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
If you’re thinking about planning a surf trip to Costa Rica, chances are you’re wondering what each day will bring. Maybe it’s your first surf trip, and you’re hoping to pick up a new hobby that will get you outside and active. Maybe, it’s your first time out of the country, and you’re using surfing as a vehicle of exploration to see the world. Regardless of your reason, if you choose to surf and stay with us at Safari Surf School, you’re all but guaranteed to have a unique travel experience centered around surf progression and exploring Costa Rica. At Safari Surf School, you can book a package or build your vacation from the ground up, picking and choosing from your favorite offerings. No matter what you choose, your days will have a few commonalities, like surfing and great meals. So, dive in below to check out A Day in the Life at Safari Surf School: Surf lessons, Epic Meals, and More.
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
What comes to mind when one thinks about Bermuda? For sure the Bermuda Triangle pops up, but anything else? I venture that most of us (like myself) knows very little about this fascinating island.
Bermuda is the most northerly group of coral islands in the world, lying just beyond the Gulf Stream some 650 miles off the coast of the Carolinas. Although very small and isolated in its part of the ocean, it offers a wide variety of places to see, people to meet, and things to do. With an economy based on tourism and international business, Bermudians enjoy a high standard of living with almost no unemployment, no national debt, and no income tax. Sounds like paradise to me! Google Bermuda and your senses are bombarded by a panorama of dreamy blue seascapes – every shade of blue imaginable! One of the great joys of living in Nosara and working at Safari Surf is that it opens a portal to the big wide world we live in. The Bermuda-Nosara connection was spawned five years ago by long time Bermudians the Hammond family. “We were looking for a vacation where the boys could learn to surf, at least stand up” Sharon Hammond reflects. “Richard did a lot of research on the internet and found Safari Surf and signed us up”. “Everything about that first trip just resonated, says Richard, we all loved it; the waves, the food, the spirited people, and we kept returning for more”. As is likely to happen, it’s hard to keep a good secret, and as the Hammonds relayed their surf stories to close friends, the connection grew. “I reckon we are now up to around thirty-five fellow Bermudians that love the place and return every year”. And you have never met more affable, gentle, lovely slice humanity anywhere. It dawned on me that this is how Nosara continues to grow, with these kinds of good hearted, fun-loving families tuning into the Pura Vida. It’s magical, really!
Meet the Hammonds – Richard, Rudi, Louie, Sharon
We always love when Team Bermuda is in da house! Talk about energy, they are all buzzing with stoke and can’t wait to get wet. I reflect on my past trips here when we lived in Florida. I was absolutely rabid to catch as many waves as possible, and bottle it all up to get me through the flat spells. The beauty of this place is that there are always waves breaking out there, it is a constant, a defining gift that Nosara proudly offers. Bermuda is ringed by a coral barrier reef which results in beautiful calm swimming beaches, but also prevents consistent rideable surfing waves from forming. Nosara’s ever-reliable consistency can take care of our surf-starved friends in no time!
Bermudas Barrier Reefs “consume” Incoming Wave Energy
Here a kite surfer rides the wind!
Rudi and Louie
Serious Q & A with my new bros
Over the years I have watched Rudi (12) and Louie (11) not just become better surfers, but also turn into solid people. Surfing does that, it immerses you in something larger and very powerful, what I like to call Big Blue. They are easy going and fun-loving. They love the food here and are always hungry! “Fish, plantains, and Britt chocolates” the lads enthusiastically exclaim. They already have monikers or nicknames, perhaps to keep in pace with instructors Chumi, Gato, Hellboy, and Pio!
‘Tsumani Rudi Gabas’ on a Screamer!
‘Big Wave Louie’ Sets up a nice Bottom Turn
Richard and Sharon
It is interesting how many doctors come to Safari Surf. Richard and Sharon are M.D.s in Bermuda.
I asked them what fuels the economy there: “tourism has been overtaking by the reinsurance industry” explains Richard. What is that I asked? “Reinsurance is insurance issued for Insurance Companies, and Bermuda is a leading hub for this”. When asked about Bermudas beaches, Sharon says “oh we have many lovely beaches here, perfect for snorkeling and swimming, but few waves”.
Richard Backdoors a Nice Section
Sharon Pulling in at the Boca
Beautiful Seascapes but No Waves!
The Bermuda Triangle
The real Bermuda Triangle in my book is the connection to Nosara spawned by the Hammonds’ sharing with their friends via the Coconut Telegraph. Richard says “we would come back after these fabulous surfing vacations and spread the word to our best friends. They would look at the photos of the whole family surfing together and one by one more families joined the next trip.” “Let’s see” says Sharon, “We have the Pecketts, Outerbridges, Skinners, Betts, Kendalls, and Wojo’s, that’s nearly 40 people!”. Many thanks to all of our Bermuda families for coming – our house is yours!
Sharon and Rudi spending Quality Time
Our House is Your House
Team Bermuda – April 2015
Safari Surf’s German Connection
I have always been fascinated by the depth of Marlon Illig. For example, he speaks fluent German. For a lad raised in rural Nosara, this strikes me as interesting and unusual. Marlon is one of the New Breed of Safari instructors that joined us this season. Safari hosts a fair amount of Europeans this time of year and many happen to be German. Imagine coming to Costa Rica from Germany to a surf school and finding that your instructor speaks German! Marlon is educated, informed, and quite worldly. I was intrigued the other day when I overheard him talking movies and critiquing actors and directors with some guests. Oh yeah, he also speaks fluent English! I sat down with Marlon to get the skinny.
PL: Everyone knows you as Jeffrey’s brother, but he doesn’t speak German?
Marlon: Well it’s a long story, but I was adopted!
PL: So explain the Germany connection.
Marlon: I was born in Germany and am a German citizen as well as Costa Rican. At 2 yrs old mom moved us to Nosara. She had been there before and longed to return. So Nosara is where I grew up.
All Men are Brothers!
PL: When did you start surfing?
Marlon: I started 4 years ago. Since I starting teaching with Safari this season I had a kind of “rebirth” and fell in love with surfing all over again. I can’t get enough now!
PL: You are a great with people and seem to have found the perfect fit with surf instruction. What do you like about it?
Marlon: The best part is watching the transformation that people go through here. When they arrive they are all white and pasty and stressed from their busy lives. After a few days they are totally transformed, physically, mentally, and spiritually. They develop a new self confidence and inner stoke. It is such a priceless thing to observe and be part of!
PL: You recently turned 18. What are your future plans?
Marlon: I am going back to Germany in two months, after high season. My dream is to become a pilot and I am looking to enroll in flight school there. I plan to return next high season (Dec-April) to work at Safari, save money, and continue my schooling in Germany.
PL: Wow what a great goal. Viel Glück an euch mein Bruder! (Best of luck to you my brother).
“The New Breed” (Kevin, Marlon, fan, Jordani)
For more on Marlon check out Safari’s new instructor video here:
Higher Learning through Surfing at Safari Surf School
“Study Abroad” – the phrase conjures up images of earnest students absorbed in esoteric topics enhanced by their unique surrounds – English Lit studies at Oxford, Italian culture and language studies in Rome, Ancient Greek civilization studies in Athens – but surfing in Costa Rica?? In January Safari Surf hosted a group of students from Guilford College in North Carolina lured by the enticing title: Surfing Centuries: An interdisciplinary introduction to riding waves, past and present. In the intro syllabus Professor Maia Dery, an avid surfer, describes the course as follows: “You all “surf” almost every day. Surfing became the runaway metaphor to describe the freedom and possibilities of the internet. How did that metaphor come into being? How did surfing, a fully embodied indigenous pastime, become such a powerful cultural trope?”
I was hooked! “College courses have come a long way since my graduation from Cal Western University San Diego in 1973” I mused. Maia is a stoked and dedicated surfer of many years. Was this just a clever way to go on a surf trip? One glimpse at the 16 page syllabus would dispel that shallow notion. This was a bonafide heavy-duty full credit academic assignment fraught with multiple texts books and several evaluation criteria. The group spent 18 days with us and became like family. With the opening of Olas Verdes Sustainable Surfing resort this summer, we look forward to more study abroad groups, as we collectively expand our horizons together through surfing.
For emphasis on my “how times have changed” reflection, I draw your attention to the textbooks for this course. Five texts and several articles were required to pass this course. But wait a second, take a look at some of these titles: Surfer Girls in the New World Order, Waves of Resistance, Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing. These are deeply academic compendiums with complex concepts and big words!
Professor Dery was kind enough to share some of the student’s blogs with me which reveal the “seriousness” of how they viewed their assignment. There was no surfspeak “killer tasty tubes dude”, but rather acutely insightful and sensitive reflections on their Nosara experiences. Here are a few examples:
“Today our rowdy group of twelve returns to volunteer at La Escuelita de Verano, a summer school that offers a space of creative, artistic and physical engagement for children in elementary and middle school. The playful joy of the children is contagious, and rejuvenating in every essence of the word. These encounters complicate and deepen my process of distilling my time here; this presents for me questions of how personal relationships motivate us in our actions and aspirations. Our experience on earth is comprised of overlapping, unpredictable relationships with ourselves and the people and places that surround us. Relationship entails emotional awakeness; a mindfulness of your own needs and those that surround you. A willingness to give, receive, compromise, reciprocate. The quality of relationship determines the extent to which we defy the logic of self-preservation–it determines a turning point in which giving to others can be self-gratifying as well. I would propose from all of the love I have encountered the last couple of days, impassioned people offer parts of themselves for a greater need because they are emotionally guided towards something bigger. And the result is a form of gratification that expands and nourishes in all directions.”
“What if you were a piece of sand? The beach is your world. Ocean waves the only force, besides feet, controlling your life. A sand hierarchy exists in your world; those below you are not seen. Those above you get all the credit for the great beach you all have created. Without waves, your place in the social sand hierarchy is fixed. You cannot make your way to the top of the beach, or be brought deeper.”
“Moving into this experience I am finding myself most interested in the media canon of surf culture and the way it effects cultural inertia. The Endless Summer has undoubtedly had a profound impact on surfer culture, but how far reaching is it? How have the escapist fantasy ideals laid out in The Endless Summer impacted the activistic ambivalence that all of our readings have condemned. Does this have anything to do with how it’s the ‘outsider groups’ -the surfer girls and surfers of color- that are creating surfing spaces that are being held up as sustainable and culturally aware models of surf culture? My personal lexicon of surf media and culture is too small to even start ball-parking answers to questions like this, but they’re the sort of questions that I have been taught by my theater studies to ask about media: what does this piece of popular media say about the culture it comes from? What is this piece of media doing to the culture it comes from? I have said several times over the course of these last few days that all media is political, and it could even be argued that everything is political (or that everything is media), leading me to ask these questions of just about every text we’ve been introduced to.”
PROFESSOR MAIA DERY
“My goal in offering this study abroad experience was to inspire and facilitate an atmosphere we call informed engagement. Surfing has been a personal passion for me over the last 8 years. My vision is to construct creative ways to incorporate surfing into academic studies to invigorate students’ curiosity. Our experiences in Nosara were profound and life-changing. I most certainly will try to return next year!
Does your professor surf this good? Maia Dery – doin’ her homework!
Having a group of energetic and motivated college students with us for nearly three weeks was nourishing for all of us. For one thing, college students eat a lot! Safari’s amazing kitchen duo Maritiza and Alycia created and served magnificent meals, incorporating local flavors of Tico ‘tipico’ cuisine. The kids helped with food prep and dishes. Their field trips to the local summer school fostered authentic culture interactions. We thank you all for coming and wish you the very best – Hasta Pronto!
Back in the day, my college graduation in 1973.
English major, what else!
I launched our fundraising campaign for the Innovative Biodiesel Project on IndieGogo last week and we have already raised 56% of our $5,000 goal!
Please watch the video below and if you believe in the project, surf over to our campaign page to make a pledge and share it with your friends, family and coworkers using the sharing tools right below the video: http://igg.me/p/287334/x/1838244