While most nations preach about sustainability but fail to follow through on the bulk of their promises, Costa Rica leads by example and has been doing so for decades. Long before sustainability was a trend, Costa Rica realized the importance of protecting its natural resources, in part because of their uniqueness. Costa Rica only takes up 0.03% of the Earth’s surface, but the small Latin American nation contains 5% of the world’s land-based biodiversity and 3.5% of its marine life. Since the 1980s, Costa Rica has taken the reigns and become a global leader in environmental protection and combating climate change. To find out how Costa Rica is Leading the Global Charge in Sustainability, continue reading below.
As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our surf coaches who is also the assistant manager and head of our women’s retreat, Dani. Dani and I caught up after his morning lesson.
As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our long-time surf coaches, Alonzo.Continue reading
As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce one of our surf coaches who has been with us for years, Pio. Pio and I caught up after his morning lesson.Continue reading
As we mentioned in our Sustainability Goals for 2021 post, our local staff are the x-factor of Safari Surf School. As the first school to open up shop in Nosara, back in 1999, Safari Surf has been a trendsetter for similar businesses in Costa Rica. In over 20 years in business in Costa Rica, we’ve learned that no one quite compares to the local community. Our staff has a deep passion for surfing, the ocean, and sharing Costa Rican culture and Pura Vida hospitality with our guests. Since we were the first surf school to open in Nosara, some of our staff members have been with us for decades. Others have come on board a bit later, but either way, our staff is our family. In this week’s Safari Surf Staff Highlight, we introduce our long-time Operations Manager, Jeffery Noguera. Jeffery and I sat down after my morning surf when he was just getting back to the office from filming clients on the beach.Continue reading
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/
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.
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!
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
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!
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.
AND NOW FOR SOME PHOTO FUN!!!
Pete “The Fit Guy” and Timmy Marsh share a sweet wave
Emma Guitar on a long green left (Ola Verde)
Leah on a long green right!
The Ya Ya Surf-Sisterhood!
Behind the Scenes: Luis Pardo & Team and The amazing Bomberos!
Spreadin’ the Love!
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.
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.
The Nosara Wildlife Refuge is a worthy cause! They are not a zoo or a wild animal park. Visitors are welcome only with advance appointments and not in large masses. It is a place for rehabilitation; filled with hope that injured animals will one day be free again.
I admire Brenda Bombard, the creator of the refuge, immensely for what she does. She has built a rescue program that is well known throughout the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and beyond. She cares tirelessly for these animals, donating her time, resources and energies to repairing some of the damages that the impact of society has created. As a consequence of her work, she also has to face despairing situations on a regular basis. It takes great courage to deal with the grim and oftentimes fatal injuries that these animals have incurred.
The day that we visited the refuge, Brenda greeted us and walked us out to the broad area on her property where she has constructed giant containment areas for the animals. Many of the monkeys were running, swinging, and jumping around together to the delight of my kids. The Capuchin monkeys were the funniest. They would swing through the cage, land right next to us and make faces. It seemed as though everything they did was to entertain. In the trees above the property, an entire troop of Howler monkeys was playing in the wild. We were surrounded!
Before we were introduced to the individual rescue animals, Brenda gave us a short bit of history on the reasons they usually end up there. The most prolific reason is shock by the uncovered electrical wires and transformers. The refuge is working constantly with ICE, the Costa Rica electrical company to have these wires safe guarded. They have made steady progress, but there is such a long way to go and the expenses for this are, unfortunately, not being covered by ICE in most cases. At one point, Brenda brought out a Howler who had been blinded by electrocution. My oldest daughter was allowed to hold the monkey in its baby blanket and we were all able to give it a little love. This monkey, unfortunately, cannot rejoin the wild, so, it will remain at the refuge.
Other animals were at the refuge due to misguided people taking them in as pets. In one case, Brenda was called to remove a Capuchin monkey from a house that it had basically taken over. The owners of the home had found the monkey as a baby and decided to keep it. They raised it in their home as you would a dog or cat, only to discover that the “wild” was not out of the monkey. When it got older and reached adolescence it became destructive, mischievous and, at times, violent. By the time Brenda was called, the monkey was inside the house while the owners were outside, too afraid to enter. There are television shows and reports that have depicted these monkeys as well as other types to be villains because of their attacks on humans, but, how can we expect docile domestic behavior from animals that are wild? It is no different than expecting a Grizzly bear to cuddle in bed with your child at night rather than a teddy bear.
Then, of course, there are the dogs. Anyone who has visited Costa Rica knows that there is a problem with domestic animals being allowed to roam freely. The dogs have an innate desire to catch the monkeys and when they do, it is not a fair fight. If a young monkey falls from a tree and becomes prey to a large dog, its chances of survival are grim. Luckily, the refuge has managed to save a few of these monkeys which they will likely be able to return to the wild. At the same time, they work with the local vets to spay and neuter stray animals and encourage leashes.
These are just a few of the reasons for animals finding themselves in the safe haven of Nosara Wildlife Refuge. Due to its incredible reputation, the refuge finds itself with more and more animals every day. This, despite their ongoing efforts to educate the community.
Currently, Brenda is caring for many babies which increases the difficulty of the job tenfold. The babies need Isomil baby formula, dried goat’s milk, and constant care. They do the best that they can but without help from outside donations, they could not possibly afford to treat these animals.
If you have visited Nosara, you have undoubtedly spent some time admiring the Howler’s in the trees. If you have not visited Nosara, it will definitely be something you will want to see and that you won’t forget. It is much better to see them in the trees than in a recovery unit. My children learned that from our visit to the refuge and we all gained an impactful education that will stay with us forever.
Please consider making a contribution to the Refuge. Anything that any of us can do to help, no matter how small, is a benefit to this deserving facility. They have a website with a means for monetary donations and a wish list. If you are traveling to Nosara in the near future, Safari Surf will be happy to make arrangements for you to visit Nosara Wildlife Refuge in person and deliver any items that you have to donate. We will also arrange for items to be sent to Nosara if you would like to mail them to our US address.
Donations will help the refuge acquire an ultrasound machine as well as a temperature control infant incubator, which will help with the many burned monkeys they receive.
We want to give a HUGE thank you shaka to Safari Surf guest Kris Maichle, who brought down toothbrushes & toothpaste for local Nosara schoolchildren as part of our Pack for a Purpose program. Check out some pictures of Kris and Safari Surf staff members, including owner Tyler Marsh handing out Kris’ donation at a local school!
Safari Surf & Hotel Casa Tucan – “The Story”
by Tim Marsh, Co-Owner/CEO.
I can remember my first time at the Hotel Casa Tucan in 1995…driving through Nosara on a mission to find surf, sun, and fun on my first visit to the “rich coast”, I stopped in to have a beer and ask directions. Little did I know at that time that I would come back years later and run a business out of this location.
Safari Surf School officially opened its “doors” in 1999 and from 1999 to 2005 the Hotel Casa Tucan was home to our surf program and the base of Safari’s operations. We were a small start up surf school, one of the first in all of Costa Rica at the time, and using this facility as our base of operations. We did not own the hotel but we had forged a good relationship with the manager and owner and promised her we could fill the place with traveling surfers and tourists.
From 1999 to 2005, Safari Surf steadily grew and had a solid “fan base”…word was getting out about this cool surf location, cool and unique surf program, and the unbelievable local townspeople, vibe, and just amazing aura that was Nosara, Playa Guiones. Hotel Casa Tucan along with its charm and mystique steadily became a meeting spot, a hub if you will, for traveling surfers and tourists alike. The rustic charm, the relaxed pura vida vibe of the staff was unmatched. It was so authentic you could taste it. People who could afford to stay at much more expensive lodging preferred to stay at the Casa Tucan due to its charm, its allure of pura vida, its relaxed vibe…it was perfect in so many ways.
In 2005, the hotel became available for purchase. We (Tim & Tyler) quickly knew something had to be done to make sure they could keep this little slice of nirvana. We reached out to a few previous surf school guests about the prospect of going in with them and purchasing the hotel, bar & restaurant. Within a few short weeks the funds were realized and the hotel & bar were now firmly rooted in Safari Surf Schools’ name and future plans.
From 2005 to 2010, Safari Surf school steadily rose to prominence within its industry…building relationships with guests one by one that will last a lifetime. Families, new found friends, continue to return year in and year out to visit Playa Guiones, Safari Surf, and Hotel Casa Tucan. So many faces have come in and out of Casa Tucan over the years and many to this day continue to come and enjoy the charm and serenity they have become accustomed too at their home away from home…Hotel Casa Tucan.
We have watched many of the families children grow over the years and every time they return it is like a long lost family reunion…something that cannot be forged, a real bond with people and place.
In 2010, the “other” investors preferred not to be involved in the hotel and bar side of the business so Tyler and I decided to lease the entire hotel to keep secure the environment we had created over all those previous years. To keep intact the vibe and aura that had become so renown to all its guests.
In March of this year (2013) we were approached by an investor who was eager to buy our property. So much so, that this investor offered top dollar for our entire property. Tyler and I being 1/3 partners were unfortunately not in the majority and a decision was made to sell the Hotel Casa Tucan. 30 days later and the hotel was sold. The new owners were nice enough to allow Safari Surf to finish out its current lease that runs through August of 2013. At that time the Hotel Casa Tucan, the memories, will unfortunately be no more.
This was obviously an incredibly difficult time for Tyler and me in many respects…but mainly, what were we going to do for our business, how were we going to move forward? Things transpired in lightening speed and the reality that Safari Surf did not have a home after Aug. was to say the least, a bit stressful for us.
It’s interesting how life moves…moves in ways we cannot predict. I believe things happen for a reason and that fate does play a role in our lives more than we recognize.
Not more than 2 or 3 days had passed once we had realized we were not going to be able to save the Hotel Casa Tucan than an aberration appeared before us…my wife Marsi and I had reached out to many of the local real estate and rental agents in and around Nosara inquiring about locations or homes we could use to set up our base of operations for our surf program, when we received a phone call from one of the agents informing me that there was an amazing property that had just become available and it was not currently on the market so no one knew of its availability.
This property is right on the 200 meter line or as most in Nosara know…beachfront as you can get in Playa Guiones. There were 8 lots with one of the lots having a gorgeous 4 BR 3 bath home on it. This was the ideal location for an amazing surf school retreat.
I had to work extremely fast as time was not on my side. Once word got out to the other local RE agents that this property was for sale and it would have gone in a second. There has been a large influx of money coming back into Nosara and the fact that this was available would have been swallowed up by an investor quite quickly. You just don’t see this size of a property, with its location (and potential) available any more in Playa Guiones.
I quickly sprang into action and put together an investment opportunity and sent this proposal out to a few select people I thought might be interested. The long and short of it was I was right…there were interested parties and when it all came down to it the property was purchased and a new partnership came to life.
The plans for this new location are to build an office for Safari Surf School, a club house, kitchen / food service area, pool, commons area with BBQ along with 8 to 12 (2) BR units for rent.
What excites us the most is this entire project will be built with sustainability in mind. From the architecture, to the water reclamation, to solar, grey water systems etc. Our facility will be built with Sustainable Certification as top priority from the country’s highest standard ICT as well as certification from Center for Surf Research and other entities.
The name of our new location will be “Ola Verde” or Green Wave.
We have begun the architectural design phase and anticipate breaking ground this coming November 2013. Safari Surf will be putting together a blog to follow the progress of this amazing project from start to finish.
The one and most important thing we want to transfer from the Casa Tucan to Ola Verde is that amazing vibe, that relaxed surf theme. What made the Casa Tucan so amazing was ultimately the staff…and we will be bringing the majority of our staff with us…keeping intact the “real” pura vida vibe that made Casa Tucan and will make Ola Verde the place to be!
Hello and welcome to another edition of the Inside Peak Weekly Wrap Up.
It is an absolutely gorgeous morning here in Playa Guiones. Clear blue skies, offshore winds and postcard-perfect water conditions have combined with a severe lack of crowds to make for an incredibly enjoyable morning surf session.
After a topsy turvy week, weather wise, you could have been mistaken for thinking that we were back in the middle of the dry season (except for the lack of crowds). And with client numbers slowing down, our instructors have been able to get out for some free surfing of their own. As you would expect, they have been ripping! With surfers as talented as these guys (and girls), it is easy to see why we are still Costa Rica´s premier surf school.
As always, our students have also been having a great time out in the water. Below is a selection of shots taken over the last couple of weeks:
With things slowing down for the rest of the month, this will be the last batch of SSS student photos for a little while. A few of our instructors and staff are taking the chance to head off on some mini-holidays, with El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama the most popular destinations. Even I will be heading to Bocas del Toro in Panama at the end of the week for my own vacay, so will be resting The Inside Peak for a week or two.
But before I tip out for a little while I should come to the last, but certainly not the least, segment for the blog. Keen followers of Safari Surf School´s Facebook page would be aware of a competition announced last Thursday, whereby fans were encouraged to subscribe and register for notifications from our page (as opposed to just liking it). Just to spice things up, we decided that five randomly chosen new subscribers would be rewarded with Safari Surf School t shirts. All sounds like a great plan, right? Well it was, and it came off without a hitch… except for one important issue. Due to recent changes at Facebook, we cannot actually see the new individual subscribers for our page. We can see how many there are, but not who they are. Thanks for nothing, Zuckerberg.
But of course, we still have these t shirts to give away. So, if you were one of the new subscribers and still want to be in the competition, comment on this page or write me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your name and details… first five to do so, win the shirt! This competition is only open to fans in North America (for postage and handling purposes). So, get typing, and as always make sure you keep up with our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more exclusive updates and offers.
Peace and duckdives,
Safari Surf’s new Sustainable Surfer Package is already beginning to make a difference, thanks to generous Safari Surf guests like the amazing Sheila Canning! Sheila was one of the first Safari Surf guests to take advantage of our new Sustainable Surfer package, and she made a huge impact on the local community during her stay through our voluntourism opportunities and our Partnership with Pack for a Purpose. Not only did Sheila cross of a couple items from her bucket list and conquer her fear of water, she graciously took it upon herself to bring down nearly 40 backpacks full of school supplies and stuffed animals for local schoolchildren. AWESOME! We were blown away by her generosity and spirit of adventure! Sheila, you’re the best! If you’re interested in helping the community or donating, please consider our Sustainable Surfer Package, and check out the list of items that could benefit the local community on our Pack for a Purpose page. Here are a couple images from Sheila with the local schoolchildren. Read on for Sheila’s account of how she conquered her fears!
Here’s Sheila’s description of crossing items off her bucket list during her trip with Safari Surf and conquering her fears. Inspiring!
Bucket List: Travel alone, surf and zip line. Succeeding in all three – Triumphant!
My name is Sheila Canning and I am from Canada. I decided to take a trip to Nosara, Costa Rica because a friend of mine suggested it. She raved about the people, the surfing, zip lining and the beauty. I was a little apprehensive at first, for a couple of reasons. Surfing was definitely not on the top of my bucket list of things I wanted to do in my life journey. For me, almost drowning at the age of 15 gave me a fear of water, I don’t know how to swim and I have a right hip with no cartilage and a short range of motion. Zip Lining; the height aspect has certainly prevented me from partaking in that activity in Canada, so why would I do it anywhere else in the world?
My first day heading to the beach with the surf instructor, I had to tell him my story and hope that this was still possible to achieve. No worries he said, we will get you surfing. Determined was an understatement in thinking about learning to surf.
My first day, I did not even make a full standing position, my fear took over and I felt like I drank the ocean. As everyone knows if you panic when you fall into the water, your mouth is wide open. Talk about exhausting. The instructor was really good, but I don’t think he understood fully how much fear I carried with me. As we walked back to the Casa Tucan, he tells me I will stand and surf tomorrow, I agree, however in the back of my mind, I am thinking,” are you crazy?” I am not going back out there; I am exhausted from trying and choking on the salty ocean. It took me about an hour to get cleaned up and clear my thoughts. I did not surf the next day…my hip took a beating also with all the falling.
Day number three, I get ready to go surfing again. The voice in my head was telling me I was a sucker for punishment, and the stubborn me was saying, you can do this Sheila and you will do this. It helped that the instructor had blind faith in me. Deep breath, and remember hold your breath if you are about to go under. The first three or four times, I did not stand to catch the wave, but I did remain in the squat position, without falling off and rode the wave. I was encouraged to stand by the instructor and given step by step instructions on the fluent motion that will take place as the wave approaches the back end of my surf board. Here we go…get ready, the wave is coming, move your back foot into position, look straight ahead, lift your torso, push up with your back foot, swing around and pivot on your heal, keep the squat position, reach one hand forward and the other in front of you and keep your eyes forward. WOW! I did it, I really did it, I stood up, at that moment I thought I did it and now I’m done. Well now I have been given the boost of confidence I need. Let’s go again. I am so excited! A few more waves, well that turned into 9 more waves. Once you get your rhythm and the steps together fluently, the ride is so much fun!
On my last day in Nosara, I had signed up for zip lining. Once I arrived at the meeting place, I met a couple of people who also had fears of heights. As I fought my fear, I decided to encourage these two frightened people to be brave and everything would be ok. Helping others is always reciprocated; it helped me forget I was so scared. Don’t look down though, the fear does come back. I did make it through 13 zips, the next was always more fun than the last. Courage increases as you make the journey.
It’s been another week of good waves here in Guiones. Picking up from the tail end of last weekend’s solid swell, we saw some great chest to head high conditions throughout all of this week for the Inside Peak. The strong offshore winds have also stuck around, often blowing throughout the day. They have made for some excellent surf conditions, but have also resulted in the upwelling of some “colder” water to the surface.
However, it is important to remember that “colder” in Costa Rica means ‘refreshingly cool’ as opposed to ‘tropical bath’. Most guests actually quite enjoy the milder water temps, but I know a few of our more dramatic instructors were imagining they had just been surfing in 5mm wetsuits off the side of an iceberg.
On that note, the students were firing on all cylinders this week. Shout out to student Megan for scoring the bomb of the week:
And with plenty more swell – and a record amount of new students – due this week, there are sure to be a whole bunch of “bomb of the week” photos on their way!
As always with Safari Surf School, the action wasn’t just on the waves. Our Sustainability Director, Carl Kish, and biodiesel expert, Ryan King, have been working their hides off on our Innovative Biodiesel Project. The project is very close to completion, and is an absolutely outstanding initiative. You can read more about it in Carl’s blog here.
Always committed to sharing the good word of science and sustainability, Carl and Ryan took some time out of their busy schedule this week to show some grade 7 students from Nosara’s Del Mar Academy around the biodiesel project. The students were able to see the production process first hand, and with Ryan promising to follow up their visit with a classroom presentation in the near future, it won’t be long before we have a new generation of sustainability experts ready to follow in Ryan and Carl’s footsteps.
Also this week, Safari Surf School guests Megan, Tara and Dave took advantage of our Sustainable Surfer Package to check out the Barra Guiones Reforestation Project, a sustainability project created and managed by Costas Verdes. Through this project, land around Playa Guiones is being gradually reforested, after being cleared for cattle use decades ago. The Safari Surf School team is so stoked to be able to support initiatives that will have such a positive impact on the local ecosystem – and just as stoked to see guests like Megan, Tara and Dave that take such an active interest in these important issues!
To cap off the week, Casa Tucan played host last night to the HSBAcademy Nosara kid’s movie night. This is a little gig we throw every few months to raise money for the Academy. Families come along to watch some great movies on a big projector out on the lawn, and we organise the pizza, popcorn and soda – with all money raised goeing directly back to the Academy. Last night was another success, with a bunch of happy families enjoying the beautiful weather and a great movie. I had taken what I thought were some nice photos on the night, only to upload them this morning and realise that I needed a lot more flash in the dark settings! But needless to say – or display – an excellent evening was had by all, and we can’t wait until the next event. We will keep you posted for details!
That’s a wrap for this week. Remember to keep your eyes peeled for our daily Facebook and Instagram posts, and I will see you all back here in the near future for some more word on the Guiones streets.
Flying bulls, flying trees and flying surfers? No, it’s not the plot for a 1970s acid movie, but instead just some of the highlights from another wild and wonderful week at Safari Surf School in this week’s Inside Peak. There has been no shortage of excitement here in the last few days – which is exactly how we like it!
So, where to begin?
The last week of Tico Summer* saw some promising signs on the surfing front. A steadily building swell peaked on Friday with some solid overhead sets. Lessons ran non stop throughout the week, with our current team of students making some great progress on their skills.
While the swell has eased off somewhat, we are expecting a new south swell to hit early next week and then stick around for a few days at least.
Some big developments were also made on our biodiesel project, thanks to Carl, Ryan and their team. Look out for a more detailed blog post on that tomorrow.
While Safari Surf School students and instructors cruised through the mid-week waves, Saturday and Sunday saw a real kick-up in pace. First off, a big group of new guests arrived at the Tucan on Saturday, instantly enhancing the already vibing atmosphere with their obvious stoke on arriving in Paradise.
After being greeted by the ever-smiling Peter and Jasmin in the Tucan office, many of the newcomers headed down to the beach to check out the action at the Nosara Triple Crown of Surfing. This three-stage team event was in its final leg at Guiones and the host beach did not disappoint, churning out quality waves all day long. The usual onshore wind that hits during the day at this time of year did not eventuate, ensuring that the competitors had excellent conditions over the whole period. The level of surfing was outstanding, as you can see in the following shots:
Once the competition finished up, attention turned to the nearby town of Garza which was hosting the local fiesta / rodeo. These events are held once every few months during the dry season and are attended by, well, just about everybody. Never ones to miss out on the action, the Safari crew (piloted by SSS instructor Alonso) took a busload of Tucan guests to the rodeo to sample this entertaining slice of local culture. The action in the ring was intense, and thankfully the only injuries sustained on our team were some bruised egos (PS I swear I’ll get in the ring next time, I just didn’t have my lucky red shirt last night).
And finally, as if we hadn’t had enough action for the weekend, early Sunday morning Guiones was hit by gale-force winds that upended a tree straight into the Casa Tucan pool. A free six pack to the first guest to get out there and clear it.**
*Costa Ricans refer to the dry season, December through February, as their Summer.
**Just kidding, we had the tree cleared and the pool and surrounding area cleaned immediately.
Buenos dias Safari Surf crew, and welcome to the Inside Peak, our brand-new Safari Surf School blog.
My name is Nick Kachel and I am SSS’s social media / PR / communications / board waxer / pool cleaner guy. Starting from today I’ll be providing regular updates via this blog, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter on all the latest happenings in the Safari Surf School world.
As the “man on the ground” in Guiones I want to provide a real insight into what being a guest of Safari is all about. I’ll be blogging about anything and everything to do with the triple S, from important surf tips to guest profiles to lesson updates. If one of our students catches the wave of the week, you’re going to see it here. If one of our instructors gets a crazy new haircut, you’ll have a photo within the hour. We want to make this blog so close to the real thing that you’ll need to be wearing sun block to read it.*
I’m really looking forward to giving you all the insider’s view of our beautiful little world – and I hope to see you down here in person soon!
*Not to be taken literally. Sun block can harm your keyboard, kids!