Surf School Dropouts



[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] L [/dropcap]iving in Nosara can be both a surfer’s dream and nightmare at the same time.  Playa Guiones is one of the most consistent breaks I have ever surfed. It only goes flat around 7-10 days a year and even then there is a little something to surf. The long lines of white water make it perfect for beginners to learn on the inside breaks and with that comes an overabundance of Surf Schools all marketing the idea that their school is going to teach you the roots to surfing crammed into a one week get-a-way package for an incredible price of 3k or a $50 lesson.


I am often asked “What is the best surf school in Nosara?” and I always reply “does it really matter?”   What do you really expect to learn about surfing in a week? You have someone push you and you stand up. Later in the week if you’re lucky you stand up on green water. Any surf school is able to teach you this. Some glamorize ISA certifications and elite team trainers but truth is it’s all the same bullshit. I mean shouldn’t anyone teaching a water sport for money know CPR? So my answer to your question would be to go with the one that seems the most fun.  Consider that, before you dump a year’s savings into what appears to be a killer package deal, you maybe should take a minute to learn a little bit more about surfing. [/one_half] [one_half_last]

Start by understanding the majority of great surfers weren’t being pushed into waves, getting massages when their arms hurts, and having someone put band-aids on their boo-boos. They are good because they have talent and have spent more hours in the water than most people do at work. As kids they were in lineups praying for their elders to give them a wave. There was a pecking order. If they dropped in on someone they were quickly called out. They surfed for 8 hours straight and often an hour past sunset. When their arms hurt no one was there to give them a massage or offer a yoga class to stretch it out. Broken fin in the head no problem, use some Vaseline and get back out in the water. Surfing was cool. It had meaning and best of all IT WAS FREE![/one_half_last]

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #9b9b9b;”] S [/dropcap]urfing is quickly becoming so marketed that the people teaching these camps have quickly forgotten the fundamentals and what being a surfer really means. Who suffers? Well, for starters the real surfers as well as any other medium to advanced surfer wanting to enjoy the experience of surfing in Central America. Surfing in Costa Rica use to be a destination for a surfer to excel or explode, now it has become no better than an amusement park for every Tom, Dick, and harry to learn. It has become a business and all about the money.  Imagine your visit to Playa Guiones riding that perfect wave, two huge round houses before heading towards the reform in the shore break on only to see one of twenty surf students being pushed into your wave blindly by some overqualified instructor. Not the best way to make friends or help the surfing community of Nosara in my eyes. Sure the local surf instructors are stoked, it’s all money for them but it wrecks it for everyone else involved including the embarrassed student. On a busy day 12 camps can have as many as 10 people in the water each. That means 120 surf students packed into the main break of a wave being pushed in one after the other. A recipe for disaster. Don’t get me wrong I am a photographer and I will take photos of you being pushed into a wave all day long but if you see what I see behind the lens on a daily basis you would understand the frustration that comes with the overcrowded plethora of surf schools in this area.

In the end it’s up to you to decide what you want from surfing. If you feel the need to be pampered, wine and dined then Nosara has many options to suit your bottomless pit of a wallet but if you want to take a much cheaper and soulful route take a lesson from a Costa Rican rent a board for the week and paddle far away from everyone else and surf until the sunsets with your best friend. You will then understand one of the most important reasons we surf.  Juan Surfo is one of my favorite Surf Instructors for one reason F U N.  Every student he has is always laughing and having the time of their life doing it way down the beach with usually only each other. I often see his students join him in the really late evening sessions surfing until the sun sets. So if authentic surf experience in Costa Rica is what you’re searching for and you don’t have strength to learn on your own, he would be my choice. [author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Written by Graham Swindell[/author_info] [/author]

One thought on “Surf School Dropouts”

  1. Graham,

    Very well written and straight from your heart to hopefully the many ears that need to hear what you had to say! The new site looks great! Good work as usual my man! Hope to catch ya sometime soon at B-gonia!


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