The Inside Peak – A Look into Safari’s new HQ: Olas Verdes

Part 1 – “Sultan of Sustainability”

We are stoked to have Carl Kish with us this week! Carl is Safari Surf’s Director of Sustainability. Carl exudes a laid back confident stoke that is catching.  We are hearing more and more these days about this word “sustainability”.  I was finally able to learn from the man himself about this intriguing new direction Safari Surf School and surf tourism is headed. Originally from San Francisco, Carl graduated from San Diego State University with a B.S. in Sustainable Recreation and Tourism Management. As an intern for the Center for Surf Research at SDSU, Carl helped the Center’s director Dr. Jess Ponting develop the Sustainable Surf Tourism Certification Program and acted as a sustainability consultant for Tavarua Island Resort and the Hotel Casa Tucan (Safari’s former home). As Sustainability Director, Carl is developing Safari Surf’s Sustainability Management System which encompasses all aspects of our business: environmental impact mitigation, interpretation, wildlife conservation, cultural preservation, supply chain management, and community development. Carl is also the Affiliate Program Manager, contacting surf schools all over the world to form new partnerships and establish various opportunities for more people to discover the paradise that is Nosara. Costa Rica has long embodied a healthy attitude towards all things environmental. With over one quarter of its land mass preserved in wildlife refuges, reserves, and parks, the country is poised to embrace this new wave of sustainable tourism concepts. Carl serves as an ambassador and liaison in advancing this new culture with innovative practices.

Costa Rica’s Vast Natural Ecosystems and Biodiversity are World Renown

Q & A:
PL: Welcome back Carl! I remember when you first came on the scene here a couple of years ago, working with Dr. Jess Ponting on benchmarking the Casa Tucan Hotel for sustainability. Tell us how it all started.
Carl: I began my college education at San Diego State University in 2008. I was interested in working in surf tourism in some capacity. I enrolled in the school’s hotel management program, figuring this was the logical starting point. At the end of my freshman year I caught wind of a new major being offered in Sustainable Tourism and Recreation. This caught my interest so I investigated.
PL: Is this where you met Dr. Ponting?
Carl: Yes. Dr. Jess (Ponting)is from Australia and is now an Associate Professor (recent promotion) at SDSU! His vast travels in surf tourism zones around the world have revealed that without proper planning and management, severe environmental damage in the form of erosion, deforestation, and pollution were inevitable. Not to mention exploitation of the local communities which inhabit these surfing areas. Jess felt certain that carefully planned and managed sustainable surf tourism could be the driver to bring conservation and community development to thousands of coastal communities in the less developed world.
surf pollution

[Damage to Coral Reefs | Pollution in the lineup]

PL: And thus the Center for Surf Research was born?
Carl: Correct! Dr. Ponting went on to earn the world’s 1st PhD in sustainable tourism management and in 2010 began the Center for Surf Research, a nonprofit educational facility housed in the school of Hospitality and Tourism Management at San Diego State University.
PL: Wow, so this was exactly what you were looking for!
Carl: Yeah it all kind of fell into place. I changed majors end of Freshman year and graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors in Sustainable Recreation and Tourism Management.
PL: What does the CSR do?
Carl: Many things! We offer field-based courses in sustainable tourism management and provide opportunities for internships, study abroad, volunteering, and research. We foster partnerships with governments, the surf industry, and tourism developers and the development of an accurate and viable sustainability reporting process.


Education & Outreach!


Study Abroad Trips!

PL: This is all so fascinating and cutting edge. Great work Carl and press on!
Carl: See you back in Nosara soon!


¨Carlito¨You’ll never meet a more positive human!


Part 2: An inside look at Olas Verdes Surf Resort!


Starting on the 2nd Level of the Clubhouse!

The highly anticipated Olas Verdes Surf Resort is expected to open in April 2015. The facility will feature 17 upscale rooms with a large clubhouse and pool. The clubhouse will accommodate the hotel reception office and Safari Surf Schools office/operations center. The most impressive aspect of this project is the dedication to sustainability in all areas of the operation. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Under the direction of Olas Verdes’ Project Manager, Carl Kish, the project endeavors to become the first LEED Platinum Certified Hotel in Costa Rica. In the United States and several other countries around the world, LEED certification is the recognized standard for sustainable design and construction. The LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) green building rating system is developed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of the building process. LEED standards measure all aspects of sustainable building sites: water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, landscaping, and indoor environmental quality. Carl took me on a tour of the Olas Verdes construction site and pointed out several of the sustainable innovations required for LEED certification.

Carl (middle) with LEED consultants Fabricio and Federico from SPHERA.
Carl (middle) with LEED consultants Fabricio and Federico from SPHERA.

Olas Verdes Sustainability Initiatives

The Olas Verdes Surf Resort is being constructed by Guanacaste Builders of Nosara. This will be their first LEED certified project to date, and serve as a model of sustainable building practices throughout Costa Rica. The building will be earthquake proof and will include two 7,000 liter rainwater collection tanks recycling water from natural precipitation and air conditioning units. There are three waste water treatment tanks that will convert black water to treated greywater for reuse through the resorts irrigation system and toilets. Only native vegetation will be planted, and interpretive signs will identify all plant and tree species in the landscapes. The resort will maintain an organic garden and compost all biodegradable matter. There will be solar water heaters and solar panels throughout the resort, which will result in 20% of the resorts total energy being supplied by solar. All construction waste is identified, sorted, and disposed of in LEEDS approved recycling facilities. There are many more sustainability initiatives in all facets of the construction, resulting in a state-of-the art surf resort.

Carl explaining the new pool design that will blow your mind, but you'll just have to wait!
Carl explaining the new pool design that will blow your mind, but you’ll just have to wait!
Guanacaste Builder's worker stoked on the on-site recycling center.
Guanacaste Builder’s worker stoked on the on-site recycling center.
Rocks at both entrances catch any mud or pollutants on the truck's tires before entering public roads.
Rocks at both entrances catch any mud or pollutants on the truck’s tires before entering public roads.
Sedimentation barrier to protect the stream from runoff on the construction site.
Sedimentation barrier to protect the stream from runoff on the construction site.


The Inside Peak – Blue Zone


Nosara’s Blue Zones

It seems like Costa Rica makes headlines everywhere you look these days: CNN’s top 11 places to go in 2014, NY Times lists Nosara in their TOP 45 Places to Go article, National Geographic’s Top 20 Surf Town includes Nosara, and on and on. In 2004, population researcher Dan Buettner teamed up with National Geographic and the world’s leading longevity experts to identify pockets around the world where people lived longer and better. He named these areas “Blue Zones”. In these Blue Zones he found healthy, active, and thriving communities, inhabited by an inordinately large concentration of people enjoying life in their 90’s and 100’s. He visited these areas to study the lifestyles, community, diets, etc. in an effort to distill the essence of each Blue Zone and share his findings with the world. Buettner discovered Blue Zones in Japan, Greece, Sardina, and more recently the Nicoya region, which includes Nosara!


Everyone who comes to Safari Surf seems to get swept up in the vibrant energy that defines Nosara. The inviting warm ocean, blazing sun, good food, yoga, amazing surfing, and Pura Vida vibe serve to put the spirit in a happy place. Now to be informed we are encompassed in a Blue Zone – well it all starts to make sense! Spending a week surfing in Nosara is good therapy for the body, mind, and soul. I am convinced that the youthful population of Nosara’s local surf population will yield many future nonagenarians. The defining characteristics of Blues Zones vary from place to place but generally include diet, exercise, lower stress, family, community involvement, worship, and even taking sun! In Nosara surfing can be added to that list. I once heard the ocean referred to as Big Blue. Better add salt water to the list!


My dad and I watched a ‘60 Minutes’ broadcast that featured a California doctor’s recent research and report on an active senior community developed in the 70’s called Leisure World. The doctor looked into old files and records of the original residents. She then went to check up on them, see if they were still ticking, and indeed found that many were still actively enjoying life. My dad lives in a ‘senior’ community in Florida, originally set up for retirees from all branches of the military. I find this to be a very cool place – everyone waves, helps each other, swims, walks, plays golf, square dances, and gathers at the community clubhouse. I attended a weekly dominoes game of 90 somethings and was immediately recruited as a player. It was fun, fast-paced and competitive, and required quick thinking. I was amazed at their sharp minds, wit, and math skills. The 60 Minutes broadcast stated that the largest growing segment of population in the U.S. was that of 90 years olds and higher, who are living longer and better. And from what I have seen in Nosara and Florida, I believe this to be 100% true.


[L to R: Instructor Pio’s folks in Nosara; Dad’s Florida dominoes team; Delightful Sue heads home.]


As I see it, Safari Surf School is a Blue Zone Destination. We all want to get more years out of our life and more life out of our years. A Safari vacation will put you in touch with those things we lose touch with in our busy lives. When is the last time you sat around a dinner table for three hours with new found friends and even your own kids?! Surfing together and immersion in Nosara’s abundant tropical pleasures will do you (and us) a world of good. See you soon and Pura Vida!


The Inside Peak – Inventor of the Indo Board

Hunter Joslin – Inventor of the Indo Board. Credit:


Hey Gang, it’s May 5, Cinco de Mayo! I am in Florida visiting my very cool 94 year old dad and prowling around my old stomping grounds in Melbourne Beach.  So today all the Mexican restaurants and bars here are jammed with people drinking margaritas at 10am and all I wanna do is go to the beach. I did manage a morning surf yesterday and that felt good. I ran into my old pal Hunter “Indo Man” Joslin, the creator of the Indo Board Balance Trainer. We use this ingenious device at Safari Surf School and man it really works. My dad and I paid a visit to Hunter at his office/warehouse facility and had a blast. True to form Hunter had my dad ‘Log’ on an Indo Board grooving! In terms of surf training, the Indo Board is a great tool. We have one in constant use at Safari, it just kind of draws you to it, enticing you to get on. I thought a little profile of Hunter and his inspired product would make an informative and useful blog!




Hunter Joslin hatched his balance board idea 40 years ago as a young swimmer/surfer in Palm Beach Florida. He placed a basic wood platform on a roller and voila! He loved the sensation, it was fun but it also provided serious exercise and a balance challenge that would entertain him and his friends for hours. Then life took over and Hunter became involved in numerous surf industry ventures; owning and operating  a bikini company, importing & selling merchandize from Bali, announcing professional surfing and skateboarding events, and co-owning a surf-trip travel agency called Surf Express. Hunter hired me at Surf Express and our #1 surf trip destination was Costa Rica. It was here that I began my love affair with Costa Rica, and over my 10 year stint at Surf Express I became very well acquainted with this magical little country. Hunter ended up selling his share of the travel agency and launched full-on into developing the Indo Board Balance Trainer.



PL: Great to see you mate! So things are hopping in Indo-World?

Hunter: Yes business has been good. We have been spreading Indomania across the globe!


PL: Great to hear. So what does the Indo Board do?

Hunter: The Indo Board is a fun and very effective balance trainer. The simple act of balancing the deck atop the roller engages your core and stabilizer muscles by challenging the rider with “instability” which must navigated. In scientific speak it’s called ‘Proprioception’: The ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium.


PL: What are the key elements in balance training pertinent to surfing?

Hunter: A centered, “planted” stance is the key. Knees should be slightly bent, back straight, arms at your sides. If you can remember these basic elements, your surfing will improve. I see many students struggling with bending/leaning over – “butt-out-itis” – or throwing their hands up in the air which throws you off balance. If you always remember to return to the core stance you will progress. The Indo Board greatly helps with this!


PL: Outside of surfing, where has the Indo Board found audiences?

Hunter: Any sport or movement activity can benefit from Indo Boarding. We are working with Pro golfers, PE teachers, dance instructors, personal trainers, skiers, runners, swimmers, martial arts; the list is ever-expanding. Our latest product is the Indo YOGA board which has become very popular.

PL: As you know, Nosara has developed into a major yoga destination so this is very welcome news.

Proper Posture for Balance Training (from
A centered and balanced posture on the Indo Board is achieved by

  • feet shoulder width apart

  • look forward, not down

  • hold your head and shoulders upright

  • neutral spine with hips rolled slightly forward

  • knees bent more than you think they should be

  • engage your core to keep your alignment

  • engaged shoulder blades and back, chest out

  • quiet upper body with no unnecessary arm movements

  • strive towards perfect top to bottom alignment of the ankles- hips-shoulders.

  • do not break/bend at the waist

PL: The Indo Board comes not only with the roller, but a mouth inflated cushion. What does the cushion do?

Hunter: The IndoFLO cushion offers the user a less intimidating balance training experience. Unlike the roller, the cushion stays in one place and you can’t be thrown off. This is ideal for rehabilitation exercises and for older folks who want to take it slowly. Now, let’s get your dad on it!

My Dad – 94 years young – getting’ INDO it!


PL: Well to us it’s always been about surfing! Thanks Hunter and Pura Vida!

We’ll have you come down and do some training sessions when the Olas Verdes opens next year.

Hunter: See you in Nosara


Indo Man in Indo



The Inside Peak – Meet the Manager: Jeffrey!


Introducing Safari Manager: Jeffrey Noguera

One of the great things about living here is getting to know the local people. I find it very easy to make friends here as everyone you encounter seems upbeat, cheerful, and exuberantly social. My all-time favorite Tico and closest friend is Jeffrey Noguera. Jeffrey migrated here from the big city (San Jose) and decided to make Nosara his home. He began working at Casa Tucan as a waiter, and eventually got coerced into management by Tyler and Tim. He has learned the hotel/restaurant/surf school business from the ground floor up, but also hit the books on nights and weekends, graduating with a college degree in business management. Jeffrey really came into his own after Casa Tucan was sold and we moved into the transitional ‘Safari House’. He became the resident manager of Safari Surf School and really found his niche. I have enjoyed every moment working with this outstanding gentleman, and will always treasure our friendship.

PL: When did you get here?

Jeffrey: I moved from San Jose in 2009. My dad lived here and I visited him and got to check out Nosara. I had just come from a hectic city life where I mainly played   soccer professionally. Man it was so beautiful and laid back, everyone was smiling, carrying surfboards, girls in bikinis………. I told myself this is where I belong!

PL: When did you start working?

Jeffrey: Soon after I came here I got a job at Casa Tucan as a waiter. Tyler and Tim were Co-owners and Safari Surf School was located there. As time went on I got pulled into hotel and restaurant management responsibilities and I liked it. I had also started business management classes at the University of Costa Rica campus in Nicoya.




PL: Were you a surfer at that time?

Jeffrey: No, my sports background was in soccer. I played professionally for the National Team in Alajuela. But the guys got me out on the beach and in the water, and ahhh it was great!



PL: You recently graduated from college?

Jeffrey: Yes I graduated from a 4 year business management program. Now I am a “Licensia”, kind of the same thing as Bachelors degree. It was a very good program. I learned a lot about business law and finances, things I use every day here at work.


PL: How do you like your new role at Safari House?

Jeffrey: Everything is very different from Casa Tucan. Now we do not have a public restaurant and hotel to manage. I like it because we can give our full attention to the surf school guests. I am much more involved with the surf lessons and do all the scheduling, which can get pretty complicated when we are busy. I also live here so am pretty much always on the job.

PL: And you are the resident PING PONG CHAMPION!

Jeffrey: Yeah man I even won a bottle of tequila at one of our tournaments!






PL: You have worked hard and saving money. Now you have a blue MacBook, a blue iPhone, and now a new blue car! Dude you are living the dream.

Jeffrey: Yeah man, I like blue!

PL: How do you feel about the opening of Olas Verdes?

Jeffrey: It is going to be really special. The location is very private and close to the beach. For sure it will be the #1 hotel in Nosara. I am very proud to be here!


The Inside Peak – Meet Our Instructors: Tinis!


Welcome back! This week we feature our favorite Surfer Girl!

Tinis Gomar heads up our very cool Womens Surf Adventures program as well being one of Safari Surfs illustrious surf instructors. I have always enjoyed talking to Tinis; she is super smart, super fit, super stoked, and a lot of fun to have around.

PL: Hi Tinis, well it’s your turn to be interviewed for the blog…

Tinis: Ok, let’s do it!


PL: About your name Tinis, it’s kind of unusual, does it have a meaning?

Tinis: It’s a nickname my sister called me as a kid, I think it had something to do with being a small kid, as in tiny!


PL: Where are you from?

Tinis: I was born in San Jose; I have been in Nosara for 7 years.


PL: How long have you been surfing?

Tinis: Seven years – I started the minute I got here, naturally!

PL: How long have you been teaching?

Tinis: Six years. It was a natural fit, I love helping people.


PL: Do you surf in contests?

Tinis: I did a couple of times but it’s not my thing, it felt too confining”


PL: Tell me about Womens Surf Adventures

Tinis: This is Safari Surfs customized surf adventure packages for women.

Safari sets up an all-inclusive experience which includes lodging, meals,

yoga, massage, a canopy tour zipline day in the rainforest, and lots of surfing.


PL: Do you feel there is an advantage for women students to work with a female instructor?

Tinis: Yes I do. Many women, especially Americans, are a little reserved coming here and they just feel more comfortable with a woman teacher/guide. It’s a psychological thing. I love it because it is very involved and intimate. I spend a lot of time with them and really get to know them, who they are inside. I miss them when they leave; we share a deep bond of friendship. 


PL: You also like teaching the kids do you?

Tinis: Oh Yes, I love the kids and especially our Kids Camps, so much fun.


PL: You always seem very healthy and fit, what is your secret?

Tinis: I eat well; do yoga, and lots of workouts. My boyfriend Ricardo is a well-known personal trainer here and he helped me become a certified TRX trainer. I teach three classes a week at Guiones Wellness Center.


PL: Ricardo is a great guy and you two just look like you belong together!


PL: Do you like big surf?

Tinis: Well yes, up to a point. I like waves in the 4-6 foot range, just overhead!



PL: You are always wearing the latest styles in swimwear.

Tinis; I had a bikini shop at Kaya Sol 2 years ago. I like designing surfwear for women. Maybe I can open a shop in the Olas Verdes Resort!


PL: Importing figures in your life?

Tinis: My mom all kids!


PL: Dream surf trip?

Tinis: Indonesia and Australia


PL: If you could own any car in the world what would it be?

Tinis: A monster truck!


PL: Thank Tinis, nice talkin’ to ya!

Tinis:     Ciao!



1) 2)

*Safari t-shirt to the winner!*

The Inside Peak – Meet Our Instructors: Kevin!

New Kid on the Block: Kevin Montiel

Safari is stoked to introduce our newest instructor Kevin Montiel. This kid is a fireball of dynamic energy in the water. He is in superb condition and devotedly surfs 4-6 hours each day. The first time I saw him surfing here really blew me away – I look up to see this guy just blazing across the blue face of a head high wave, subtly weighting and unweighting  his board and pumping for maximum speed and trim. It was the fasted I have ever seen anyone go on a wave in Guiones, or anywhere for that matter. Kevin is well known in the surfing ranks here and is a top-notch competitor on the National Pro Surf Circuit and the locally promoted Nosara Triple Crown of Suring. You never see him without a huge smile, he is polite and affable and a pleasure to talk to.


PL: Hey Kevin welcome to the Safari Team!
KEVIN: Thanks man, so stoked to be here


PL: So where are you from?

KEVIN: I was born in San Jose but have lived in Nosara all my life


PL: When did you start surfing?

KEVIN: I started when I was 10 years old. I’m 18 now so I’ve been surfing for 8 years


PL: You are very dialed into the contest circuit here, when did you start competing?

KEVIN: I started surfing in contests when I was 11 in the mini-grom division


PL: And now?

KEVIN: I surf in the Juniors division. I am #1 ranked in the Nosara Triple Crown Series


PL: Where have you traveled to compete?

KEVIN: All over Costa Rica. Last year I got to go to the East Coast Surfing Championships in Virginia Beach, it was a great experience.

PL: Wow dude I surfed in that contest in 1968, I feel old!

The Future


The Past – young Kevin                Me in 1968

PL: What are the “strong points: in your surfing?

KEVIN: Aerials and power carves!

Kevin in Flight!

Blazing Speed!

Power and Style!

PL: How did you become interested in becoming an instructor?

KEVIN: My brother Luigi started a small surf school here and I started there.

I liked teaching but it was hard to working with family, you know?

When Tyler called and asked if I wanted to work at Safari I was so stoked, a dream come true!


PL: What do you like about it?

KEVIN: Safari brings in guests who stay for a week, so you really get to

know them and can work with their strengths and weaknesses. It is very satisfying to see them improve over the week. I also love teaching the kids.

Hard at Work

Fun with the Kiddos

PL: I always see you with Nuria, is she your novia?

KEVIN: Oh yes, for sure!

Nuria & Kevin


PL: With you surfing 6 hours a day how do you have time to see her?

KEVIN: She is out there surfing with me!

Nuria Styling!

Thanks for reading!
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Meet Our Instructors: Owen!

Owen Stoneman – “The Internationalist”

Owen Stoneman is one my favorite characters down here.  He lives for surfing. Owen is one of the few who’ve contemplated surfing on a larger, historical scale. He has an innate appreciation for all styles and forms of wave riding, and even commented favorably on my old guy Skip Fry approach to riding a wave – 12 foot single fin, trimlining, California slouch, kind of just standing there feeling it all, like music. He’s a smart dude who could be living a number of different of human roles and profiles. Somehow his degree in environmental resource management seems appropriate to his chosen path. But Owen has chosen the path of what I call the ‘Bohemian Surf Nomad’, kind of like Nosara’s version of Dave Rastovich.  He rides all sizes and styles of surfboards expertly, and somehow is able to switch back and forth eloquently.  Owen embraces day to day life as a surfing metaphor: ‘whatever come s your way……ride it’.  He is a top-notch surfing teacher and coach and is very serious and focused on each individual lesson as if it has deep meaning and importance – which we all knows it does when we are in the student’s position. Owen has spent many years hoping the globe from surf school to surf school, riding the seasons, following the endless summer, and logging countless hours of water time.  I recently learned that the love of his life, lovely Belle and he, are going to have a son.  They are both over the moon about this and it makes me wonder how it will all play out for them in “surf metaphor” terms.  I’ve never seen the guy with dry hair – likely a trait that will be passed on to the little guy.

PL: Where are you originally from?

OWEN: The UK, guess you’d call me an ‘Englishmon’


PL: When did you discover surfing?

OWEN: I started in 1993 in Cornwall. People don’t realize that England is basically an island surrounded by the North Sea, English Channel, Celtic Sea, Irish Sea, and Atlantic Ocean. Cornwall is on the southern tip with some beautiful beaches, good swell exposure.

Geography Lesson – where’s England? Cornwall Coast [right photo]

PL: At what point did you discover this “knack” for teaching people how to surf?

OWEN: I had always lifeguarded in Cornwall; I was close to the sea. When surfing found me I became obsessed. At seventeen I became a full-on surf bum, I would hang out on the beaches of France all summer. This was before the global surf school boom. People would always ask me, “hey, can you teach me how to surf?” I gave it a go and really liked it; I was good at it and saw people renewed by the experience. It dawned on me that ‘surf instructor’ could be a valid career and keep me closely connected to the waves.


PL: And the rest is history as they say! Where have you taught surfing?

OWEN: Cornwall, Canary Islands, Australia, Portugal, Morocco, Ireland, Panama,

Costa Rica. When the season comes to a close here in Nosara I head off to somewhere where it is just getting started.

PL: I’ve heard that ski instructors and white water rafting guides do the same thing, kind of follow the sun, the old Endless Summer cliché!


PL: You have a huge following of students who return and request you for lessons. There is a wide range of ability levels that you work with, and you regard all with equal concentration and intensity. You seem to take your lessons very seriously. What is your approach to teaching?

OWEN: In my own surfing I look carefully at the waves and “mind surf” for a few minutes. I look for sections, rip tides, shoal areas, and channels. To me surfing is about tapping the energy from the source (the wave) and flowing with it. I try to instill this with my students, I want them to tune into the elements, be like water! I especially like coaching intermediate and advanced students


PL: Your almost “psychic” ability to read waves has earned you the moniker ‘Owen Almighty’.

OWEN: You’re a funny guy….

PL: Local legend says you are the ‘immaculate’ offspring of Coconut Harry and LuLu?

OWEN: That’s been going around for a long time! = ???


PL: You surf so many different boards, what’s your favorite?

Owen: Whatever one I’m riding at the moment……

Owen conducting his weekly video analysis class for Safari Surf School Students

PL: Your thoughts on next year?
OWEN: I am really excited about the opening of the Olas Verdes Resort. It will be an amazing base for Safari Surf School and I am looking forward to being a part of it.
Hamming it up with Safari Presidente Tim Marsh

The Inside Peak – The Kids Are All Right


Safari is visited by a wide range of people of all sizes.

The most enjoyable times for me are when the surf school is buzzing with lots of kids. The atmosphere then is bustling with energy, activity, laughter, and joy, I mean it’s like that all the time, but with kids around…….well you know what I mean. Safari Surf offers lessons and kids camps for the munchkins. We offer full and half day camps that include surf lessons, beach games, arts & crafts, pool activities, lunch, etc. Ages range from 5-15 with the emphasis on structuring by age groups. Our instructors are fantastic with kids and jump at the opportunity to work a “kid’s camp”. I recently joined a wild and crazy group from Charleston, South Carolina.



PL: How did you find out about Safari Surf School and Costa Rica?

WYLLY: We had our Spring Break this week. My parents knew someone who had been

here and recommended it. We came in two families; we all go to the same school.


PL: Hey Zoe how old are you?

ZOE: I’m 5, the youngest. My name is spelled Z-O-E with 2 dots over the E.


PL: Holy smokes I don’t think my computer has a key for the 2 dots. Is that important?

ZOE: YES! If they aren’t there then you will say my name wrong!


PL: OK! I will do my best to find the 2 dots (I can’t find them). So did you have fun?
ZOE: We are having a blast! We don’t want to leave.


PL: What did you guys do this week?

CAMERON: We surfed, a lot! We also went snorkeling, went on a scavenger hunt on the beach, played in the pool, ate pizza, and drew stuff.


PL: Your mom said you would probably grow up and move here and be a surfer girl.

CAMERON: She said that?! That’s cool!


PL: Was surfing hard for you?

RODGERS: Naw it was easy and fun! The boards here float you good!


Pl: What was the biggest wave you caught?

RODGERS: As big as an aircraft carrier!


PL: WOW, that big?

RODGERS: Yup, ask Wylly.



  PL: Hey Camille, do you have any top memories of your vacation

  CAMILLE: This was my best Spring Break ever! I am definitely coming back.

I made even better friends with Cameron here.


PL: Who’s your favorite instructor?







Safari has also hosted some older kids over the years: Phil Guilfoyle, Professor of Art at Virginia Wesleyan College brought his group down for his the “Art of Surfing” course and they earned full college credit for their participation in this innovative program!


Jason Roderick, Director of Counseling Services at Providence Country Day School in Rhode Island has brought down his Juniors and Seniors groups for four years running.




“To nose dive, having too much weight at the front of the board causing the nose to go under, resulting in a wipeout”


Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Awesome Alumni


The Return of the Safari Surfer.

I am continually amazed by the large number of returning Safari Surf School ‘students’. Year after year guests come back to Safari to pick up where they left off – to surf, dine, zipline, swim, relax and groove on the mellow Pura Vida beach vibe we are known for. A sure sign of a good operation can be measured by the number of people who return. They bring family and friends, gifts and photos, and huge hugs and smiles. The friendships fostered during their initial visit are lasting and meaningful. I don’t know the actual statistics, but my guess is that at least 50% of our guests come back – a phenomenal number! I have wanted to do a little profile on our alumni, see what brings them back, what they would like to accomplish, and how they feel once here. Now is a good time to start.

Jason Roderick and his “kids” recently returned for their fourth consecutive trip to Safari Surf School.  Jason is the Director of Counseling Services at the prestigious Providence Country Day School in Rhode Island, a private learning institution that balances rigorous academics, visual and performing arts, and competitive athletics. As a former Dean of Students at Vermont Academy Jason created a month long environmental study abroad program called Eco-Ecuador which was adopted into PCD’s study abroad program. It was here that Jason realized the profound impact that location based learning had on students. They experienced new cultures, languages, and customs, far different from theirs which facilitated new perspectives and insights. Jason went on to create the PCD surf/yoga program and selected Nosara as the ideal location to bring students to. He graciously answered a few questions for me.



PL: How did you come to select Nosara for these youth travel experiences?

JR: I had been to Nosara once before 9 years ago. The laid back “wellness vibe” is what sold me. Everything here exudes a positive, healthy lifestyle. It is the perfect getaway from winter in New England.


PL: How do your spread the word to students and parents?

JR: Every year I present a slide show to students, teachers, and parents. Nosara is such a spectacular visual place, the nature, the ocean, the people. Imagine watching these images of happy people enjoying this tropical paradise with a foot of snow on the ground!


PL: How are students selected?

JR: We interview all interested kids and their parents. The seniors have first priority on available openings. The parents really support me. You might think they would be hesitant to let their kids travel to what they might perceive a “third world country”, but it’s just the opposite. The Eco-Ecuador concept laid the groundwork for these types of study abroad experiences. The kids came back enlightened and the parents were convinced!


PL: How did you come to select Safari Surf School as base camp?

JR: On my earlier trip I discovered Casa Tucan. It had this really cozy surf vibe, very friendly, small, great food. I met Tim Marsh and we mapped out a customized itinerary that was basically all-inclusive; lodging, meals, surfing, yoga, a canopy tour zip line day in the rainforest, and a community exchange encounter. Now here we are on trip #4!


PL: What are the students’ impressions of the experience?

JR: Over the top, just ‘stoked’, that’s the word! I am a very organized detail person and think every aspect of the trip down to the minute. But when you get here and become immersed in the energy and atmosphere, you adopt a little more “go with the flow” attitude. It’s therapeutic!


Pl: Thanks for coming Jason, congrats on another great trip.

JR: See you next year.

I grabbed a few of the students to get their impressions…


PL: Do you all go to Providence Country Day School?

Kids: Providence and Wheeler, both private schools.


PL: How do you like it here?

NATE: You know how when you go on vacation a lot of it is planning, preparation, packing, and flying and a lot of details? You finally get there and it takes a few days to finally unwind and can ask yourself ‘was it all worth it’? Well here on my first morning we were walking on the jungle path to the beach and it just hit me and I’m thinking “if I had to go back right this instant it would still be totally worth it”. Best trip of my life!



AMARA: This place is amazing, so laid back, you can walk everywhere, and everyone waves to you!

KIRI: I felt ‘at home’ here from day one. Surfing is so fantastic and the instructors are such cool guys and very professional. A lot of girls surf here so I felt welcome and accepted in the water. Also the food, loved it all!









Thanks for reading!
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Tyler Marsh Story (Pt 2)


me 7 ty 2.JPG
Greetings all and Happy St. Paddy’s Day! In this issue we bring you The Tyler Marsh Story – Part Two. As mentioned, Tylers brain is razor sharp and super active and it is often a challenge to grab him and hold his attention for a sustained period of time before he is up and addressing something else. I had the great pleasure of “pinning him down” for 15 minutes – all I needed! The things I learned about him in that short time confirmed my intuitions about a true success story here. Essentially Tyler moved to Costa Rica in 1996 with very little, ‘starting from scratch’ as they say. He went on to build a business, family, home, and life down here, NOT an easy thing to do. Seems like every other week we hear something about Costa Rica – Best Retirement Spot in Central America, the Happiest Place on Earth, the Blue Zone… But these articles almost exclusively refer to us older folks, tribal elders I like to say. These are generally folks that have worked major careers, maybe have some assets, and are collecting Social Security. Many young people come here for the surf, the yoga, the beauty, lifestyle, simplicity, etc. They sustain themselves by teaching pilates, working in restaurants, selling surf photos, and the like, but earning the big money – to be able to own a car, buy property, and build a house – just can’t be done here. Tyler Marsh Did! Here’s how:
Peter: So you were born and raised in Hawaii?
Tyler: Yes on Oahu. We lived in a little town on the outskirts of Honolulu.
Peter: What did your folks do?
Tyler: Dad was a writer, he was freelance and sold advertising. Mom was a
therapist for the Cerebral Palsy Association.
Peter: When did you start surfing?
Tyler: Oh way early on, can’t remember exact year.
Peter: Where did you surf over there, Pipeline?
Tyler: I have surfed Pipeline, but I don’t like the egos and pressure there.
My favorite spots were Backyards and Rocky Point. There are so many
incredible waves on Oahu, they call the North Shore “The Seven Mile
Peter: And the vibe there, pretty local and harsh?
Tyler: It was not easy to grow up a blond haired Haole over there. You had to
show respect and remain in the background until you proved yourself
in the water. Once you were accepted the Ohana (brotherhood, family)
would watch over you and encourage you to take off deeper.

rocky point.jpg
Rocky Point- Tyler’s Favorite Spot in Hawaii

Peter: So how did you get here (Nosara)?
Tyler: I had a tree trimming and sprinkler business in Hawaii. When Tim went
to Costa Rica in 1995 he totally fell in love with it and called me raving
about how magical it was, green, uncrowded, perfect waves. He talked me into coming down. I came here and pretty much loved it too! I decided to move here, and came over with very few possessions, footloose and fancy free. I found work on a finca (ranch) that was eventually bought by Mel Gibson. I had been looking around for some land in Hawaii and found it was just too expensive, so when I moved here I began to look around. I ended up buying a 30 acre tree farm. The farm had 20,000 Pochote and 40,000Teak trees. Tree farms were good investments and I ended up selling my land for a profit. This became the seed money for Safari Surf School. I also built my house!
Teak Plantation

Peter: We covered the start-up of Safari Surf School in last weeks blog. When
did you meet Arlene?
Tyler: I met her through a friend in San Jose. It was love at first sight! We were
inseparable and together for 4 years before we got married. We’ve been
married now for 8 years.
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Arlene & Tyler – first Son Bradley

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Two Boys- Kalani & Bradley
Three Boys – At Seaworld!
ty shamu (2).jpg
Peter: You speak Spanish well, everyone understands you! How did
become fluent?
Tyler: Absorption – 100% Just being here it sort of sunk in.
Peter: Where on the planet have you surfed?
Tyler: Hawaii, Fiji, Australia,New Zealand, Maldives, Mentawais, El
Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa.
Peter: Never surfed new Jersey huh?
Tyler: jajajaja
Peter: Favorite wave in the word!
Tyler: Impossibles in Indo
Peter: You are one of the rare few who found your niche here. Whats next?
Tyler: Olas Verdes will be beyond anything this town has seen.. My Guardian
Angel must be watching over me….
young ty.jpg
Peter: When, where?
Tyler: Oh My God where did you get that?
I will have to think on that!
Peter: Tell me about your new cabinas.
Tyler: Well I got to thinking about how there is often a problem finding rooms
for people in high season. I have a lot of room on my property so kinda
just went for it. I plan to add a pool and separate entrance, and they will be super private once the landscaping fills in. There was a big concert here this past weekend and I filled ‘em up!
cabinas (2).jpg
Peter: Thanks man, this has been fun.
Tyler: Aloha
alycia at safari table.jpg
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Tyler Marsh Story (Pt 1)

Tyler Surfing

Hola friends & welcome back to the Inside Peak! I have decided to present ‘The Tyler Marsh Story’ in two parts. In Part One (in this issue) I will attempt to introduce this amazing enigmatic character as I know him from my personal experiences and observations gained from working at Safari Surf. Part Two follows on next week’s blog, and will feature ‘an up close and personal’ interview with Da Man himself. I have known Tyler for over 4 years now, and have had the pleasure of watching him and his family and his business grow. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am nuts about kids, and his 1st born son Bradley (5 yrs old) and I have formed a bond that transcends age and traditional roles. He is a treasure, as are all kids, and I feel blessed and lucky that he can be ‘in my life’. Now there are two more boys in the brood, all future surf connoisseurs and soccer stars to be sure.



Tim and Tyler grew up on the beaches of Hawaii and became excellent surfers. Tim eventually moved to California and became a successful house painter and Tyler stayed in Hawaii. In 1995 Tim and girlfriend Marsi took a 3 week surf trip to Costa Rica and instantly became enamored with the beauty, people, simplicity, and perfect surf. They felt as if they had found Nirvana and fantasized about living in this paradise. Their travels lead to the Nicoya Peninsula where they started their explorations in Tamarindo, and then moved south, eventually ending up in Playa Garza (the next beach town south of Playa Guiones) in a torrential downpour. They were lost, tired, and hungry. They happened upon a small market with a light on and English signs in the windows. The owner Richard took them in like family and gave them shelter, food, and encouragement. He showed them around the coast and took them surfing to wondrous empty beaches. Tim and Marsi sensed destiny and they ended up leasing the little market and moving to Costa Rica to pursue their tropical dream. They loved every minute of it and called Tyler in Hawaii to entice him to come down for a look. Tyler arrived two weeks later and never looked back, making Costa Rica his permanent home. Tim and Marsi eventually returned to California to regroup and prepare for the arrival of Camille, their first of three children. Little did they know the seed had been planted…



My wife and I moved to Nosara in 2008. We had ended our professional careers and decided to pursue a ‘more interesting life’ living in Nosara.  We sold all of our possessions and left the Miami airport (just as Tim and Marsi had) with 4 suitcases and 3 dogs in kennels. We built a house and gradually learned the crazy ways of this new life. We kept our eyes and ears open and explored different possible opportunities to stay busy and earn some expense money. My wife had retired from 35 years of critical care nursing and became a cake maker, starting a little dessert business called Ems Yums. It didn’t take long for me to gravitate to my roots; surfing, restaurants, and travel planning. I met Tim Marsh and family on the local zip line tour and quickly found we had much in common and knew many of the same people in the surfing world. Tim brought me into Safari Surf School initially as a chauffeur, driving the van to and from the local airport, tours, etc., I eventually landed in the office helping with administrative tasks, guest welcome orientations, and general office duties. Tyler was the on-site owner/manager while Tim and Marsi operated the main office in California. Tyler and I came from different eras, but we worked well together as we realized our passions and backgrounds were one and the same I had to prove myself at work and in the water, and eventually earned a spot on team as the “tribal elder”.



Growing up in Hawaii, Tim and Tyler learned to endure a strict and often hostile surfing culture. The Hawaiians are a fiercely proud people always protective of their turf. The Haoles, or light skinned outsiders were often harassed and ousted in a kind of reverse discrimination. But deep down they are loyal, loving, and have hearts of gold. I could sense that Tyler was engendered with these same traits. At times misunderstood, Tyler’s mind goes a mile a minute. It is often hard to “pin him down”, but he doesn’t miss a beat, he processes everything that’s going on, and has a deep moral sense of right and wrong. Most significantly, Tyler has a big heart and is very sensitive and perceptive of feelings. He is often moved to tears by acts of kindness and loyalty. I have always loved that in him, it defines who he is.




Whereas Tim and Marsi returned to California to regroup, Tyler stayed in the Nosara area. He found various odd jobs to sustain him, and of course surfed every day. (I am looking forward to more detail on this in our interviews). Tim found work as a mortgage broker, made good money, bought a house, and acquired many ‘possessions’- the archetypical model of success. But deep down he was disenchanted and unsettled, he longed for the simple Costa Rican lifestyle. A chance encounter one day with an old friend changed everything. Pat Weber was one of the first to open a surf school in California, and it was thriving. Here was a guy having fun, staying healthy, and making a good living while making a life. Seeing this started the wheels turning, and the “what ifs” in Tim’s head would not cease. Safari Surf School was opened in 1998, and was one of the first in Costa Rica providing full service vacation packages. It has steadily grown every year.

The next step in Safari’s evolution is currently underway with the development, construction, and operation of Olas Verdes, a state of the art sustainable surf resort slated to open in 2015.



Tyler found love and married local girl Arlene DiCarlo and started a family, 3 boys whom he adores. He has a beautiful house, nice cars, and is currently finishing up 4 beautiful guest rooms on the corner of his property. Not bad for a happy go lucky surfer dude from Hawaii!






Join us in the next edition of Inside Peak as we continue our profile of Tyler, the man, the myth, the LEGEND! (If I can pin him down!)


Great guests, as always, at Safari this week. They came to learn how to surf and made the Surfing Nosara daily webcam! – The photos tell the story!









Thanks for reading!
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Activities in Nosara


Welcome back to the Inside Peak! Wow, here we are in March, hot weather, south swells, Spring Break!

I know I promised to bring you the “Tyler Marsh Story” in this edition but my research is not finished and I’ll have to postpone until next week. It will be worth it……so stay tuned……NEXT WEEK!


Last week I did a review of one of Nosara’s most popular (non-surfing) tours – Miss Sky Canopy Tour. This week I thought I would continue on that line of thought, and feature some of the other fantastic tour and activity offerings available here. Safari Surf can provide further information and help you arrange any of these activities, just ask and we are on it!



Water activities abound in Nosara! Abundant rivers, tide pools, waterfalls, estuaries, bays, and ocean provide for a variety of water sports, offering ideal settings and conditions for beginners through advanced skill levels.


The convergence of the Nosara and Montana Rivers at ‘The Boca’ offers multiple waterways and spectacular scenery, perfect for calm-water kayaking and stand up paddling. A favorite attraction here is the mangrove tunnels where you can paddle through an amazing network of coastal mangroves. At the intersection of land and sea, mangrove forests support a wealth of life, from starfish to people. The relationship between mangroves and their associated marine life cannot be overemphasized. Mangroves provide protected nursery areas for fishes, crustaceans, and shellfish. They also provide food for a multitude of marine species such as snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum, oyster, and shrimp. Mangroves can help prevent erosion by stabilizing shorelines with their specialized root systems. Mangroves also filter water and maintain water quality and clarity.


Stand up paddle tours (SUP) can be conducted on the river or in a variety of ocean conditions.  Safari Surf works with Experience Nosara, a professional full service outfitter providing the latest in equipment and excellent local guides. The cool thing is that they have a storage shed right on the river, so when you book a kayak tour, they also bring along a couple of stand up paddleboards so people can also give them a try. Experience Nosara conducts SUP camps teaching basic and advanced techniques in all facets of the sport.

If you are feeling the call of the wild, try SUP surfing on open ocean swells, a guaranteed buzz! They also provide snorkel and waterfall excursions!


The pristine beaches of San Juanillo (45 minutes north of Nosara) offer the perfect setting for a family day of swimming, snorkeling, and picnicking.  The vast diversity in coastal ecosystems in this region is impressive. Playa Guiones is hard packed light sand, Playa Pelada is defined by volcanic reefs and outcroppings. Ostional is a black sand beach and north of that San Juanillo is punctuated with white coral reefs and crystal clear bays and lagoons.


Everyone loves a waterfall! There are several in our area, some well known, but also a few secret spots. We can help arrange a memorable waterfall hike in between your surf lessons (rainy season June-November).



Costa Rica is known for its world class fishing and the Nosara area is no exception. Far removed from commercial fishing lanes and off the beaten tourist paths, the Nosara area is Costa Rica’s best-kept fishing secret. The nearby 100 fathom ledge bends in towards the beach creating a pool of deep blue water very close to the shore. Our waters are full of Sailfish, Blue Marlin, Black Marlin, Striped Marlin, Snook, Cuberra Snapper, Yellowfin Tuna, Dorado/Mahi-Mahi, Bonita, Rooster Fish and Pago Snapper.  You can charter a boat for offshore trips or hang down at the Boca (river mouth) with Safari Surf instructor/fishing guide Alonso and try your luck for snook.


Nosara was originally dominated by cowboy culture! Every year local town fiestas feature rodeos and Tope (horse dancing) and everyone comes out to celebrate the country life. There are a variety of horseback tours for rider of all experience levels.


Turtle nesting in the Nosara area is a well known phenomenon, famous actually in environmental circles. The beaches of Playa Ostional just to the north is the setting for a rarely-seen biological wonder. The week before new moon hundreds, and sometimes thousands of sea turtles come to one specific mile of beach at Ostional to dig their eggs into the black, volcanic sand. Prompted by some secret signal, the “arribada” will begin. At first, a few hundred turtles will come out on the beach, followed by a steady stream of animals for the next three to seven days. The Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica was created in 1984 to protect one of the world’s most important nesting sites of the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Amazingly, Ostional is the only beach in the world where harvesting turtle eggs is legal. Scientists found out that most of the eggs deposed in the first nights of an arribada are destroyed by subsequent turtles who dig their nests.  Therefore, since 1987, the government of Costa Rica allows the community of Ostional to harvest the doomed eggs on the first three days of an arribada. In return, the villagers become rangers who protect the turtles, clean debris from the beaches and patrol day and night for poachers.


ATVs or ‘quads’ are a fun way to see the areas diverse coastal nooks, rivers, and mountains.

You can rent a quad for a day or week and also go on various guided tours. One of the more creative operations here is Howling Monkey Adventures. Their website description tells the story:

Howling Monkey offers exhilarating off road adventures, guaranteed to be the highlight of your Costa Rica trip! Drive our TOMCARS and experience Costa Rica’s secluded beaches, untouched wildlife, amazing mountain vistas and pristine sunsets. Our Unique military grade vehicles with our Super Amazing local guides, allow for a safe and thrilling ride into remote jungle terrain to witness Howler Monkeys, exotic birds, and a variety of other jungle dwellers in their native state. Whether you are into surf, snorkel, nature or just pure adrenaline, let us customize a unique adventure for you, your group, family or corporate guests. This is guaranteed to be an adventure that you will never forget!









Thanks for reading! Come back next week for my interview with the man, the myth, the legend… Tyler Marsh!
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – End of January

The Inside Peak - End of January

Surfers and Weather

If you’ve read any of my blogs you can’t miss the many references to weather and it’s effects on waves, wind, and well….the weather. Surfers are the consummate arm-chair meteorologists. We speak in terms of  low pressure systems, buoy readings, wave periods, latitude and longitude, wind direction. It’s all part of it. Surfing can expose you to many cool things: travel, culture, photography, yoga, fitness, meteorology!
Herbie Fletcher once said, “surfing’s a trip, better pack your bags.”
So back to meteorology. The offshore winds have been honking down here for almost two weeks running. This phenomena is explained by the non-stop cold fronts plunging south from the northern hemisphere, resulting in a ‘Polar Vortex’ that  pushes the subtropical jetstream deep into the Caribbean, creating pressure inversions, and hence these winds.

You may have seen the news about giant swells hitting Hawaii, and now California. These big storm swell events up north can and do send swell our way. Generally they are not as big and strong as the Southern Hemi swells, but due to swell direction the north swell energy can get into little nooks and crannies and light them up. I surf a spot I call “Riddles” because the waves peak up all over the place and can confuse you, especially the newbies. A little north in the swell pulls the take off spot further up the point and the waves can be perfect little  southbound runners. It did this yesterday. Looking for mire today!

Smooth Mile on a southbound runner

My sweetheart Emily connects one down the beach.

More Swell Getting In Today!

MEANWHILE AT MAVERICKS (just south of San  Francisco):

I talk weekly with my dear Dad who has been on the planet for 93 years and lives in Florida. He’s had a storied career in the Air Force and  was the meteorologist navigator aboard B-24 bombers in World War 2, and relied on a sextant and a slide rule to get his crew there and back time and again.  After the war the Air Force sent him to M.I.T. where he earned his masters degree in meteorology and worked in many  capacities , including  being one of the original Hurricane Hunters flying modified B-29s out of Bermuda.
So you see I had a head start with this meteorology habit. And  man does he love the beach, ocean, bodysurfing, sandy shoes. The man is pure Salt and Light!
My Dad Colonel Bill Lewis (Ret.) – still bodysurfing at 93

Olas Verde Update

Our new sustainable “surf resort” project is set to break ground very soon. There have been ground clearing crews hard at work all week, and our excitement builds as we anticipate the creation of this state of the art project. The design and construction team of Loria/Guanacaste Builders is one of oldest and best in all of Guanacaste – you’ll  see! The buildings have been designed and placed to minimize tree removal as much as possible–we are removing small Jobo trees, palms and some shrubbery, but the large Guanacastes and Pachotes have been saved to retain their beauty and shade qualities for generations to come!
We plan to take daily photos of the  project following the progress, lets call it “Countdown to Olas Verdes”.

Old World Tree Cutting Techniques!

Nosara Fiestas

It’s that time of year again! Nosara’s legendary Fiesta takes place from Tues-Mon this week with rodeo events, horse shows, mystery food stands, lots of alcohol, and live music and dancing into the wee hours (3am nightly). Every town in Costa Rica has a fiesta, which is essentially a celebration of cowboy culture. A favorite attraction is always watching blind drunk campesinos jump into the bull ring in a mini ‘running of the bulls’ show of foolish bravado. It’s wild, raucous and rootsy fun, worth a check.
The Tope is my favorite part of Fiesta week. Best described as a ‘horse pageant’, the Tope brings  together dedicated horse lovers of all descriptions for a kind of macho “show and tell’ of their horses’ skill and derring- do. Its full of passion, fueled by ego and alcohol, and not to miss!
Without a doubt, Guanacaste’s greatest (animal) hero is a bull named Malacrianza.
Translated to ‘Bad Manners’ or ‘Bad Ass’, Mal has enjoyed a long, storied rodeo career throughout Costa Rica. Riders greatly feared this cantankerous creature who dominated the rodeo scene for over two decades. He is known to have killed several vaqueros over the years, giving him the moniker “El Toro Asesino” (The bull Assassin). I’m glad (relieved) to report that Malacrianza is now ‘out to pasture’ and enjoying his retirement and legend status in a finca (ranch) very close to Nosara. We see him all the time, pretty cool link to the soul and history of this place.
If you want a great laugh you have got to watch this:
Excellent article on The Legend of Malacrianza:

Thanks for Coming

Every week we have the marvelous pleasure of welcoming new and returning “students” to our little world down here. These lovely folks, men and women, kids and families of all ages make up the soulful atmosphere that is Safari. Thanks for coming guys and see you next year!
Laura and Emma Guitar (cool name or what!) – Multi-year Safari Alumni from Florida
Erin and Valerie escaping a COLD Canadian winter

Scott and Kate from Toronto
Brian and Jamie,  educators from Chicago (on both ends)
Jessie Witherspoon from Boston (middle) – another cool name!
Pio, Chad and Sarah (from Atlanta) – the grandparents are watching their two boys!
Alumni Ben and Ellie from Toronto
The word for ‘smile’ here is sonrisa… There’s a beautiful metaphor there.
Until next week, Salud!


The Inside Peak – Mid January Update


Chamber of Commerce Weather

If Nosara had a chamber of commerce they would no doubt be beaming at the amazingly dependable weather and beach conditions we enjoy during our verano (summer) season.
Every day seems to be a repeat of the previous one with sunny skies, steady offshore breezes, spectacular water clarity, and absolutely perfect sparkly little waves peeling off up and down the beach. You can set your watch by it, year after year, when the states and Europe are freezing their knickers off……we are wallowing in a surfy tropical fantasy land. Sounds like a good time to come for a visit, no?
I would wager that the majority of property sales here go down in this same time period (Dec-April). How many people get the urge to chuck it all, the job, mortgage, school, girlfriend, you name it… to become full-time Nosara surf bums? The summer season is so seductive. It is paradise, no doubt about it. A vacation in paradise does the trick every time, but be careful, it can rearrange your cosmos!
My wife and I have lived here for 5 years. At 58 years old we sold everything we had and moved to Nosara. What were we thinking?  For me, my beach love-affair started long ago, way back in the 50’s and 60’s on the Jersey shore. My people were all beach people, dyed-in-the-wool sand-in-your-shoes by the silvery sands beach people. I have them to thank. And you know I’ve never looked back, I’ve continued surfing non-stop and here we are!

Ocean City NJ 1968, that’s me on the far right.

Offshore Winds

Woke up this morning to howling gusty winds, blowing hot and dry off the land. To a surfer offshore winds are Nirvana, shaping and grooming each wave into a moving cylindrical race track. But this morning the Nosara Chamber of Commerce is concerned – it is too windy! Generally related to Northern Hemisphere cold fronts diving south, the Jet Stream penetrates deep down into the Caribbean basin, creating the mechanics that result in these seasonal winds (think Santa Ana’s). Known here as the “Papagayos” or “Guanacastes” these conditions occur from Dec-April, our dry season. These wind events usually last up to three days and then moderate. Today our morning surf lesson schedule was cancelled due to these dangerous winds, but in the afternoon things calmed down enough to produce beautiful glassy blue-green peelers.
Morning gusts up to 45 knots – too windy to surf

Mid day conditions looking up!

Afternoon session: fast, clean, & fun!

Great Beach Walks #1

Nosara is a very scenic place. Our coastline has vast diversity; white, pink, and black sand beaches, lava reef, and white coral all within a 15 mile span.
Beach walks can be revealing and inspirational. Walk #1 starts on Playa Guiones and ends at Playa Pelada:

On Playa Guiones head north toward the point

Look for the path across the headland.

Playa Pelada – Enchanting!

At far north end of Pelada looking south

Ancient Civilizations?

Beach Walk #1 Details

  • Distance: approx. 3 miles round trip
  • Time: approx 1.5-2.0 hrs
  • Attractions: tide pools, lava reef, blow hole
  • Restaurants: La Luna, Olga’s
  • Bring: camera, water, suncreen

Safari Class of January 15, 2014

We are stoked to welcome our new “students” this week. Bienvenidos to Gordon, Jake & Cara, and the lovely Stafford family. It’s great fun to to watch this “dynamic” come to life – folks of all ages, backgrounds, and diversities come together to form this lovely unique group. Lifetime friendships are forged, matches made, and extended families spawned, it is truly a very cool phenomenon!

Gordon Fontane (safari alumni) from Boston – a real live dog trainer!(Check his website:

Jake and Cara from New York – Personal “CrossFit” Trainers!

Olivia, Katelyn, Emily

Interviewing the dynamic Stafford girls!

Safari Surf School Class of Jan 15, 2014

Extended Family!

On Vacation!
Thanks for reading! See you guys next time on The Inside Peak!
Pura vida,

The Inside Peak – Holiday Wrap Up

The Inside Peak - Holiday Wrap Up

Welcome to The Inside Peak in 2014!

The Christmas holidays in Nosara was in full swing this year, the town was packed with happy families, yoga devotees, soul surfers, and party animals. Hotels and restaurants were full, rental cars, ATV’s and bicycles were all taken, and the areas many popular tours were booked to capacity. As hectic as this sounds, it never seems to feel over crowded here. Maybe it’s the jungle that surrounds you giving the feeling of peace and solitude. The beach at Guiones can accommodate heaps of people and the learning conditions were ideal with numerous wave zones groomed by offshore winds. The waves this time of year have been described as soft and friendly. The Southern Hemisphere seas are quiet now, giving way to background swells from the west and northwest, resulting in fun waist to chest high rollers. The peak experience for any beginning surfer is to catch and ride a ‘green wave’. This is the unbroken wave caught outside the white water zone. As the swell nears it reacts to the shallow sandbar and crests and breaks. This is the pure essence of surfing which is accessible to students. Once back on the beach they describe the experiencing of riding a green wave to the beach in mystical terms: “surreal”, “amazing”, “cosmic”, “dreamlike”. This vibe spreads throughout the town as everyone is surf stoked to da max!

The Mythical Green Wave

Shiva Rea Surfing
Speaking of mystical, wildly popular Yoga Diva Shiva Rea brings her Surf, Yoga, Soul retreats to Nosara over the Christmas holidays in two one week sessions. Based at The Blue Spirit Yoga Resort on the point just south of Guiones, these retreats have been sold out well in advance for many years running. Shiva is good friends with Safari owners Tim and Tyler Marsh, and each year she brings her students to Safari for “surf immersion” (lessons!)
Yoga Superstar Shiva Rea

Safari Surf welcomed many wonderful guests over the holidays, and it is a true pleasure to observe the subtle transformation everyone goes through during a week of great food, fellowship, and surf immersion: skin turns a healthy tan, hair turns blonde, folks conquer their fears, muscles toned, and all exude an inner peace and health. This applies to boys, girls, men and women of all ages, shapes, and sizes, kids. If you’ve ever wanted to experience surfing and its essence, don’t hold back; make your 2014 New years Resolution to come to Safari Surf!

Thanks to all who brightened our days over the holidays.
The following picture gallery tells the tale!
Pura vida,
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The Inside Peak – New Season & New Headquarters

First Month in New Headquarters - The Inside Peak - Safari Surf School

Hi Everybody – Welcome to our new edition of the Inside Peak! We wanted to capture more of the life and color of our guest’s Nosara experiences, so I will be submitting a monthly synopsis of Safari – Everything Surf! – yours truly, Peter Lewis.
First Month in New Headquarters - The Inside Peak - Safari Surf School

Summer Arrives

Blue Skies, brilliant sunshine, and offshore winds appear to have ushered in an early summer season. Even though we are located 9 degrees North of the equator, our dry season here (Dec-April) is referred to as “summer”, and the rainy season (May-Nov) “winter”. The dry season also corresponds with what I refer to as the” International High Season” – where snowbirds escape the cold climes to find warm playgrounds! Here in Nosara we must endure ‘Septober’, our two rainiest months where everything shuts down and all there is to do is read and sleep. November can go either way weather wise, last November was a washout, I’ll take an early summer any day! All around town merchants are painting, renovating, landscaping, and spiffing up for the upcoming season. This year we are seeing a lot of construction everywhere. There are also at least three new tour companies stocked with ATVs, bicycles, and transport vans. The roads were horrendous after the rainy season but heavy equipment moved in and cleaned everything up. However the hot, dry, and windy weather, produce an unwelcome byproduct: polvo or dust. Driving becomes more difficult as visibility is compromised, especially after the big delivery trucks storm by. With lots of motorcycles, ATVs , bicycles, and pedestrians on the roads, everyone covers up with scarves, respirator masks, goggles, and all sorts of innovations (banana leaves, etc.!). The beaches provide sanctuary from the dust storm and is the place to be.

Prado and Helberth
Pura vida from Prado and Helberth

As we move into our summer months clear skies, blazing sun, and inviting blue ocean beacon. As the Northern Nemisphere winter takes hold, our weather becomes dreamy. Every day is a carbon copy of the one before. The waves this time of year settle down and offer lovely conditions for surf school attendees. Playa Guiones is an immense white sand beach where the inclination of the ocean floor is very gradual, allowing for a safe and comfortable entry into the wave zone. Waves here tend to regenerate into new waves after they break on the outside, creating numerous fun zones for beginners. This is one of the friendliest surf locales on the planet. With lots of room to move enthusiasts can always find an empty peak down the beach. With all the best local surfers employed as surf instructors, we have very little “localism” in the water and the spirit of Pura Vida and Aloha prevail!

Donavon’s Return

Safari’s new season opened early and with a bang as we hosted Billabong Pro and wildly popular singer/songwriter Donavon Frankenreiter to Nosara for surfing fun and a big concert at the well known ‘Tropicana’ discotheque. Due to Donavon’s busy schedule he could only come down for a few days in the first week of November which was before the season takes off, but in spite of this the concert pulled in 350 stoked revelers and was a memorable event. Safari is aligned with global surf brand Billabong, which operates and endorses surf schools and camps around the world. Their ‘Surf with a Pro” camps are unique offerings. Staged at exotic locales with perfect surf and idyllic surroundings, a limited number of enthusiasts can book a week to surf and hang with their favorite pro. Only a few select surf camp operations are chosen to host these events. Safari is stoked and proud to have been selected twice to hold Donavon’s camps, and we look forward to more in the future.

Donavon and Peter
Jammin’ with the Pros

The New Safari

We open this season in a brand new location and with renewed focus and energy. For the past 12 years Safari Surf School operated out of the Casa Tucan, a little eight room hotel and restaurant on main street Guiones. The property was sold and Safari circled the wagons around a very special property fronting the maritime zone until we secured a house and five lots to be developed into an upscale sustainable new surf resort called Olas Verdes (Green Waves). Throughout the upcoming season we will welcome surf school guests and operate out of the “Safari House” while the new resort is being developed. The approach is much different than before, as we no longer have a public hotel/restaurant to contend with. It’s a more personal hands-on style of hospitality and service, as if we are entertaining company in our own home. Guests have a choice of several lodging options, the closest and most popular being Harmony and Harbor Reef. We meet daily at the Safari House for lessons, meals, and special events. Surf lessons are conducted a short walk down a wooded path, away from the main beach crowds. Our goal is to create an inviting surfy clubhouse atmosphere where guests can relax and unwind and meet new friends.
Check out the gallery of our new friends and facility so far this season!
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