Hey Boss: Why Not Costa Rica?

As a business owner, I understand the importance of recognizing employees who “keep the lights on” with daily operations. Having a happy, healthy, reliable and productive team of operators, instructors, managers, staff, strategic partners and other stakeholders – year in and year out – are key to the success of our business. It would be impossible for Safari Surf School to maintain its success record without a team that feels valued, motivated and appreciated for their work. And while we live a charmed life surrounded by surf, we still take time to get together as a company and have a little fun. So, how do businesses recognize employees for their hard work and achievements? For a few, that answer is travel.
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Many companies offer annual top producer recognition platforms, which may vary from extravagant holiday parties to exotic travel experiences. By way of “Circle of Excellence” programs, team-building experiences are oftentimes tied to destination travel, allowing businesses to reward excellent employee performance while strengthening relationships between leadership and contributors. If this sounds like your approach, my question to you is this: Have you ever considered Costa Rica as a destination of choice? From proximity to the United States and lower total costs of travel, to rich experiential travel choices, happy people and a blissful atmosphere, there are a number of factors that make this Central American landmass a great option.
That sounds great, you say, but why would I consider spending this time with a surf school? The answer is easy: Because we offer an irreplaceable experience built around a sense of achievement, centered in paradise, surrounded by beauty, customized to your liking, complemented with experiential options, and soaked in a charmed Pacific coast culture. Do you question the attractiveness of this as an option? Then I challenge you to mention it to a few employees and just watch their eyes light up.
Sure – on paper we’re a surf camp. Our daily office space is filled with beautiful sunsets, tropical landscapes teeming with abundant wildlife and surfboard-toting beachcombers. Yet while surf instruction and beach life are at the core of our operations, Safari Surf School offers so much more than instruction on surf. We are more than a patient, well-trained staff who delivers hands-on instruction, eco-friendly, top-notch equipment and the knowledge to help you catch your first wave. We’re actually providers of customized, experiential travel who can coordinate the memory of a lifetime for the health and well-being of your company’s most important assets – your people. And we do it in the midst of the ultimate in surf culture and latin culture, with ecotourism and sustainability principles front and center.

Wake up to the sounds of Howler Monkeys stretching their vocal cords off in the distance… time for a fresh cup of coffee or whatever moves you. Off to the Safari facility for a pre-surf snack of fresh fruits and banana bread and then meet up with your surf instructor.

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Resident Howler Monkey

So why should you head south with your team for some rest, relaxation and camaraderie? For starters, take a look at cost and proximity. Compare the cost of travel to Costa Rica with other popular, sunny destinations. We’ve witnessed incredible average price drops into the Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport of Liberia, Costa Rica over the last year. All major carriers (Delta, United, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, jetBlue, Alaska Airlines and Sun Country Airlines) now make daily runs into this airport and the average direct flight into Liberia is 5 ½ hours from LA and 3 ½ hours from Houston. Upon arrival, your drive is less than two hours to our beach hamlet, or if you arrive into SJO (San Jose), we’re a short direct 50 minute flight away into Nosara where we pick you up.
Second, this country is quite simply filled with happy people down here. Who couldn’t enjoy themselves within a paradise of smiles and kindness? If this sounds like a bold statement, simply walk over to a post I made a few months ago and read all about The Search for Happiness. Discover how Nic Marks, founder of The Centre for Well-Being in London, created an equation to calculate what he calls the Happy Planet Index (HPI) and proving out Costa Rica as the happiest place on the planet.
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Outdoor view of the beautiful Olas Verdes Hotel

When it comes to a relaxing atmosphere and charming facilities, we offer you access to Olas Verdes Hotel, where we serve as anchor tenants. This newly-launched hotel is the world’s first LEED-certified surf hotel and will soon be Central America’s first LEED-Platinum hotel. Olas Verdes occupies several hundred meters of ideal Pacific coastline of the ever-popular Playa Guiones and features seven independent structures, offering 40 accommodations, comprised of 14 standard guest rooms, 10 suites, and four private-entrance cottages. Amazing, right? This is an ultimate corporate playground. Just imagine business meetings where you know that you can play, meditate, relax and still foster a teamwork atmosphere, in an authentic environment.
We have the ability to configure team building opportunities, immersive travel and educational for corporate travel groups, rewarding your company with irreplaceable experiences within the densest region of biodiversity in the world. A short-list of experiential guest activities run the gamut, from deep-sea fishing, volcanic-fed hot springs and rainforest expeditions, to cultural immersion, local fútbol, yoga and massage.
Playa Guiones Surfers, Nosara, Costa Rica
Surfers approach on Playa Guiones, Nosara, Costa Rica

My wish is that if you are evaluating options for business group travel, take into considering a most-unique and rewarding option of travel to Costa Rica, coupled with the great reward of catching your first wave (or dusting off those long-lost skills with some refreshing instruction along the beautiful Nosara beach of Playa Guiones. In a future installment, I am going to elaborate on the Costa Rican culture and atmosphere by elaborating ‘pura vida’ – a term which has been present in the Costa Rican dialect for over fifty years.

Surf Faster With These Tips

Playa Guiones Rip

So you’ve mastered the basics: you can paddle and catch waves with ease, stand up and drop in and bottom turn. Now what? The next step is learning to create and maintain speed! Speed is one of the most important elements in surfing. Without it, you won’t be able to perform even the most basic moves and turns. It’s the same with skiing, snowboarding, or pretty much any board type of sport; speed is the key to maneuverability.
With that said, here are some helpful tips to surf faster:
Checking and Understanding the Waves
First things first! Before you hop in the water, you have to check the waves. Watching the waves and understanding the type of wave / break it is will certainly help you understand how to ride the actual wave. I almost always sit and watch waves for about 10 minutes, especially at new breaks I’ve never surfed before. By watching the waves and how they are breaking you can see where the “sections” that are faster come along while the wave is breaking, where it may close out, where it may soften or slow down, etc. Of course there is no substitute for actually riding the wave. At least seeing how it is breaking before you jump on them will help – especially with watching a few waves other surfers catch and seeing how they ride the wave to completion.
Bottom Turn – Stay High!
Your initial bottom turn is the key to your entire wave. By timing it right, staying low with a low center of gravity, with legs bent and coiled like a spring, you should release that “coil” spring in your legs to project yourself down the line. This will automatically thrust yourself down the line and high up on the face of the wave. That initial burst of speed is the catalyst for the rest of your wave. As they say in surfing, “Your bottom turn is EVERYTHING.” Once you have propelled yourself forward from that initial bottom turn and you find yourself on the upper third of the wave…this is where you will always reach the apex of speed on a wave.
Stay Close to the Pocket (“S” Turns)
Staying close to the energy source (the pocket) is a key factor in maintaining speed, for as the closer you are to the curl or epicenter of the waves power source the faster you will go. The wave will dictate what your next move is but in this little piece I’m going to explain how to keep your speed or if need be, even go faster. (I’ll cover slowing down / cutbacks at another time).
The classic “S” turn, or as we surfers say a lot “pumping down the line,” are terms for generating and keeping our board speed high. The “S” turn is really quite simple and I equate it to a coiled spring that contracts and expands. If you’ve ever watched a surf movie, or perhaps above average surfers at the beach, you notice this when the surfers are “pumping” or expanding and contracting like a coil to gain speed on a wave. While going high on the wave then low, then high, then low – ”pumping” their legs from a bent (contracted) to extended (expand) position in rapid succession – they are creating the speed needed to go faster down the line of the wave.
Keep Your Board Clean (and Fins)
Make sure to clean the bottom of your board. This will help you move faster on the water. Believe it or not but I see people all the time with wax marks on the bottom of their boards from boards laying on each other, or whatever other reason. Your fins also have a lot to do with speed, as does the design of your surfboard (yet another article topic coming soon).
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Relax and Watch
I cannot emphasize to you how important it is to watch other surfers in the line up. This is a great way to see other people’s styles and also how they “read” the wave while surfing it. Of course this is also a great way to self-teach, too. Just relax and let the waves come to you. Like anything else, practice, practice, practice each maneuver until you have the confidence to know that you can execute whenever you need them. Aloha!

Be Prepared: Keeping Our Surfers Safe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Safari Surf Goes Surfing!

INSIDE PEAK– May 2016

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

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An Empty Left and the beautiful La Jolla Guasacaste

The Crew

                                                                      PETER                                       JEFFRY                                    TIM
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              ALI  AND MARITZA                                                                                      PIO                                                                             JORDANI
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Luis, Helberth, Erick, Kevin
Luis, Helberth, Erick, Kevin

Midnight Express

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

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DSCN9166La Frontera (the border)

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

Timmy’s wise words reverberated in my head as we approached the Nicaraguan border. I had visited Nicaragua before, but never entered this way (I’d flown into Managua).  The first thing we learned was that the border crossing offices did not open until 6am. We watched as a line formed at the checkpoint. When we saw a crowded bus unload its passengers into the growing mob we realized we should be in line, not slouched out in the van. We were planning to lock down the van in a guarded parking area and Bob (La Jolla owner/operator) would meet us on the other side. The scene was chaotic and confusing, but we managed to park the van and join the line for the two hour wait.
It was about at this point that Luis discovered he did not have his passport. There was no way to sugar coat this dilemma; he had to take a bus back to Nosara. He called his girlfriend Laura to tell her the news and she responding by saying “no worries, I will bring it up to you”!    DSCN9173 DSCN9144
One of the fascinating things about living here is people watching. I am amazed at the women I meet who are traveling through Central America solo, carrying only a backpack. They speak multiple languages and seem to navigate what I call the ‘third world follies ‘with determination and no fear. Laura is from Australia and she does not speak Spanish, but somehow she threaded together three bus rides to reach the border, and she and Luis made it to La Jolla by 5pm – happy hour! The rest of our merry group trudged through the arduous and hectic border crossing routine and were met by Bob who had arranged for a large van to take us to the hotel.

Made It!
Made It!

NICARAGUA                

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

Rendezvous with Bob Eason in Nica
Rendezvous with Bob Eason in Nica

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

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Stunning wave-rich coastline = Surf Colonization

La Jolla de Guasacate

The La Jolla resort is the brainchild of Tim Siviter, who also maintains some beautiful rental homes in Playa Guiones. After about a year Tim brought in a partner, Bob Eason, who runs the hotel along with his lovely wife Ditmara. I had a captivating talk with Bob about his experiences over the years in Central America. At one time Bob owned the very successful surfwear brand called Picante, but his heart was in Nicaragua and he eventually sold everything and returned to the simple life he loved. The La Jolla Resort occupies 50 acres of prime ocean view land. There are currently 11 fully appointed rooms with another 12 on the way. There is also a large, beautifully furnished private home that can be rented for groups and families.  Additionally there are 114 lots for sale within an exclusive gated community, but hurry – 70 have already sold! The furnishings and amenities are modern and upscale. After our all-night jaunt and chaotic border crossing, we were all swept away by the special beauty and comfort of the place. Bobs heart has always been ‘for the people’ and he is very focused on taking care of the locals. “For 30 years these people have lived at subsistence level with no assistance from the government” Bob points out, “but they still have huge smiles on their faces”. The hotel website: http://www.lajollahotelnica.com.
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blog-5               Owner/Operators Bob & Ditmara Eason

The Surf

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

Learning Friendly Waves at Magnifient Rock
Learning Friendly Waves at Magnifient Rock

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

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

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The A-Team in action at Colorados

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Safari Nicaragua

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

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

Hasta Pronto!

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

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

timmy marsi

 

Inside Peak- Join Our Family

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JOIN OUR FAMILY

Safari Surf recently had the privilege of welcoming Stan and Olga into our family. They stayed with us for a month, and the idea was that they would trade out breakfast and room at the Safari House in exchange for a couple of promo videos, to be posted on the Safari Surf website, Facebook page, and other social media sites. Stan and Olga are from Germany, where it is very, very cold right now so, they were happy to take a break from the cold in Nosara.  Their “assignment” was to soak up the “Safari Vibe” and translate this to video. Having founded the adventure travel blog website http://www.epiclist.com, they were no strangers to “extreme adrenaline sports”, and were familiar with surfing, but in their time here, they fully embraced the essence of surfing and pura vida, which is captured brilliantly in their video creations. At the end of their 1st published video they encourage us to “join the family”, which is exactly what we are. I feel like we are in the 1970’s again! Check it out here: https://vimeo.com/119782826.

Stay tuned to Safari Surf for more from Stan and Olga. And  muchas gracias for the stoke lift you two!

Stan Olga

Stan and Olga at work

 

Family Vacations at Safari Surf

Traveling to Costa Rica with your family is an enriching experience for everyone. You will be immersed in a culture and adventure that takes place outside of your iPhone! When I fly Northbound from San Jose to Orlando, Florida to visit my daughter, the planes are full of excited Costa Rican families heading to Disney World; but the Southbound flights are full of Americanos headed to paradise for surfing, kayaking, horseback riding, fishing, zip lining, and  yoga. Surfing brings people together and creates a memorable bonding experience for families.  Meal times are generally long, leisurely affairs around a happy table where people actually talk to one another. It is definitely quality time!
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Strong Family Unit

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Bill Curley and family love surfing so much that they bought a vacation home here

 

One Big Happy Family

Whether you come as a single solo-traveler or bring your husband/wife and kiddos along, everyone becomes part of the family. You surf together, zipline, kayak, ride horses……you get to know everyone in town.

Safari welcomes a huge amount of return clients, we call them our alumni.

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Family Horseback Tour

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Families that Zipline together, stay together!

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Sam & Jeff Chandler – football bonding

Around the Table

Safari Surf guests share breakfast and dinners together every day. The conversation is lively and spirited and the television is turned off!
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Sam’s Birthday Celebration!

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Three Generations of Lewis Girls!

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The Wagner Family dining under the stars

JOIN THE SAFARI FAMILY TODAY!

Sure it sounds like the old cliché, but down here ‘Lo Que Hay’ (it is what it is!).

Come on down to Safari Surf for Spring break, its way better than Ft. Lauderdale!

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Student group from Guilford College in North Carolina

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All-Girls Surf Clinic for Local Nosara Families

 

Inside Peak- The Germany- Costa Connection

Safari Surf’s German Connection

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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.
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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!


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Carrie Learns Proper Waxing Technique



 
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Kids at Play

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marlon boardPL: 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).
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                             “The New Breed” (Kevin, Marlon, fan, Jordani)

Plus Erich!

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For more on Marlon check out Safari’s new instructor video here:
https://vimeo.com/119782826

Inside Peak- Higher Learning Through Surfing

Higher Learning through Surfing at Safari Surf School

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“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.
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Required Reading

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!
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Student Blogs

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:
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CHARLOTTE

“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.” 
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NATE

Sandland
“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.”

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ROSE

“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!
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Does your professor surf this good? Maia Dery – doin’ her homework!

FAMILY

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!
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Alma Mater

Cal West

Back in the day, my college graduation in 1973.

English major, what else!