at Olas Verdes for Nosara Community Watch. Safari presidente Tim Marsh hatched the idea of hosting a fun new season kickoff concert, and was able to score the very talented G-Love to headline the show. Also performing were local favorites The Pelada Dogs, as well as Tim and Marsi’s daughter Camille, an aspiring singer and songwriter whose performances and talent you can enjoy from this YouTube Channel.

Sponsored by Safari Surf School, Olas Verdes, and Surfing Nosara, the event was a huge success, and a stellar example of what is possible when  everyone comes together for the good of the community. A high point was the duet sung by G-Love and Camille in front of 300+ cheering fans!

Pelada Dog Performs on Nosara Beach

Pelada Dog Performs on Nosara Beach

Camille performs with GLove

Camille performs with GLove

Dr Ray

Dr Ray

On the scene with GLove

On the scene with GLove

Thank You Carl!

CARL PIX HERE

I would like to take this moment to recognize our friend Carl Kish. Dubbed ‘The Sultan of Sustainability’, Carl’s contribution to Olas Verdes has been enormous. He essentially came on board fresh from college where he had graduated with a degree in Sustainable Tourism. He was charged with guiding the building of the project to LEEDS Green Construction Standards, and in a Latin country no less. Carl took it all on with a refreshing energy and conviction. You will be hearing more about the myriad accomplishments Olas Verdes has achieved in sustainability in the near future. You can follow more of Carl’s sustainability initiatives through his website and certification entity, Stoke Certified.

Carl Kish..Salud!

Carl Kish..Salud!

AND NOW FOR SOME PHOTO FUN!!!

Carl Kish Discussed LEED

Carl Kish Discussed LEED

Pete “The Fit Guy” and Timmy Marsh share a sweet wave

Tim and Estabrooks

Tim and Estabrooks

Emma Guitar on a long green left (Ola Verde)

ema (3)Leah on a long green right!

ya ya blue wave

Ya Ya Blue Wave

The Ya Ya Surf-Sisterhood!

Ya Ya Sisters!

Ya Ya Sisters!

Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!

Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!

Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!

 

Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!

Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!

Spreadin’ the Love!

G Love and Team

Surf Faster With These Tips

Posted by & filed under Surfing.

Playa Guiones Rip

So you’ve mastered the basics: you can paddle and catch waves with ease, stand up and drop in and bottom turn. Now what? The next step is learning to create and maintain speed! Speed is one of the most important elements in surfing. Without it, you won’t be able to perform even the most basic moves and turns. It’s the same with skiing, snowboarding, or pretty much any board type of sport; speed is the key to maneuverability.

With that said, here are some helpful tips to surf faster:

Checking and Understanding the Waves

First things first! Before you hop in the water, you have to check the waves. Watching the waves and understanding the type of wave / break it is will certainly help you understand how to ride the actual wave. I almost always sit and watch waves for about 10 minutes, especially at new breaks I’ve never surfed before. By watching the waves and how they are breaking you can see where the “sections” that are faster come along while the wave is breaking, where it may close out, where it may soften or slow down, etc. Of course there is no substitute for actually riding the wave. At least seeing how it is breaking before you jump on them will help – especially with watching a few waves other surfers catch and seeing how they ride the wave to completion.

Bottom Turn – Stay High!

Your initial bottom turn is the key to your entire wave. By timing it right, staying low with a low center of gravity, with legs bent and coiled like a spring, you should release that “coil” spring in your legs to project yourself down the line. This will automatically thrust yourself down the line and high up on the face of the wave. That initial burst of speed is the catalyst for the rest of your wave. As they say in surfing, “Your bottom turn is EVERYTHING.” Once you have propelled yourself forward from that initial bottom turn and you find yourself on the upper third of the wave…this is where you will always reach the apex of speed on a wave.

Stay Close to the Pocket (“S” Turns)

Staying close to the energy source (the pocket) is a key factor in maintaining speed, for as the closer you are to the curl or epicenter of the waves power source the faster you will go. The wave will dictate what your next move is but in this little piece I’m going to explain how to keep your speed or if need be, even go faster. (I’ll cover slowing down / cutbacks at another time).

The classic “S” turn, or as we surfers say a lot “pumping down the line,” are terms for generating and keeping our board speed high. The “S” turn is really quite simple and I equate it to a coiled spring that contracts and expands. If you’ve ever watched a surf movie, or perhaps above average surfers at the beach, you notice this when the surfers are “pumping” or expanding and contracting like a coil to gain speed on a wave. While going high on the wave then low, then high, then low – ”pumping” their legs from a bent (contracted) to extended (expand) position in rapid succession – they are creating the speed needed to go faster down the line of the wave.

Keep Your Board Clean (and Fins)

Make sure to clean the bottom of your board. This will help you move faster on the water. Believe it or not but I see people all the time with wax marks on the bottom of their boards from boards laying on each other, or whatever other reason. Your fins also have a lot to do with speed, as does the design of your surfboard (yet another article topic coming soon).

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Relax and Watch

I cannot emphasize to you how important it is to watch other surfers in the line up. This is a great way to see other people’s styles and also how they “read” the wave while surfing it. Of course this is also a great way to self-teach, too. Just relax and let the waves come to you. Like anything else, practice, practice, practice each maneuver until you have the confidence to know that you can execute whenever you need them. Aloha!

Don’t Forget These 5 Surfing Essentials

Posted by & filed under Surfing, Travel.

One of the greatest moments of a surf trip is the second you first step onto the beach, feeling the anticipation of the adventure to come. The last thing you want in that moment is to realize in that you’ve forgotten something crucial. With so many items essential to your surfing trip, we’ve put together a list of 5 surfing necessities that you should always pack before you head out to catch some waves.

Surf Essesntials

Sunscreen

When you’re out in the sun all day it’s important to bring a high quality, waterproof sunscreen to protect your skin. Try to get a container that is small enough to keep in a pocket of your board shorts. When you’re a hundred yards out and need to reapply, you’re much more likely to do it if it’s in your pocket than if you have to make your way back to the beach. Don’t come home a lobster.

Backup Leash

The last thing you want when you’re out surfing is for your leash to break, especially if you don’t have a backup. Bring at least one or two extra leashes of varying thicknesses in case yours breaks. It’s ideal to have a thinner leash in small surfs to prevent unnecessary drag, and thicker ones as the wave size increases, but beggars can’t be choosers. If your leash breaks, whichever one you have in your bag will do.

 

Board Repair Kit

Having a board repair kit in your bag can be extremely helpful for fixing dings as they happen. Before getting a kit, it’s important to check what type of foam your board is made of. Boards that are made of polyurethane can be fixed with polyester or, if you have it, epoxy resin. If your board is made of EPS Blanks, make sure to use epoxy resin instead of polyester, because polyester can damage your board. A good repair putty that can work on either type of board is FCS Instant Repair Putty.

Day Bag

Many people don’t think to bring a day bag with them on a trip, because they’re often already bringing a larger travel bag with them. It’s easy to ding up your board when moving from car to car or getting on a boat, and bringing a day bag would provide the extra protection your board needs while you’re out and about.

Surf Wax

It’s important not to forget to bring your preferred brand of surf wax, because they may not have it where you are going. Additionally, you need to make sure that you bring the wax that best suits the climate you’re surfing in, so you can be sure it won’t melt.

 

Before you hit the road with just your board and your wetsuit, make sure to think through everything you might need. This quick list of things we often forget ourselves will set you up for success on your next surf trip. Don’t be caught unprepared!

Going Green Without Going Crazy

Posted by & filed under Sustainability.

The sustainability movement has truly come a long way in the last ten years. The stereotype of the environmentally conscious as a tree hugging hippie has long since passed with the rise of organic and pesticide free products in our everyday supermarkets. That being said, we still have an incredibly long way to go when working to make our earth a cleaner, better place and there are things we can all do to improve. One of the best guides we’ve found to living a sustainable life is Sara Gilbert’s The Imperfect Environmentalist: A Practical Guide to Clearing Your Body, Detoxing Your Home, and Saving the Earth (Without Losing Your Mind).

imperfect enviro

The author, who many know as Darlene Conner from the ABC sitcom Roseanne and more recently Leslie Winkle on the Big Bang Theory, is a lifelong environmental activist that has put together a fantastic reference manual on living green. The book is broken up into 10 parts such as clean eating, clean household products, and clean transportation and is great to have lying around when you need to find the most sustainable way of cleaning your couch or getting to work. Broken down by the level of financial ability from Donald Trump to sleeping on someone’s couch and living off ramen noodles making it easy for anyone to see what they can do right now to reduce their ecological footprint.

Living a sustainable lifestyle is all about choices and frankly, it can be just as easy if not easier in some cases to do what’s right by the environment. Some of the great tips Sara provides are to substitute chemical household cleaners with a cheap half white vinegar half warm water mixture in a spray bottle and to check the label for Low or Zero-VOC on gallons of paint before remodeling your living room. It’s these little decisions that when added up can help us do right by the earth. So tomorrow when you’re doing laundry or make the decision to run that last load on cold or reminding yourself to turn all the lights off before you go to work. There are so many ways that we can be green without going crazy.

NOTES
The author of the book is Sara Gilbert, also known as Darlene Conner from the ABC sitcom Roseanne and more recently the role of Leslie Winkle on the Big Bang Theory.
Environmental sustainability is important to us and you don’t need to be an activist to do it.
The book is broken up into 10 parts such as clean eating, clean household products, and clean transportation.
The book is all about “doing what we can, when we can.” And is meant to be used as a reference manual for when we need to know what to do.
She breaks it down by the level of financial ability from Donald Trump to Sleeping on someone’s couch and living off ramen noodles.
Because of the paint we use, the EPA ranks indoor air quality among the top five health risks. Scan your paint label for “Low-” or better yet, “Zero-VOC”— that’s volatile organic compound to you … but it’s not the good kind of organic. VOCs include cancer-causing toxic contaminants.
You can substitute store-bought cleaners with a spray bottle of half white vinegar and half warm water to save money and ozone toxins.
It’s all about showing us that it is just as easy to be green as it is to not be and that we can make a difference by doing the little things.
The majority of the energy used when doing laundry comes from heating up the water, use cold water when you can over hot water.
The greenest thing you can possibly do is to use what you have instead of buying something new.
Look for clothing that is made with organic cotton as up to 25% of the world’s herbicides are used in cotton production.

The Top 7 Surf Destinations for Surfers of All Levels

Posted by & filed under Community, Surfing, Travel, Uncategorized.

 

There comes a time in every surfer’s life when the itch to surf different waves comes to a “peak”. These different waves can be down the road a bit, up or down the coast, or for those lucky enough to be able to afford it…jump on a plane and go search for that perfect wave.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Hawaii…Oahu’s South Shore, where there are so many different types of waves to choose from depending on swell direction and wind direction…that is the bonus of living on an island, the wind is always offshore somewhere!

 

I got the travel bug early in my life and set out to find new waves and explore new cultures. I have located some of the dreamiest surf spots to check out for your next vacation, regardless of skill level.

 

Uluwatu and Kuta, Bali

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bali is a premier spot for surfers who are looking for a full tourist experience.   Uluwatu is an insane reef break for those with advanced intermediate to advanced surf skill set. It’s set off a major cliff, with waves running down the reef as perfect as one can draw them on paper or dream them in their head…setting surfers up with impeccable waves. For beginner surfers, the beach of Kuta is ideal with its 5km long shore free from coral reefs or rocks.

Do know that both locations can get pretty busy!

 

Surfrider Beach, Malibu

For a sweet surf spot within the Pacific U.S., Surfrider Beach (Malibu) is the perfect place to catch some great long point break waves. Malibu Point creates perfect swells, and the heart of Los Angeles is just an hour away. That being said be prepared to share waves as there are a lot of surfers in the water there looking for that perfect long wave just like you.

 

Nosara, Costa Rica

Costa Rica is a country loved by all who visit. In addition to being home to killer surfing spots, the country is full of beautiful landscapes and Ticos who live a simple lifestyle. The climate is ideal (80 – 85 degrees Fahrenheit year round), The water is in the low 80 degrees as well. Nosara is perfect for surfers of all skill levels. Convinced? Visit us at the Safari Surf School, and we’ll help you jump on a board!

 

Tourmaline Beach & San Onofre, San Diego

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 
 

 
 
 

 
 

Both beaches are California favorites, as they are ideal for surfers across the skill spectrum. If you have kids, you might want to head to Tourmaline Beach, which is full of tide pools hosting many small sea creatures. San Onofre, also known as Old Man’s Beach, is part of the top five most visited state parks in California.

 

Surfer’s Point, Barbados

Barbados is a Caribbean island with many shores catering to surfers, but Surfer’s Point is the perfect set-up for both beginner and intermediate surfers. Barbados is dedicated to tourism, so finding accommodations and a good meal after your ride will never be a challenge.

 

Taghazout, Morocco

As a country that hosts surfers who have traveled far to experience the waves at beaches like Crocodiles and Killer Point, Morocco is a hotspot for tourism. Despite the high concentration of visitors, the country’s culture remains intact. Taghazout caters to beginners and experienced surfers alike.

 

Noosa – Point Break, Queensland, Sydney

This list wouldn’t be complete without a nod to one of the many surf spots Australia has to offer. In Noosa, you will find one of the best longboard breaks in the world. The area is perfect for advanced surfers who know how to catch a ride, as well as beginners who just want to master gliding on a board.

 

We hope this list inspires you to reach your full surf potential and enables you to visit the surf destination of your dreams. Want more info on the world’s top surf locations? Check the links below.

 

http://travel.cnn.com/explorations/play/worlds-50-best-surf-spots-250983

http://www.balisurfadvisor.com/points/uluwatubeach.html

http://www.surfsim.com/surf-travel/top-10-surf-spots/asia/indonesia/bali/uluwatu-kuta/

http://www.discoverlosangeles.com/what-to-do/activities/malibu-surfrider-beach

http://adventure.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/trips/best-surf-towns-photos/#/surf-taghazout-morocco-camel_55811_600x450.jpg

http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/travel/destinations/2014/01/gallery-australias-8-greatest-surf-spots/8-greatest-surf-spots-(1)

Be Prepared: Keeping Our Surfers Safe

Posted by & filed under Surfing, The Inside Peak.

THE INSIDE PEEK – SEPTEMBER 2015
ESPIRITU-DE-CORPS: UNITY, COMMON INTERESTS AND RESPONSIBILITY IN SURFING

Folks on Playa Guiones last week were witness to quite a show, as Safari Surf School’s team of instructors underwent an arduous, week-long Lifeguard Training and Surf Rescue course.

Espiritu de Corps comes from French origins. It translates to “a sense of unity and common interests and responsibilities as developed among a group of persons closely associated in a task, cause, enterprise, etc.”

In a largely unregulated “industry” worldwide, surf schools seemingly can open on a whim with few boards and a surfer-dude instructor; little thought is given to format, technique, safety, and professionalism. As the Founder and leader at Safari Surf, I am dedicated to the cultivation of a team of top-level, highly trained and qualified surf instructors, authenticated by my ongoing support of specialized training programs and events advancing this cause. It is my assurance that our team is certified to the highest degree of preparedness and professionalism in all areas of instruction and water safety. As recently as last week, I found great joy and pride watching our Safari Surf squad of instructors running drills on the beach.

Lifeguard Training and Surf Rescue certification are a prerequisite course for inclusion in the International Surfing Association’s (ISA) professional development programs. Recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the world governing authority for the sport of surfing, the ISA Surf Coaching & Instructing Educational Program is the international standard for accreditation of Coaches and Instructors in the surf school industry.

Last week, such an intensive lifeguard training/surf rescue course was lead by Marvin Perez and his associate Kali Urena of Jaco Beach, on-site in Playa Guiones. “When we came to Nosara we didn’t know what to expect” stated Marvin. “We were so stoked to be received by such a dedicated group of guys, whom are now fully certified and ready to rock. Pura Vida!”

At Safari Surf School we take care of our team – they are our family, and we pay top dollar as well as cover their medical insurance, health insurance, retirement, social security, and vacation pay. We believe that this is not only fair, but the right thing to do.
Pura Vida, indeed!

Warm-up: Daily conditioning began with stretching and calisthenics, to kick off our ISA certification.

Daily Warm-Up: Morning exercise includes some laps around Olas Verdes’ new pool.

Coach Marvin Perez delivers his presentation through his motivational instruction technique.

Watching our lifeguard’s during sprints delivers a “Baywatch” effect, Safari-style!

Walk this way: Lifeguards practice technique and build endurance with rescue efforts.

Mealtime: Safari Surf School’s Chef Maritza’s delivers a wonderful and well-deserved meal to our lifeguards.

Turtle Arribada: Safari Surf School President Tim Marsh standing amidst an epic turtle arribada in Ostional.

Big Achievement: We are again renewed as ISA (International Surfing Association) Certified as well as Surf Rescue / Lifeguard Certified lifeguards.

Saludos amigos! A spirited send-off for Marvin and Kali. Thank you!

Are you Packing for a Purpose?

Posted by & filed under Community, Friends, The Inside Peak, Travel.

INSIDE PEAK– August 2015
Making a Difference for School Kids in Costa Rica

With a new school year just around the corner, many of us find ourselves crowding the school supplies aisles, buying our children the latest in pencils, notebooks and folders before they’re are all gone. While this can be a challenge, it’s fair to say that we can sometimes take the availability of school supplies for granted in the United States. However, our local Costa Rican schools experience a significant lack in availability of products. Owners Marsi and Tim Marsh have recognized that local schools in Nosara are in need of basic necessities, including paper, pens, crayons and chalk. In recognition of Safari Surf School’s sustainability initiatives as a core company value, the two have partnered up with both Pack for a Purpose and the Surfing Nosara Foundation, to improve the quality of education for students attending school right here in their headquartered hometown of Nosara.

When the founders of Pack for a Purpose first recognized that most travelers actually do not use all of their luggage allowance, a unique opportunity to make a difference in the education of children was seeded in their minds. They knew that by asking travelers to pack 5 pounds of supplies for a trip, born was the opportunity for travelers to both give and make a difference. By delivering the supplies directly from a traveler’s accommodations, it would be possible for every traveler to contribute and require no logistical support. Also, asking for such an amount would take only a small space, require little effort and still make a big impact. In essence, an important assignment was born, thus their mission: To positively impact communities around the world by assisting travelers who want to take meaningful contributions to the destinations they visit.

Marsi and Tim immediately fell in love with the organization and thought these words describe so well the heart behind Safari Surf and their guests. They saw it as an incredible opportunity to give back to the community in which they are operating, while helping the local kids who are a part of less-fortunate families.

Who Does This Benefit?

The beneficiary of our support is the Serapio Lopez Elementary School. With a capacity of 300 children between the ages of five and eleven years of age, they study and play out most of their days here. Of course, as Costa Rican schools set kids on the right path for their future, teachers must concentrate on English fluency, which we understand as vital for job seekers. Marsi and Tim recognize that one of the best ways for the kids to get a head start is through the availability of English books. Therefore, their goal is to establish a library of English books for the students at each of the local schools, both fostering and accelerating their education.

How Can I Help?

There are a variety of ways in which you can contribute to the success of children in Nosara. One of the easiest starting points involves the simple utilization of leftover room in your suitcase! Before heading down to Safari Surf School, throw in some supplies or gently-used children’s books in English. Check out sales on school supplies at stores or dollar-saver retail outlets in your area. These are just a few of the simple things that you can just grab and pack before your departure. Whatever value you bring, just know that owners Marsi and Tim will be most appreciative of your efforts. Upon arrival at Safari Surf School, simply drop off your donations to Jeffrey, our manager.

They proud to point out that already, hundreds of guests have participated in the program. At the end of the day, it’s all about the kids. In fact, when donation are large enough, these two and their staff can organize a delivery time, so any and all guests can participate and observe the joy of receiving on these kids’ faces!

We’ve included an extensive list of items to look out for when packing. Thank you for taking the time to make Costa Rica a better place. Pura Vida awaits!

Needs

General School Supplies:
Book Bags, Chalk, Colored Construction Paper, Colored Pencils, Crayons, Erasers, Glue Sticks, Handheld Pencil Sharpeners, Markers, Pencils, Pencil Cases/Bags, and Pens

Reference Materials:
(English) Dictionaries and Encyclopedias

Flash Cards:
(English) Alphabet, Math, and Word

Wall Charts:
(English) Language and World Maps

Text/Reading Books:
(English) Age Appropriate Story Books, Language/Grammar, and Math

Art Supplies:
Watercolor Paints and Brushes

Sports/Outdoor Activity:
Inflation Pumps, Jump Ropes, Soccer Balls, and Team Uniforms/Knits for Soccer

First Aid/Health:
Antibiotic Ointment and Band-Aids

Safari Surf Goes Surfing!

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak, Uncategorized.

INSIDE PEAK– May 2016

IMG_5736

“Team Building, as defined by Wikipedia, is the use of different types of team experiences and activities that are aimed at enhancing social relations and clarifying team members’ roles, as well as solving tasks, achieving results, meeting goals, and improving performance”.

I was surprised not to see the word motivation used in any of the team building definitions I read as I researched this subject. Safari Surfs’ recent trip to Nicaragua certainly motivated me in relation to doing my best. Safari owners Tim and Marsi Marsh have wanted to take the gang on a little ‘employee appreciation’ surf trip for some time. Everything aligned at the end of May, and we were finally able to slip away together for a few days. Our destination was the recently finished La Jolla de Guasacate resort in the wave-rich Popoyo region of southern Nicaragua. Safari Surf School recently launched a new learn-to-surf package in this spectacular location and we were all excited to see it. “La Jolla” means JEWEL, and man does the place ever live up to that description! I do not know if Tim and Marsi ever considered this getaway to be a team building experience, but from my viewpoint this little trip put fresh wind in all of our sails. As we prepare to move into the brand spanking new Olas Verdes Sustainable Surfing Resort next month, Safari Surf has never been more optimistic and stoked!

Blog-1

An Empty Left and the beautiful La Jolla Guasacaste

The Crew

                                                                      PETER                                       JEFFRY                                    TIM

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              ALI  AND MARITZA                                                                                      PIO                                                                             JORDANI

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Luis, Helberth, Erick, Kevin

Luis, Helberth, Erick, Kevin

Midnight Express

The plan was to leave at midnight, get to the border crossing at 4am, and be in the water at 8am. Tim and I had both flown in from the states the same day and we knew we would be a more than a little fuzzy. I arrived ten minutes late at 12:10 am and the crew was all there amping to get underway. The boards were all loaded on top and we jammed into the very capable Safari van. Weird things happen when you have no sleep, you begin to “see things”. But we were adrenalized by the good vibes and energy surrounding the trip.

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DSCN9166La Frontera (the border)

“One thing you learn here is patience” – Tim Marsh

Timmy’s wise words reverberated in my head as we approached the Nicaraguan border. I had visited Nicaragua before, but never entered this way (I’d flown into Managua).  The first thing we learned was that the border crossing offices did not open until 6am. We watched as a line formed at the checkpoint. When we saw a crowded bus unload its passengers into the growing mob we realized we should be in line, not slouched out in the van. We were planning to lock down the van in a guarded parking area and Bob (La Jolla owner/operator) would meet us on the other side. The scene was chaotic and confusing, but we managed to park the van and join the line for the two hour wait.

It was about at this point that Luis discovered he did not have his passport. There was no way to sugar coat this dilemma; he had to take a bus back to Nosara. He called his girlfriend Laura to tell her the news and she responding by saying “no worries, I will bring it up to you”!    DSCN9173 DSCN9144

One of the fascinating things about living here is people watching. I am amazed at the women I meet who are traveling through Central America solo, carrying only a backpack. They speak multiple languages and seem to navigate what I call the ‘third world follies ‘with determination and no fear. Laura is from Australia and she does not speak Spanish, but somehow she threaded together three bus rides to reach the border, and she and Luis made it to La Jolla by 5pm – happy hour! The rest of our merry group trudged through the arduous and hectic border crossing routine and were met by Bob who had arranged for a large van to take us to the hotel.

Made It!

Made It!

NICARAGUA                

I’d been to Nicaragua twice before, my last visit was in 2000. I was anxious to see what had changed in fifteen years. Nicaragua and Costa Rica share the Pacific Ocean and Spanish language, but that’s about it. I was astonished at the differences. The Pan American Highway is in excellent condition. The southern portion of Nicaragua is bordered by Lake Nicaragua which is huge, almost like a small ocean. The strategic positioning of the lake creates steady offshore winds which blow all day long.

Rendezvous with Bob Eason in Nica

Rendezvous with Bob Eason in Nica

Huge modern windmills dot the countryside, taking advantage of the gusty winds to create electricity. The cost of living is significantly lower than in Costa Rica; the price of land, goods, and services are a fraction of what we pay in Nosara. We turned off the paved highway and proceeded west on a good dirt road. Once we approached the beach region it was apparent how much it had changed. Dozens of private homes, beach hotels and surf camps, dot the coastline and hillsides. “Surf Colonization” had begun invading the surf zones about 12 years ago. The number of quality surf spots and cheap cost of living began to pull investors away from Costa Rica. In Nicaragua there is no discernable middle class; the rich and the poor coexist under the same sun. The Popoyo region is loaded with great surf spots, many accessible only by boat. Add in the round-the-clock offshore winds and you’ve got surf fever!

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Stunning wave-rich coastline = Surf Colonization

La Jolla de Guasacate

The La Jolla resort is the brainchild of Tim Siviter, who also maintains some beautiful rental homes in Playa Guiones. After about a year Tim brought in a partner, Bob Eason, who runs the hotel along with his lovely wife Ditmara. I had a captivating talk with Bob about his experiences over the years in Central America. At one time Bob owned the very successful surfwear brand called Picante, but his heart was in Nicaragua and he eventually sold everything and returned to the simple life he loved. The La Jolla Resort occupies 50 acres of prime ocean view land. There are currently 11 fully appointed rooms with another 12 on the way. There is also a large, beautifully furnished private home that can be rented for groups and families.  Additionally there are 114 lots for sale within an exclusive gated community, but hurry – 70 have already sold! The furnishings and amenities are modern and upscale. After our all-night jaunt and chaotic border crossing, we were all swept away by the special beauty and comfort of the place. Bobs heart has always been ‘for the people’ and he is very focused on taking care of the locals. “For 30 years these people have lived at subsistence level with no assistance from the government” Bob points out, “but they still have huge smiles on their faces”. The hotel website: http://www.lajollahotelnica.com.

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blog-5               Owner/Operators Bob & Ditmara Eason

The Surf

Nicaragua has abundant, incredible surf. The coastline is punctuated with numerous points, coves, reefs, river mouths, and sandbars producing a variety of surfing conditions suited to all ability levels. Many of these spots are only accessible by boat. Each morning our ‘A Team’ explored by boat, while Laura and I set out in search of softer breaks where Safari Surf guests are taken for their lessons. Everyone came back stoked.

Learning Friendly Waves at Magnifient Rock

Learning Friendly Waves at Magnifient Rock

 

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MAG ROCK! Note person walking at base…………………………and……………………Popoyo Flexing!                                                    

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Empty Left………………………………………………and……………………Outside Reef Beginning to Show

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The A-Team in action at Colorados

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Safari Nicaragua

Nicaragua offers a unique cultural experience in a wave-saturated ocean playground.  The food, service, and cushy comfort level of La Jolla is off the charts. Non-surfing activities include golf, horseback riding, stand-up paddling, volcanoes, fishing, kayaking, and other custom tours. Grenada is a great day trip for exploring classic colonial architecture, sightseeing, shopping and dining. Bob and Ditmara are wonderful hosts and tend to every detail to insure your comfort and stoke level.

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Ali on Horseback at the Salt Flats…………and………………………local wildlife

Hasta Pronto!

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Safari Surfs ‘Nica 2015’ trip brought us closer together and filled us with inspiration.

When is the last time you sat around a table with family or friends sharing good food, talking story, and laughing out loud? Hats off and big thanks to Tim and Marsi Marsh for such a marvelous experience. As Tim said “when it comes right down to it we are a family” Life’s a trip, better pack your bags! We look forward to your visit.

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Surfing for Life

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

INSIDE PEAK-May 15, 2015

In 2001 a remarkable entertaining and inspirational video documentary called Surfing for Life was released,  detailing the fascinating lives of nine heroic role models who are “following their bliss” through actively surfing into their seventh, eighth and ninth decades. “SURFING FOR LIFE not only challenges ageism, it also weaves a tapestry of unforgettable stories that embody many universal aspects of the human experience. The surfers’ tales reveal, among many lessons, courage in the face of adversity, the power of the human spirit and a celebration of values and relationships that contribute to rich, meaningful, well-spent lives.” From the videos press release: “Older surfers provide a great metaphor for how our society is struggling to redefine what it means to grow older. Similar to the Civil rights and Women’s movements, this age wave is tantamount to a movement and involves new behaviors – with new attitudes trying to catch-up. Could it be that “staying young” doesn’t need to be the goal after all, and that “staying well” – physically, spiritually, emotionally and mentally – becomes the goal? It’s possible if the term “OLD” can shed some of its unnecessary connotations and stereotypes. The new attitude that is emerging – and supported by lots of medical and psycho-social research – is a view of our later years not dominated by sickness and decline. Rather, the later years can be very vital, satisfying and meaningful periods of our lives.”

Nosara has been described as a “wellness town”, with yoga, healthy food, and surfing leading the way to increased vitality and longevity. We welcome surf enthusiasts of all ages at Safari  Surf. When is the best age to start surfing? Whenever you take that first step and paddle out. In this edition of Inside Peak we talk with a few of Nosara’s resident older surfers whom serve to dispel the myth that surfing is just for kids!

 

OLD GUYS RULE!

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The growth in the surfing senior citizen population started with the shift back to longer surfboards following the pivotal “shortboard revolution” of 1967-1970. Older surfers found themselves wanting equipment with better flotation and glide. A new boom in “retro” longboards took hold and mid-range “fun shapes” became popular for their user friendly qualities. Many who had stopped surfing got back on board. Fathers and mothers were surfing with their sons and daughters. Surfing was just too good to leave behind. Here in Nosara we have a healthy population of older surfers. The frequently mellow waves of Playa Guiones invites all to get involved. One look at that gorgeous blue sparkling water is all it takes – how could you not go in?!

 

Coconut Harry

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Harry Heinke is a well known icon in Playa Guiones. He is often referred to as “The Mayor”.

With his fit, tanned frame and long blond hair and perpetual big smile, he is easy to spot.

This guy is almost 65 years old?

“I first tried surfing in 1967 on a 9’6″ Gordon & Smith longboard – Virginia Beach, VA – no leashes back then, so a LOT of swimming. “Surfaried” to Cocoa Beach, FL the next year with 2 high school buddies in a VW bug and 3 longboards – slept in a state park until the park rangers ran us off. Went to college in western part of VA (Va. Tech) and worked summers to put myself through school and then got a ‘real’ job, so did not take up surfing again until mid-80’s. Started going to Hawaii – made 7 trips – heard about Costa Rica via Surfing magazine and came to CR in 1992 – found Nosara in 1994 after somebody in Tamarindo told me about it – a ‘secret spot’ he said, “don’t tell anybody”!  Although I don’t rip it up like the 20-somethings we have here at Guiones, I feel good and still have fun at my age – will be on Medicare in 3 more months…

Vaya con Dios” …..

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“THE MAYOR” AT THE OFFICE

LuLu Wiegers

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At 67 years young Lulu radiates boundless positivity, aloha, and stoke. “ I love love love surfing” she beams, “its my life, what I want to do forever! I started when I was 14 years old in Manhatten Beach, California. I took a 20 year detour with marriage and some bad choices, but

Thank God I got back into it and never looked back. Everything I do; eating, exercise, yoga, swimming, biking, etc. – I do to keep in shape for surfing. I live in Guiones 10 months out of the year and love the warm water, wave consistency, and positive vibes in the water. Back when I started there weren’t so many girls surfing and I felt like one of the guys. Now there are so many good woman surfers here, it’s so great. I plan to continue surfing forever! Age is just a number! Get out there with us!”

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“VIDRIO AZUL” – BLUE GLASS…..

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LULU IS EASY TO SPOT IN HER DARK GLARE-REDUCING ‘SEA SPECS’

 

John McGovern

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Pictured above, John is a dedicated “North End” surfer (along with me!).“I began surfing at age 16 on Long Island at a beach called Gilgo Beach.  So I have been surfing about 50 years in the summers.  Now summer is all year long since retirement 12 years ago.  I still work as a lifeguard supervisor in the summers at Tobay Beach on the south shore of Long Island so when there is surf I am on it. I am beginning my 48th year working on the beach in the summer so other than not surfing in the winters I have always surfed May thru September.    As far as surfing into old age, I have never lost my desire to get in the water whenever I can.  I think being active keeps you young to a certain extent and surfing is my favorite all time sports activity.  Hope I can continue for many years to come”

‘JOHNNY-MAC’ GIVING THE NORTH END A WORKING OVER

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Peter Lewis

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DSCN8952 (2)THE WAY WE WERE …………………………….   AND NOW AT 63

“I started surfing in Ocean City, New Jersey back in the early 60’s. We would surf year-round in inferior wetsuits where we taped the seams with masking tape to try to stop the freezing water from getting in. When the ‘Summer of Love’ rolled into town in 1967 everything changed. Surfing back then was more aligned with the counter-culture than the high school football team, pep rallies, and cheerleaders. By the end of that summer I had grown a sun bleached peach-fuzz mustache and sideburns, a burgeoning hipster! We were the original gang of Baby-Boomer surfers in Ocean City. There are only two of us left from that original group who never quit surfing, me and Monk. Everything I did in my life reflected my need for ‘water time’ – where I went to college, career choices, relationships, marriage – all focused on being near an ocean.  In 2008 I moved to Nosara with my wife, ‘looking for the seventies’, I like to say. It didn’t take long for me to find my way to Safari Surf, and I have worked there for the last 6 years. Guests seem to get a kick out of this old fossil still stoked and in the water every day. Safari is one of the best things to happen for me here. My wife Emily retired from 35 years of critical care nursing and now makes carrot cake! In two weeks my daughter Amber and granddaughter Jaida are moving here, bringing the family back together again. Pura Vida.

BODY-SURFING WITH DAD AT PLAYA PELADA

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MY THREE SURFER GIRLS!

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THE ORIGINAL SURFING FOR LIFE CREW (AGES 59-89)

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For more on the Surfing for Life documentary: http://www.surfingforlife.com

old guys rule

The Bermuda-Costa Rica Connection

Posted by & filed under The Inside Peak.

INSIDE PEAK April 10, 2015

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Playa Guiones

What comes to mind when one thinks about Bermuda? For sure the Bermuda Triangle pops up, but anything else? I venture that most of us (like myself) knows very little about this fascinating island.

Bermuda is the most northerly group of coral islands in the world, lying just beyond the Gulf Stream some 650 miles off the coast of the Carolinas. Although very small and isolated in its part of the ocean, it offers a wide variety of places to see, people to meet, and things to do. With an economy based on tourism and international business, Bermudians enjoy a high standard of living with almost no unemployment, no national debt, and no income tax. Sounds like paradise to me! Google Bermuda and your senses are bombarded by a panorama of dreamy blue seascapes – every shade of blue imaginable! One of the great joys of living in Nosara and working at Safari Surf is that it opens a portal to the big wide world we live in. The Bermuda-Nosara connection was spawned five years ago by long time Bermudians the Hammond family. “We were looking for a vacation where the boys could learn to surf, at least stand up” Sharon Hammond reflects. “Richard did a lot of research on the internet and found Safari Surf and signed us up”. “Everything about that first trip just resonated, says Richard, we all loved it; the waves, the food, the spirited people, and we kept returning for more”. As is likely to happen, it’s hard to keep a good secret, and as the Hammonds relayed their surf stories to close friends, the connection grew. “I reckon we are now up to around thirty-five fellow Bermudians that love the place and return every year”. And you have never met more affable, gentle, lovely slice humanity anywhere. It dawned on me that this is how Nosara continues to grow, with these kinds of good hearted, fun-loving families tuning into the Pura Vida. It’s magical, really!

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Meet the Hammonds – Richard, Rudi, Louie, Sharon

 We always love when Team Bermuda is in da house! Talk about energy, they are all buzzing with stoke and can’t wait to get wet. I reflect on my past trips here when we lived in Florida. I was absolutely rabid to catch as many waves as possible, and bottle it all up to get me through the flat spells. The beauty of this place is that there are always waves breaking out there, it is a constant, a defining gift that Nosara proudly offers. Bermuda is ringed by a coral barrier reef which results in beautiful calm swimming beaches, but also prevents consistent rideable surfing waves from forming. Nosara’s ever-reliable consistency can take care of our surf-starved friends in no time!

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Bermudas Barrier Reefs “consume” Incoming Wave Energy

Here a kite surfer rides the wind!

Rudi and Louie

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Serious Q & A with my new bros

Over the years I have watched Rudi (12) and Louie (11) not just become better surfers, but also turn into solid people. Surfing does that, it immerses you in something larger and very powerful, what I like to call Big Blue. They are easy going and fun-loving. They love the food here and are always hungry! “Fish, plantains, and Britt chocolates” the lads enthusiastically exclaim. They already have monikers or nicknames, perhaps to keep in pace with instructors Chumi, Gato, Hellboy, and Pio!

‘Tsumani Rudi Gabas’ on a Screamer!

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‘Big Wave Louie’ Sets up a nice Bottom Turn

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Richard and Sharon

It is interesting how many doctors come to Safari Surf. Richard and Sharon are M.D.s in Bermuda.

I asked them what fuels the economy there: “tourism has been overtaking by the reinsurance industry” explains Richard. What is that I asked? “Reinsurance is insurance issued for Insurance Companies, and Bermuda is a leading hub for this”. When asked about Bermudas beaches, Sharon says “oh we have many lovely beaches here, perfect for snorkeling and swimming, but few waves”.

 Richard Backdoors a Nice Section

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Sharon Pulling in at the Boca

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Beautiful Seascapes but No Waves!

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The Bermuda Triangle

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The real Bermuda Triangle in my book is the connection to Nosara spawned by the Hammonds’ sharing with their friends via the Coconut Telegraph. Richard says “we would come back after these fabulous surfing vacations and spread the word to our best friends. They would look at the photos of the whole family surfing together and one by one more families joined the next trip.” “Let’s see” says Sharon, “We have the Pecketts, Outerbridges, Skinners, Betts, Kendalls, and Wojo’s, that’s nearly 40 people!”.  Many thanks to all of our Bermuda families for coming – our house is yours!

Sharon and Rudi spending Quality Time

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Our House is Your House

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 Team Bermuda – April 2015

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