Costa Rica is suited for the casual surfer. Waves do not go particularly high or strong, but are known to consistently be above a man tall. Weather is not particularly turbulent, even during the rainy season. Costa Rica’s beaches are suited for surfing with beginners, with family, but most especially with children. Overall, it’s an atmosphere for safe, controlled surfing. You will not have to worry about sharks or life threatening waves, although you also cannot expect much in the way of really high level surfing.
The easiest, most painless and fun way to surf in Costa Rica is to book in one of many surfing hotels. The hotels provide the whole package, from food and lodging, to surfing equipment, to surfing instructors, learning packages and month long surfing camps.
Hotels also come in several prices ranges. Professional surfers will prefer to book in the luxury hotel lodges, since they are positioned where the best waves are, many right at the beach itself, but families will do fine in midrange hotels if the luxury hotels are not in budget.
Witch’s Rock was where I learned to surf myself nearly a lifetime ago. My friends had connections with Joe Walsh and the surfers who had initially discovered Witch’s Rock and first appropriated it as an international surf spot
Joe Walsh’s history with Witch’s Rock is considerable shorter, but no less exciting. Straight out of graduating college, Walsh bought an old school bus, persuaded his friends to go with him, and found themselves in Costa Rica, where he developed the area into a surfing tourism paradise.
Surfing became huge in Costa Rica in recent years, but the locals had long known about the perfect waves in the country for decades. After hosting a surfing world championship in 2009, Playa Hermosa, and by extension Costa Rica, became established as a premier surfing destination.
I am not championship material myself, but I can definitely hold my own when it comes to riding the waves and having a good time of it. Nothing can compare to the physicality of it all, how intimate you become with your body and what it can do, and how you feel one with the waves.
Some surfers mellow down and develop something bordering on spirituality from prolonged exposure to the waves. I think the sensation of surfing is comparable to the frenzy Sufis feel from performing the whirling dervish, and this is where that spirituality, that mellowing down comes from.
And so I find myself chatting about this and other things with Joe and his crew. We certainly had fun catching up to old times, and he recommended a few other surf spots near the area, as well as things to do. Happy reminiscences culminated in surfing and revelry until the wee hours of dawn.
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