Want to learn to surf but don’t know where to start? Surfing lessons are all about taking your surfing to the next level regardless of how much experience you may or may not have. It’s all about conquering fear, learning water safety, expanding your ocean and wave knowledge, and returning to the true essence of surfing – fun and relaxation!
Below are 10 Important Surfing Tips for Costa Rica, which are targeted to the beginner.
10) Know How to Swim
Snorkelling and scuba diving are extremely unsafe activities for the non-swimmer, and the same goes for surfing. Surfing is all about finding the best and the biggest waves to ride which often mean that there will be strong and powerful currents, which are very dangerous for non-swimmers.
9) Pick a Safe Surf Spot to Learn
You do not want to start out on a high profile surf spot which is intended for experts, such as those in Dominical or Tamarindo. Playa Jaco or Hermosa are excellent places to start your surf journey in Costa Rica, and are highly recommended for beginners.
8) Take a Surf lesson (or lessons)
Learning the basics is important: how to stand, how to approach a wave, how to look for the right wave, watch for other surfers and stay safe when you’re surfing. It’s worth your time to learn how to do it properly for your own safety.
7) Be prepared to drink salt water
A downside to surfing are the wipe outs and mouthfuls of salt water that you’ll inevitably swallow. Don’t be afraid do wipe out, and try to keep your mouth closed when falling!
6) Wear a Wet Suit or Rash Guard Long T-shirt
Since Costa Rica’s waters are almost always warm wet suits are not usually needed. However, a rash guard long t-shirt can protect your skin since you will rub up against your surfboard. Both are usually rented out at Costa Rica surfing schools however if you are planning on surfing more than a handful of times, it’s worth your money to spring for a wetsuit or rash guard t-shirt.
5) Practise Activities to Help You Surf
Conditioning and cross training are important for those who wish to hit the surf in Costa Rica more than a couple of times. Improving your cardio will allow you to surf longer and enjoy more of your Costa Rican surf vacation. If you live near mountains, take up snowboarding, if not, practise skateboarding. Although this may seem silly as they are entirely different activities, the movements are similar and will keep you in shape. Just as a hockey player plays golf in the off-season, a surfer should be snowboarding when not around waves.
4) Weight Train Your Arms and Chest
Surfers are constantly “pushing up” to get on the board, to lie down and paddle and to get up to his/her feet after a wave. Push ups, bench press, and bicep curls will help tremendously with your surf experience, not to mention the attention you will get from the girls with your new beach body!
3) Get the Surf “Stance” Down
Bend your knees, keep your arms out, focus on an unmoving object in front of you and keep your feet firmly planted. The stance is important but so is being able to find your balance once you get into your stance. Practise is the only way to perfection, so keep trying!
2) Learn to Talk Like a Surfer
One of the most entertaining parts about learning how to surf is learning the the surfer lingo. What does ‘catching a wave’ actually mean? Do Costa Rican Surfers actually say gnarley, dude, and right on? What are breaks, rides and surf? The Surf Lingo Dictionary can help you, however learn from the locals and the surf lingo is not entirely universal.
1) Keep getting up and don’t give up
Keep getting up – no matter how sore your arms may be or no matter how tired you are of falling off! Once you catch that wave, you will realize, it is totally worth it!