Nosara Ranks what??? in the world for best places to learn to really surf!

In a world where fake news circulates in a matter of minutes via social networks I decided why not speak of Learning to Surf in Nosara from my own perspective, not some blog writer who was given a free week surf retreat in exchange for an article. If you disagree then we can agree to disagree. While we all want to pretend it’s Utopia here, people who are not reaping the benefits from crowding the lineup with NSP funboards are really  like, “how the hell can there be another Surf School opening up in the area and who the hell are these people writing articles that rate Surf Destinations for beginners?” The lineup in Playa Guiones is probably one of the most dangerous lineups in all of Central America as far as inexperience goes and the majority of the instructors probably won’t even notice you’re hurt because they are too busy catching the set wave behind yours (which was why you were blindly pushed into your wave).

I suffered a major accident in Playa Guiones while surfing that took me a total of 9 hours to get to a hospital (including private plane to ambulancel) where I stayed for a couple of weeks and underwent a couple of surgeries . Although it was my own fault, it was not fun. After 25 years of surfing, a waist high wave flipped my board back into my eye and ripped it in half. I was blind for a week but after the second surgery I regained some vision but lost my iris (needed to block out sun) and my internal lens, which sharpens focus . While in the hospital the doctors asked me to do one thing. Inform the people of the risk and how dangerous the nose and fins of a board are. I’m living proof they are pretty freaking dangerous. I have to wear goggles when I surf now – forever and it sucks. It’s because of this, and the endless frustration of being run-over by beginners that I write this article.

We want to sell you surfing but ask yourself do you really want to be in a position where you’re at greater risk of getting hurt if you don’t have to be? 16-20 surf schools with up to 16 people for each surf school is on average who you are surfing with during the high seasons here. So if the outside is packed with the intermediate, just think you also have all the  beginners in the white water on the inside. Mix in the locals who are doing their daily surf sessions and the tourist who are there to surf because they already know how and you will see it is an absolute recipe for disaster. Nobody in this area  wants to address the elephant in the room.

I write this article in hopes that someone steps up to this over-saturated  surf school/camp/retreat area and regulates. The older Ticos are already having talks about more organization and teaching the proper etiquette but talk is talk. I never thought I would say this but maybe Central America should have a Surf Zone in areas like this putting the schools in designated areas so the others can enjoy more  and the designated areas can maybe have lifeguards or rescue stations.

In this area no one is getting news updates of all the accidents occurring weekly, if not daily, but if you’re curious maybe you should ask a local doctor how many people he has stitched up this week.

Book your vacation smart and during a time when you can receive the most out of it and don’t be afraid to be concerned for you or your child’s safety. Try to surf during daybreak or mid-day if you can stand the heat. Use Tico business for everything, even photography if you can,  and don’t ever forget you’re in COSTA RICA. Respect it’s ways and people.

Be safe yall,

Graham Swindell


Be safe,  pay attention


4 thoughts on “Nosara Ranks what??? in the world for best places to learn to really surf!”

  1. Graham my man, I really ppreciate you keeping it real. I believe what you are saying is very important, more than ever right now. As they say, the proverbial “clock is ticking” on this issue.

    Let me preface by wholeheartedly asserting I am all for supporting all local Tico business and do so as often as possible along with volunteering my time. That said, at what cost do these business’s eventually start effecting the entire community? Not just safety concerns but economically as a whole. I believe that both safety and economic dollars are serious issues at stake here that need to be addressed…

    Besides the obvious ramifications of proper safety and etiquette that must be implements into the surf school curriculum . I find it absolutely necessary that with so many different surf school availability in the Guiones market place they need to make arrangements to share certain aspects of the beach and staggered time lots if possible. It’s a shit show out there. Let alone most of these people have zero concept of the dangers of the waves, currents, sea creatures I.e. jellyfish, sting rays, sea snakes, crocks, children, eatchother, etc…. Just as important, the fact that each one of these surf schools is so desperately looking for business they consistently undercut their fellow competitors company. That is sheer ignorance in the business world because it’s only a matter of time until each company will not have the profit margins to stay economical viable in the Nosara/Guiones workplace.

    But the bigger issue in all this, is if all these Surf schools continue to operate under this M.O. and scheduling school at the same time as well as during all hours of the day in the Playa Guiones area. It will no longer be a premier destination for surf, adventure and fun. Once a nice a place like this gets labeled “crowded lineups’” worse, “crowded lineups” filled with noobs & kooks making it extremely unsafe for others, i.e, serious safety hazards!!!! You can bet everyones local tourism dollars are going to start going somewhere else quick.

    P.S. Graham, I too took a rail to the face and injured my eye and nose just recently do to surf school disaster. Just last month on April 2, 2018.
    Broken nose, 8 stitches in my face, deviated septum, and my right cornea was scratched. Not a good look, with, TWO BLACK EYE’s and my eyes fully dilated for 2 weeks with the Dr. Meds, so the swelling of my nose and eyes didn’t effect the scratch worse and tear it making me blind!! All because the guy taking a lesson was unaware that its NOT OKAY to drop in on another surfer whose already fully commited, especially sinc I was on the lip directly above the jackass! …and yet nobody close to me saw it, thus if I hadn’t had the wherewithal to get my butt to shore ASAP, I’d most likely be dead.

    …anyway, cool story

    Stay safe!!


  2. Graham,

    Good article. I have been to Playa Guiones several times, and agree that the dawn patrol and mid day are the only way (currently) to avoid the huge crowds and minimize injury risk. Every time I go, the place seems more crowded. What a shame. Have tried to research another break in north CR, but the crime rate scares me away. Wish I could find a less crowded and safe place to surf!

  3. Thank you for writing this. I am sorry about your eye. Etiquette is a must and no one should be out there unless they know and respect surf etiquette. That will solve half of it. As for the surf school non-sense I am not sure how to regulate that. Growing up in Florida, I could remember the surfers and body boarders were kept seperate and a life gaurd would whistle if you crossed “the line”. This seemed to work ok but pushed everyone into one space which may have made it less safe. Why not just rope off sections where the outside breaks are not as good for the surf schools…unless it’s the University of Florida cheerleading squad make them surf down the beach 🙂

  4. Hey Graham, Well written perspective. My first surf at Guiones was 1990, a lot has changed since then. Kelly and I will be in the area starting this weekend, we’ll look you up. Scott

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