, ,

Best Surf Spots To Learn: Costa Rica

Best Surf Spots

Costa Rica is known for its miles of beautiful sandy beaches, amazing landscape and many rich animal species.  With the name Costa Rica meaning the “rich coast”, it of course lives up to its name by having some of the best surfing destinations in the world. From being a beginner to being a pro surfer there is a variety of different surf spots for everyone to have the time of their lives. With Costa Ricas Pura Vida lifestyle you will find waves without a problem. Most of these spots are well known for being uncrowded but during tourist season it could be dangerous surfing locations that you are not ready for. Here on the pacific coast side of Costa Rica we will tell you what the best surf spots are for travelers learning how to surf and or are traveling on a family vacation.

Playa Guiones: Costa Rica

This beach is one of the most consistent beaches in all of Costa Rica. It will break with barely any swell and can hold on the days where there is a lot of swell.  With a sandy bottom this beach break provides perfect waves that are small enough for beginners to learn on. It was considered one of the top surf lesson spots in the entire world- Best Places To Learn To Surf .  Even on a bigger swell there is always waves for beginners to catch but also fun rippable waves for advanced surfers. Not only does Nosara provide excellent surfing conditions, it is located on the coast of a blue zone where people live the longest, happiest, healthiest lives in the world. The water stays around 83 degrees all year round while having the cleanest water in Costa Rica this makes Playa Guiones the perfect choice for a surfing vacation. It’s a perfect small town that has been a well-known surf spot for many years. Nicoya is a center for yoga, alternative healing practices, and healthy living. Homes, shops, and restaurants are spread out in the forest along the coast. The main surfing beach, Playa Guiones, has a beach break surfable at all tides, with multiple line-ups. It’s virtually undeveloped, thanks to a large wildlife refuge that protects nesting sea turtles. Just the water, beach, and grass-covered dunes. It’s one of my favorite beaches for that reason. Go check out our pictures of our customers surfing Playa Guiones @- Playa Guiones Surf Album

Best Surf Spots

playa guiones

 

Playa Tamarindo: Costa Rica

Tamarindo has long sandy beaches for beginners and also reefs for more advanced surfers. The main beach is where all the action is happening, usually consisting of a lot of beginning surfers and also a lot of swimmers. If you want to surf Playa Grande you will have to drive around to get to the beach or paddle across a river mouth, which I don’t recommend for families or new surfers. Playa grande is a more advanced surfers waves and usually isn’t the best place to go if you are new to surfing. A 15 minute walk from Tarmindos main break you will find Playa Langosta. This surf spot is for more advanced surfers that want to surf a right/left point break. Most of these surf spots get really crowded, but if you go at the right time of year then you can score. Also the town of Tamarindo is very very crowded and more focused on the night party scene. If you are going as a family then I wouldn’t recommend these spots but if your a college student it’s a perfect place.  Playa Avellanas is more for intermediate to advanced surfers. It is a great waves for barrels and turns. This is surf spot with reefs and also great point breaks to have on. It does not have a town with shops and restaurants

Best Surf Spots

tamarindo

Marbella: Costa Rica 

Even when there is no swell, Marbella always offers very consistent waves. Marbella can get big and rough, but it’s perfect for advanced guests. Marbella is also a less crowded beach since it is so far away. This break is well worth the trip.

Best Surf Spots

marbella

Ostional: Costa Rica 

Ostional is a wildlife refuge south of Marbella. It’s one of the world’s most important nesting sites for Olive Ridley Sea Turtles. Here you can see thousands of turtles on the beach and surf amazing waves. This is a wave for advanced and intermediate surfers. Ostional is about a 2 hour drive from Tamarindo. When it’s the turtle season, our guides like to go surf and then stay after sunset to watch the turtles.

Best Surf Spots

ostional

Our most favorite spot to learn how to surf is Norsara, Playa Guiones. With how consistent the waves break, the small easy conditions, the quiet beautiful town, and the jungle atmosphere this is our #1 location to learn how to surf and or take family vacations. Check out our Costa Rican Surf Resort at All Inclusive Resort Costa Rica

 

, ,

Flying to Costa Rica: Liberia vs San Jose Airport

What Airport to Fly into When Going to Costa Rica?

Traveling is all about location, location, location. Every journey begins with the airport where you land. In Costa Rica, there are two main international airports to choose from: San Jose (SJO) and Liberia (LIR). We recommend selecting the one that best suits your budget and geographical needs based on what area you plan to spend most of your time. Since these two airports are located far from each other and offer different benefits for travelers, here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide which one you should fly to when visiting Costa Rica.

If  you are trying to get to Corky Carroll’s Costa Rica Surf Resort Liberia International Airport will be closer than San Jose International Airport. Read below for details on travel times to and from the resort.

Here are the two main airports and the difference between locations.

Map of Liberia to San Jose Airport

Liberia International Airport

Located in northern Costa Rica within the Guanacaste Province and near the Pacific Ocean is Liberia International Airport. “LIR” is the second main international airport in Costa Rica. It is situated right next to Liberia City. Just over an hours drive from some of the most picturesque and popular beaches in the country, Liberia is an excellent choice for those looking to soak up the sun with perfect surf breaks and miles of soft sand.

Liberia International Airport Costa Rica

Over the past 10 years, the Guanacaste region has grown to be a top tourist destination for travelers visiting the scenic and less crowded Northwestern coastline of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean. This is where you’ll find some of the best all-inclusive resorts, laid-back boutique hotels, and affordable surf hostels that Costa Rica has to offer, along with biodiverse national parks and watersports. It’s also the closest and most convenient airport for guests staying at our privately-owned surf ranch in Nosara, as the drive takes around 2.5 hours (compared to 5-6 hours if transferring to/from San Jose).

Liberia International Airport Entrance

It’s worth mentioning that this airport recently underwent major renovations and improvements in 2012 and 2018 to make traveling even easier. And unlike the rough unpaved roads around San Jose, the well paved roads near Liberia make for a smoother ride with less traffic. If you’re headed to Guanacaste for the beaches, resorts, mountain corridor, or Nicoya Peninsula, the Liberia International Airport is the one to consider.

Liberia is the Best Choice For:

  • Beaches & Surfing
  • Avellanas
  • Coco
  • Flamingo
  • Grande
  • La Fortuna
  • Montaverde
  • Nosara
  • Ocotal
  • Playa Conchal
  • Playa Hermosa
  • Riu
  • Tamarindo
  • BoardMembers Surf Ranch – Nosara
  • Four Seasons Resort
  • The Hilton
  • The Westin Golf Resort – Playa Conchal

San Jose International Airport

Centrally located near Costa Rica’s bustling capital city of San Jose is SJO, the prime airport for tourists visiting the Central and Southwest regions of the country. This airport provides easy access to nature, local culture, and beaches set on the south end of Costa Rica’s Pacific Ocean. It’s also about 30 mins away from a variety of accommodations from budget-friendly hostels to high-end resorts.

San Jose International Airport Costa Rica

If you’re flying on a budget, you might want to consider SJO as an alternative to the smaller and sometimes pricier LIR airport mentioned above. Flights can be $300+ cheaper than flying into Liberia. But the price of cheaper flights is often times offset by the high cost of local transportation like bus or taxi transfers to and from the area, which can cost upwards of $200+ per ride.

If you are staying closer to Liberia or Nosara, it will take 4-6 hours of riding on busses or driving on hectic, high-traffic, rough roads to reach your destination from San Jose. SJO is also a 5 hour drive from our surf resort, nearly twice the distance as Liberia airport. If you’re tight on budget but have extra time to spare getting around town, than San Jose International Airport could be the better option.

San Jose is the Best Choice For:

  • Budget-conscious traveling
  • Exploring the hub of local culture and city life
  • Close to nature & wildlife activities
  • Beaches in the South
  • Dominical
  • Jaco Beach
  • La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano)
  • Manuel Antonio
  • Montaverde
  • Puerto Viejo
  • Punta Arenas
  • Tortuguero
  • Uvita
  • DoubleTree Resort – Central Pacific
  • Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort
  • Radisson San Jose

Inside San Jose Airport

Traveling to Corky Carroll’s Costa Rica Surf Resort

Arrivals

As mentioned above, if you’re staying with us at our all-inclusive surf resort in Nosara than Liberia (LIR) is the closest airport to us. When arriving into Liberia please allow 2-3 hours driving time to get to our resort from the airport.

If you choose to arrive via San Jose (SJO), please plan on the ride taking 4-5 hours from the airport to our resort.

Departures

If you’re staying at our resort and your departure flight is out of Liberia, we recommend allowing for three hours travel time to the airport and two hours for flight check-in. If your departure flight is out of San Jose, we recommend planning five hours for travel time and two hours for flight check-in.

Once you’ve booked your flights, we handle the rest. We provide transportation to and from the airport, so you can start you vacation the second you step off the plane. Best of all if you arrive early enough, we’ll have you out in the water surfing before the sun goes down. For more transportation information check out our surf resort FAQs page.

Conclusion

If you’re still not sure which Costa Rica airport is best for you to fly into, the two most important factors to keep in mind are time and budget.

Liberia is closer to some of the best surfing beaches in the country but flights can be more expensive. San Jose is closer to nature activities and the hustle and bustle of the capital city with generally cheaper flights, but has more expensive local transportation.

Regardless of which airport you choose, you’re bound to fall in love with everything the spectacular country of Costa Rica has to offer!

, ,

Hottest Surf Hotels In Huntington Beach

HOTTEST SURF HOTELS IN HUNTINGTON BEACH

With so many Southern California beaches to choose from, there’s no question why Huntington Beach has become the most popular tourist destination in Orange County. Almost 10 miles of white sand and breaking waves line the shore of this bustling beach city, providing all day entertainment for swimmers, surfers and beach goers. Whether you’re visiting for surf lessons, music festivals, bonfires on the sand or shopping at the new Pacific City, HB has it all. If you’re wondering where to stay when traveling to Surf City, allow me to simplify your life. Here’s a list of the best and highest rated surf hotels in Huntington Beach, all of which are located steps from the sand along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway.

PASEA HOTEL  AND SPA 

Coming in at the priciest one on our list, this click and trendy, newly constructed, pet friendly, high-end hotel is situated across the street from the Pacific Ocean. Pasea Hotel  Features contemporary rooms and suites with ocean views, a rooftop bar & lounge, outdoor pool, yoga, luxury spa services and free WiFi. It is especially popular with the younger crowds given its prime location, right next to Pacific City. This comes in as our #1 surf hotel in Huntington Beach 

HYATT REGENCY HUNTINGTON BEACH RESORT & SPA

A long-time favorite amongst visitors and locals, this upscale resort is located across from the beach and features Spanish architecture, upgraded rooms and suites with traditional decor, five restaurants, three pools, a kids club, fitness center and free continental breakfast. 

WATERFRONT HOTEL BY HILTON

This well known and popular, beach-inspired Hilton hotel features some extra resort amenities that make it an excellent choice for families. Stylish and contemporary rooms and suites offer guests a choice of city or ocean views. Showcasing tropical outdoor pools, waterslides, cabanas, beach equipment and multiple venue spaces, this resort provides everything for your vacation or special event.

KIMPTON SHOREBREAK HUNTINGTON BEACH RESORT

A stylish, surf-themed 4-star rated boutique hotel that sits within steps of the famous Main St. hub. This property is set across from the beach and zero minutes from nightlife, bars, restaurants and retail shops. There’s no pool at this hotel but it does boast a 24-hour fitness center with a 40’ bouldering wall, complimentary beach cruisers and a wine hour. Perfect for travelers and beach goers that want to be right in the mix of all the entertainment.

BEST WESTERN HARBOUR INN & SUITES 

A less expensive, no frills hotel located north along Pacific Coast Hwy, close to Huntington’s Bolsa Chica State Beach and Sunset Beach. Clean and classic guest rooms, some with balconies that offer a view of Huntington Harbour, free WiFi and continental breakfast. Close to the beach, Starbucks, restaurants and the #1 rated surf school and kids beach camp in Huntington Beach.

So there you have it! The hottest, trendiest, highest rated and favorite hotels in the HB area. There are more, unlisted options in the city but none with the level of amenities, views, service or close proximity to the sand as the hotels mentioned above. Wherever you choose to stay, there’s no shortage of fun in the sun when you visit Huntington Beach.

If you are staying in the area and you want to learn from the best surf school in town go check out Private Surf Lessons

,

Father’s Day Surfing

Father’s Day

Father’s Day is just around the corner and the never-ending question of what to get Dad is finally over. The gift of surfing is a memorable experience, rather than another item stacked on the shelf. Whether it’s sharing a beach day with the family or Dad getting out into the water and challenging waves on his own, it provides an experience to get outdoors and enjoy nature in the Californian sunshine.

father's day dad day

Father’s Day at Corky Carroll’s Surf School: 

Corky Carroll’s Surf School has been providing surfing lessons for over 20 years with a team of instructors that have strong knowledge and experience in surfing, so Dad is in safe hands.

The location of the surf school at Bolsa Chica State Beach in Huntington Beach is an amazing spot for Dad’s first time because of the relaxed surfing conditions. Surf City’s Bolsa Chica State Beach has a gentle break, a sand bottom, and mild water temperatures year-round making it an ideal spot for Dad to learn how to surf. This will make his Father’s Day the best yet 

Lessons for Dad

If Dad is a beginning surfer or just wanting to improve his skills, Corky Carroll’s Surf School has lessons available for all levels. A friendly and knowledgeable instructor, wetsuit, and wide selection of surfboards will be provided for Dad to have an unforgettable Father’s Day!

For further information on private lessons: Click Here

, ,

Back to the Beach 2018

There is a lot more going on at the beach this Spring and Summer than you might think. Check it out with me! Let’s go to the beach!

HB

 

Huntington Beach is taking getting back to the beach to a new level of family fun for 2018 with activities and events for everyone. We couldn’t be more stoked!

Beach body ready or not ,Let’s KICK IT!!!

It’s Back to the Beach Fest 2018

 

Hey Guys Howzit, I am Bruddah Chris. I will be hovering and covering awesome events, entertainment and anything that shines bright in our surf culture. If it’s  happening here in Huntington Beach. I am gonna check it out.  So be sure to check back every couple of weeks for all the latest in what’s hattnin here at da beach. Mahalo, I appreciate you.

I love this time of year!   It is April and time to get back to the Beach. If you love surf culture, live music, food, drinks, crafts, arts and awesome party’s then HB is the place to be this Spring and Summer.

Surf City is kicking off the 2018 Festival Season this Saturday and Sunday April 28, 29.

Travis Barker and Feldy in partnership with KROQ are hosting a lil family friendly beach bash jammy jam. Guess what they are calling it?…

They are calling it “Back to the Beach Fest 2018”

So stoked as the artist lineups for both Saturday 28, and Sunday 29,  are packed nadz with killer bands. Some of  music’s most respected and recognizable sun punk bands representing  our surf, skate, bike, wind sailing, sandy pants, epic vibes, sun-n-fun, SoCal life style will be throwing down hot licks and rootsie good tunes.

 Bands like the Aquabats, the Mighty Mighty Bostones, 311, and Long Beach’s Sublime with Rome will be kicking the funky, phat party tunes in the dunes. RIGHT ON THE BEACH.. BOYYYY!!!

Gromms under 10 are free!

Links to Single day and full weekend passes can be found here Back to the Beach Fest Info

You will also find all the Beach Fest 2018 info including BUT NOT LIMITED TO the lists of allowable and unallowable items that can be brought into the festival area- i.e.

  • No glass is allowed, you can bring a refillable plastic water bottle
  • Blankets and low backed chairs are allowed as well
  • No outside food or drink will be allowed
  • Sorry evil doers, no bad vibes allowed. (Message from the Aquabats)

 Free parking will be available at Edison High School along with a shuttle service that will be providing safe rides to and from the Festival event area for a fee.

Family friendly games and a “PUNK kids zone” will be part of the festivities.

With all the action and skankin around you are bound to get hungry and thirsty.

Food and beverages will be off the chains. Delicious organic and vegan grinds, and Meaty Carnivorous options will be abundant. Craft beers and cocktails “will be flowing like the Salmon of Capistrano.”- L. Christmas

It’s enough to give you that gleaming with a sense of Nirvana feeling, ya know? Like being in heaven. This event is so loaded with fun for the whole family I can’t imagine a better way to launch into the festival season. It’s gonna be so rad. Hanging with the wahini  and the grommets. Enjoying in one of the worlds most beautiful festival settings available. Just soaking in all the shine I can handle. This party is gonna be as rad as we make it. Be the vibe you wanna see. Smile, Have a killer time.

  Want more action? Get Your Sea Legs On

Sea Legs at the Beach I can not wait to spend more time here. Now that they have regular hours for the season. Sea Legs at the beach is open to all ages. A fun combination of restaurant and entertainment venue. Sea Legs at the Beach is a glorious oasis of bitchin built right on the sand. Enjoy the best of HB life style and entertainment. Located on the Huntington Beach Bike path. It’s an epic spot to chill out, grab a bite and a cold frosty brew or a hand mixed cocktail while enjoying free live entertainment. Relax and soak in the vibes of the Pacific. April 29 and every Sunday it’s Reggae Sunday at Sea Legs

Legendary  DJ / VJ / and TV personality Richard Blade is a regular host of parties and events at Sea Legs On the Beach. Getting it poppin off with a 70’s & 80’s flashback, this years Cinco de Mayo party is gonna be glorious with live music provided by the smooth, cool sounds of Yachty By Nature. Find out more about location, menu, and entertainment options here  Reggae Sundays and Richard Blade’s Cinco de Mayo Beach Party

I hope you will be down to check out  Surf City Nights Farmers Market and Crafts Fair in Down town HB Every Tuesday  http://www.huntingtonbeachevents.com/calendar.html

So much to do between surf lessons and sessions. It’s all happening right now. No need to wait. Something great is happening in HB right now and you can be part of it..

sun flower

April is gorgeous at the beach in Huntington Beach, Ca.

Even if you still need it to warm up a little before you get back into the water. Mother Nature is doing her Spring beauty thing at the beach. The flowers are popping off and all the little critters that come with them are thawing out and bouncing around. Summer is right around the corner and Surf City is ready to party.

HB animals

Back to the Beach trailer  “What is a Kahuna? Is it good to have a big one”- line from Back to the Beach a movie From Paramount Pictures 1987 -good clean family surf film starring Frankie and Annette. Recapturing the magic of their on screen relationship and the result is a huge beach party for everyone. The band Fishbone makes an appearance to “Jamaica Ska” I like to think it’s a preview of what’s gonna go down at Beach Fest on Saturday and Sunday

For any of your surfing needs go to our Surf School and find out more details

Thanks for reading guys! Be sure to check back in a couple of weeks for more on what’s hattnin in Huntington.

Chaka, Mahalo,

Bruddah Chris

 

  by Chris Benton

, ,

Huntington Beach Surf Spots

Huntington Beaches Surfing Spots

Brookhurst Street: Huntington Beach 

This surf spot is on the south end of Huntington Beach, Ca. It is located right next to the Santa Ana River Mouth. The combination of drainage from the storm drains and the tidal surge from the hb marshes makes this surf spot dirty. Overall this wave is pretty good most of the time and can be excellent on the right swell mix. The wave is pretty steep and hollow and can get pretty closed out on bigger S and WNW swells. It is not a beginner wave I would recommend to anyone. The beaches are very long and if your a beginner you will need to surf the inside shorebreak because the outside is for advanced surfers. The biggest drawback is the water quality especially after even the smallest rain.

Surf city

South Side and North Side  Huntington Beach Pier is one of the most famous surf spots of all time.From reality tv stars to professional surfers everywhere, HB pier has everything you would want except for a beginner surfing wave. In the summer it has huge contests, crowds, and all kinds of other nonsense, most of which happens on land. Breaking the sides into two different surf spots is necessary because both provide different waves and atmosphere. The waves are very similar in shape on both sides but you get a very different feel and attitude as you move from one side to the other. The North side is open to surfing all year round while the South Side has black ball during summer. The crowd here is localized and some surfers can get aggressive towards people learning how to surf.

 

Huntington Beach Cliffs– This surf spot is a soft and slow wave most of the year. You can long board on the smaller days but it gets fast enough to short board on a lower tide, particularly with a swell combo. In the winter we get NW swells the change the wave from being soft to actually holding some size and being heavy. When there is swell and when there isn’t swell the cliffs have a good crowd on them. Most of the locals will surf it everyday and there are a lot of new beginner surfers trying as well. It can be localized at times during the year, but most the time you can find a spot in between others to have some fun. The walk down is more difficult compared to the surf spots to the south or north because of the rocky cliff. The dog beach is located right on the beach in front of the cliffs and can get very crowded for parking on summer days. Make sure you watch your step for dog poop!

hb cliffs

Bolsa Chica State Beach

There is no black ball at Bolsa Chica State Beach

Black ball is a yellow flag with a black circle that lifeguards put out meaning no surfing allowed. This happens because of the amount of tourists in the water. Even though there is no black ball it is still a lifeguarded beach. Lifeguards patrol the beach year round while lifeguard towers are staffed roughly from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. At Bolsa Chica State Beach there is no black ball, so that means surfing all day!

Conditions

At Corky Carroll’s Surf School the conditions are important for beginning surfers. Bolsa Chica State Beach has a gentle break, a sand bottom, and mild water temperatures year-round making for ideal beginner conditions.

A gentle break allows students to learn how to surf on the outside and inside.

The inside is closer to the shore where the waves have already broken. This area is mostly white wash, which is waves that have broken and washed out. These waves are easier to get into and best for beginners. The outside waves at Bolsa Chica State Beach break slow, allowing beginner surfers to enjoy them as well. Unlike the beaches south of Bolsa Chica State Beach, such as the Huntington Beach cliffs or Newport Beach where the waves break faster.

A sand bottom allows for gentler impact when a wipeout happens.

A wipeout is when you fall off your surfboard and as a beginner it is inevitable. With a sand bottom the ground is soft, so it is less likely to get injured and safer for all ages and ability levels learning how to surf.

Go to our why bolsa chica blog! Bolsa Chica Blog

, , ,

Stingrays! Good-Bad-Neutral?

Stingrays! Bad or Good?

If you’re unsure about your stance on stingrays, we don’t blame you. They’re often portrayed as deadly, cold-blooded creatures who wield their venomous tails like a weapon. They’re also 99% of the time not hurtful or mean creatures. The best way to form an opinion is by learning a little more about the stingray.

When people see stingrays in the water the first reaction people make is get me out of the water! But they usually act kind and gentle around humans. Its only when a stingray feels threatened that beach-goers have to worry. Most of the stingray attacks in California happen when a human swims above or in front of them, either creating no escape route for the stingray or they accidentally step on them. Of course any animal that is cornered or scared can be dangerous, just as a stray dog can be dangerous if backed into a corner.

Trying to learn how to surf Private Surf Lessons

The stingrays do not want to eat or hurt you!

The diet of these creatures consists of small animals that live in the sand – mostly shellfish, small worms. The stingray feeds by hovering directly over the sand and fluttering the wing-like edges of its body disc to clear away the top level of sand. This exposes the little creatures that live just under the sand, and the stingray plops on top of them and eats them.

stingrays

How to Avoid Stingray Attacks

Stingray Attacks  are more likely to happen to swimmers or surfers who are entering or exiting the ocean through shallow water and accidentally step on a stingray.

Naturally, the stingray will react. When the stingray is stepped on, it quickly whips its long tail forward and down, which jabs the stinger at the base of the tail into usually the foot or leg of the person. This is a defensive maneuver designed to remove the beachgoers foot from the stingray’s body, and it works. To avoid stepping on top of a stingray, beachgoers can shuffle their feet when entering and exiting the water. We call this the stingray shuffle! The Stingray Shuffle is simply sliding your feet along the sand instead of taking big steps. To a stingray, these sliding movements feel more like vibrations, which scares them away. If you take big long steps the stingray will not feel these vibrations and will stay put until you step on their backs, which most the time ends up in getting stung. Here is a video that will show you how to stingray shuffle. Go watch this video that demonstrates how to do the stingray shuffle and what to do if stung https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9a6QRcSBQec

ray shuffle

How to Treat an Injury

Treating stingray wounds requires submerging the affected area in water as hot as the individual can stand, around 110 degrees. If parts of the barb are not lodged into the wound, this type of treatment can easily be done at home instead of the doctor’s office; however, it’s important to note, if the barb is deeply lodged into the skin and/or the area does not seem to be healing, a trip to the emergency room and some antibiotics are in order. Carefully remove any surface debris from the wound with tweezers and continue to soak the area in hot water until the

, ,

Why You Shouldn’t Buy A Costco Surfboard

One of the most common questions we get asked is what is the best surfboard for learning to surf. Answer: a soft top surfboard. Thanks to their improved buoyancy, soft tops make paddling and standing up easier, letting you catch more waves and have more fun. They are also safer than hard top boards because getting hit with something soft is always better than getting hit with something hard. (That’s just math.) But what many beginner surfers don’t realize is there are a lot of great options out there for soft top surfboards. So instead they head over to their local mega superstore and pick up a Costco Surfboard. But take it from us, that’s not a good idea.

Costco: Your One Stop Shop (Except for Surfboards)

We love Costco. Cheap gas. Fifty pound bags of popcorn. Free tastings. It’s heaven in a warehouse. Where else can you buy a pair of board shorts, get some photos printed, have an eye exam, prepare for a barbecue, find a computer, and stock up on enough toilet paper for a decade — all while feasting on a free lunch of mini-sausages, Vitamix smoothies, and microwavable empanadas.?

Best of all, the prices are killer. A $9.95 large pizza to go? Don’t mind if we do.

Over the past couple years Costco has also become the king of selling soft top surfboards. Their Wavestorm model is the most popular surfboard in America. Head down to the Huntington Beach pier on a mid-summer Saturday and you’ll see a flurry of them heading out …. and then getting washed ashore.

And while there’s definitely a place for a Wavestorm in any surfer’s quiver, a beginner would be better off looking elsewhere than Costco’s line of soft top boards when first getting started.

Costco and Kooks

Let’s get one thing clear. Riding a Costco surfboard doesn’t make you a kook. Neither does learning to surf. So long as people respect their gear, the ocean, and others around them, the waters are free for all to enjoy. Everyone makes mistakes and wipes out. That’s life. No worries. It’s how you approach the waves that really matter.

Even seasoned surfers can mess up from time to time. Dropping in on other surfers? That’s wrong no matter how long you’ve been surfing, or how good you are. But most experienced surfers know better. Those hitting the surf for the first time usually don’t, and are more likely to make the mistake of taking a wave that someone else has priority on. Odds are they are also riding a Wavestorm.

And that’s why Costco surfboards sometimes get a bad rap.

Costco makes it really easy to get a board. Maybe a little too easy. And over the years they have gained a certain association with kookdom. That’s because the majority of people riding Wavestorms are beginners. Beginner surfers are often linked to being “kooks” because they are still figuring out the surfing etiquette and lifestyle. Put two and two together and you can see how Costco surfboards can gain a certain reputation.

But we don’t buy into that reputation. The point we want to make is Costco surfboards aren’t necessarily bad, they just are not right for beginners.

The Soft Top Revolution

There is a great quote that sums up our motto perfectly.

The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.

That’s what it is all about. The lessons, the equipment, the waves — it all boils down to having as much fun as possible. In the past, soft top surfboards had a certain stigma. They were frowned upon by surfing purists who thought soft tops bucked the trend of tradition. Not to mention, they made surfing more accessible, which in the already overcrowded lineups can be a regular surfer’s greatest fear.

But this is nothing new. There has always been those reluctant to embrace change.

Foam surfboards were initially balked at by those loyal to their 40 pound balsa wood boards. When shortboards arrived on the scene they were seen as a joke by longboarders. Using Jet Skis to catch big waves was paramount to cheating. Hydrofoils were considered a novelty act. And then there’s the Chip.

Back in the 50s, shorter, thinner boards with more-defined rockers came out that made learning to surf easier and more forgiving. They became popular with California’s growing population of female surfers. At first, guys chided these “girl surfboards” for being too small and delicate. That is until they tried one for themselves and instantly fell in love. Soon these “girl surfboards” helped fuel the Surf Boom and provided the model for one of the most famous surfboards of all-time: The Malibu Chip.

The same thing is happening to soft top surfboards today. Although they may have been originally designed with the beginner surfer in mind, they are fast becoming a welcomed part of any surfer’s quiver. Why? They make surfing more fun.

The Pros of Costco Surfboards (and Soft Tops)

There is a time and a place for everything, and that’s certainly true for Costco surfboards. They can be really fun, in the right conditions. Have you seen the Wavestorm World championships? Turns out even pro surfers are getting kooky with Costco Surfboards. But these members of Team Wavestorm know what they’re doing, and learned to surf the right way first on boards suitable for the task.

That’s because Wavestorm surfboards are better for someone who already knows how to surf. Their thinner shape and squatter tail make it easier to loose control while on a wave, allowing for some gnarly maneuvers and just as gnarly wipeouts. That’s why Wavestorms are for experienced surfers, who can take advantage of this loose performing board and tap into their full fun-releasing potential.

Which is why we recommend against using a Costco surfboard when you are learning to surf. After you figure out the fundamentals, then go ahead and tackle pipeline on a Wavestorm.

The Cons of Costco Surfboards

Costco stocks other board besides Wavestorms. But since they are the most prominent, popular and widely used, especially by beginners, it’s important to understand why Wavestorms in particular are not ideal for learning on.

The top reasons being:

  • They are thinner
  • They are narrower
  • They have a small tail width

Each of these contributes to losing stability, float and buoyancy while on a board. Which are some of the most important features required for beginners to properly learn.

Also, there is a reason why Wavestorms are so inexpensive. They are priced according to quality and scale, and built with less durable materials. The means they break down quicker than stronger constructed soft top boards.

Waterlogged Wavestorm Costco Surfboard

While for someone looking to have short-lived fun that might be enough, a dedicated beginner surfer will want a board that allows more room to progress. Not to mention one that can take a beating.

What’s In a Board?

Whenever you buy or rent a surfboard you should give serious thought to what the board is made of and its dimensions. For example, when buying a hard top surfboard knowing whether it is glassed with epoxy vs fiberglass, or shaped using polyurethane vs EPS foam, makes a big difference. The length, width and thickness of the board matters too.

The same level of consideration should be given when choosing a soft top board. Soft tops are not just for beginners. Every level of surfer from novice to intermediate and advanced can benefit from having a soft top in their quiver. So long as it is the right model for them.

Just like you need to choose the right surf spot to learn at (which is why we hold our surf school at Bolsa Chica), you need to find the right board to start with. The result is a much safer, and funner, experience all around.

A beginner should choose a board that is suitable to their skill set, height and weight, and can survive the initial mishandling that comes with trying something new for the first time. Not just go with whatever Costco has on its shelves for the best price.

The Soft Top We Use Instead of Costco Surfboards

At Corky Carroll’s Surf School we teach surfing using Storm Blade Surfboards. This model has been around since 2006 providing some of the best high-performance soft top surfboards on the market.

Storm Blade is produced by AGIT Global, which is actually the same company that puts out Wavestorm surfboards. But there is good reason why you find their sturdy Storm Blade’s being used at a lot surf schools and surf camps around the world, and not their thinner Wavestorms.

Not only do Storm Blade surfboards come in a wider selection of sizes for all skill levels, but Storm Blade’s strong yet forgiving, extra buoyant foam layered construction and well calibrated thickness make surfing an unparalleled experience for beginners to advance. Overall their design with beginner in mind and use of high-quality materials provides a perfectly balanced wave-riding platform to surf.

When compared to Wavestorms, the Storm Blade is thicker providing creating stability. And perhaps most notably, the Storm Blade’s wider, better shaped squash tail performs superior to the poorly shaped blocky squash tails on Wavestorms.

All this will have any novice standing up in no time, and is why recommend an 8ft or 9ft soft top surfboard with as much width and thickness as possible for beginners. Our favorite surfboard to learn on in the industry is the 8ft Storm Blade SSR.

Storm Blade SSR Soft Top Surfboard

 

This might all sound like an over-fluffed up endorsement, but we feel really strongly about the boards we use for our surf lessons and truly find Storm Blade’s to be the best. But like we said earlier, there is no one-size fits all when it comes to surfboards. There are plenty of other great soft tops out there (some of which we include in our surfboard rentals quiver).

We want everyone to have fun surfing. And we want beginners to learn the right way. So think twice about that Wavestorm $100 Costco surfboard if you’re just starting out. The better choice is to learn on a higher-quality soft top.

,

Packing For Costa Rica

What to Pack FOR TRAVELING TO COSTA RICA
The Essential Packing List

Once you’ve reserved a private bungalow at our all-inclusive Costa Rica surf ranch in Nosara, all that’s left to do is pack your bags! Let’s face it, deciding what to pack for a vacation can be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure what to bring. When traveling internationally, the list of items is a bit different than a local weekend getaway and things can get confusing. Luckily, I’m here with answers to some of the most common packing list questions and also to give you a simple breakdown on what to bring and what not to bring on your trip to Costa Rica.

Do I need a passport to travel to Costa Rica?
Yes! Anyone traveling to Costa Rica from outside the country needs the following documents to enter:

  • Current passport: Valid a minimum of 3 months after arrival date (U.S. passports must be valid a minimum of one day from the day you enter Costa Rica).
  • Proof of Departure (flight itinerary)
  • Color photocopy of your passport
  • Government issued photo I.D. is strongly recommended

What clothes do I need for Costa Rica?

The big question of what to wear during your vacation can lead to overpacking the wrong items or leaving out important ones. Climate and activities can be the biggest deciding factors of what to wear. Depending on what season you’re traveling and what you plan to do while there, you may need to pack more or less. Keep in mind, the weather is always warm (85- 95 degrees in the afternoon and 75 degrees at night), the atmosphere is very casual and packing light is a good idea. Here are some essential clothing items to include :

  • Shorts, Shirts, Tank Tops, Lightweight Long Sleeve Shirts
  • Board Shorts / Swimsuits
  • Long Sleeved RashguardLight Jacket (Rainy season is May-August and November)
  • Ladies’ Cover-up (Sarong or Sundress)
  • Underwear & Extra Socks (in case feet get wet)
  • Athletic Shoes
  • Sandals (it’s a good idea to pack an extra pair)
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Optional Lightweight Pants or Surf Pants

Toiletries

  • Shampoo & Conditioner
  • Toothbrush & Toothpaste
  • Antiperspirant
  • Bodywash
  • Face / Makeup Remover Wipes
Costa Rica Packing List

Packing for Costa Rica

First Aid Kit

  • Prescriptions
  • Bug Repellent & Anti-itch Cream
  • Advil (muscle relief)
  • Vaseline (for ocean rash protection)
  • Aloe Vera for sunburns
  • Sunscreen SPF 30+ (We love Sun Bum Zinc & Headhunter!)

Electronics & Miscellaneous Items

When traveling out of the country, home can seem very far away but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on all the creature comforts. Guests can enjoy TV with cable and free wifi in our open air rancho and lounge. We also use standard US outlets so no adapters are needed. Below are some important items to pack for a more enjoyable trip and for the downtime when you’re ready to retire to your private bungalow:

  • Cell Phone
    International Cell Phone Plans
  • GoPro and/or Camera
  • Chargers for Phone and Electronics
  • Flashlight for Nighttime Excursions
  • LUCI Light in case of power outage: Check them out!!
  • Favorite Candy & Snacks
  • Books and Magazines
  • Cards, Small Board Games or Puzzles
Packing essentials

Electronics In Costa Rica

Money

  • Cash is recommended, especially for nearby activities and same day tours
  • No need to change your money at the airport, Costa Rica accepts U.S. currency (make sure they are unmarked and not torn).
  • Small bills/$20 are best to carry around
  • ATM/Credit Cards are accepted in most places
  • The average exchange rate is 550 Colon to $1.
  • Activities in Nosara include; Horseback Riding, Kayaking, Zip Line tours, Fishing tours, Tennis, Mini Golf, Quad rentals/tours, yoga & massage. Average outside vendor costs $60-$150 per activity. Yoga classes vary between $10-$20. Zip line is $50 for kids & $60 for adults (+$120 roundtrip transportation). For a full list of activities beyond surfing check out a typical day at our resort.

Important Reminders

  • Contact your bank to inform them you will be out of the country
  • Contact cell phone carrier for international travel pass. Read more about International Cell Phone Plans.
  • Each bungalow is equipped with a small safe that can hold small items and a tablet or 13” laptop but please leave jewelry and valuables at home!

Our 2nd generation family business has hosted guests for over 20 years and if there’s anything you need, our friendly staff are available to help. There is also a local Super, the equivalent to a small grocery market (like 7-Eleven), that most likely has any items you may have forgotten, such as toiletries, beverages and snacks .

Whether you’re planning a family vacation, romantic getaway, or epic Costa Rica surfing trip, we combine hospitality and the perfect location to help make the most of your vacation getaway!

By: Alexis Folden

, ,

2018 Resolutions: A New Year For A New You!

New Year Resolutions

Congratulations, you survived 2017 and you’re ready to surf into 2018 looking, living and feeling better than ever! You made your list of New Year’s resolutions and now it’s time to get started and conquer those goals to make a lifestyle. Read on to learn how the sport of surfing can help you Get Fit, Learn Something New and Travel this year…

Resolution #1: LEARN SOMETHING NEW
Looking to make a lifestyle change or find a new passion? Let our Huntington Beach surf school introduce you to an active, healthy, fun learning experience through the sport of surfing. Our professional coaches provide private lessons that teach you ocean awareness & safety, step-by-step instructions and proper techniques, taking you from curious student to enthusiastic surfer. Our programs are perfect for kids and adults of all skill levels. Learning how to surf is a great way to start your year off right.
For more information about our program please visit our all – inclusive page.

New Year Resolution

Resolutions

Resolution #2: GET FIT
If you hate the gym and are looking for another way to get into shape, look no further. Surfing incorporates a whole-body workout and can help you burn calories, lose weight, tone your muscles and improve balance, strength and flexibility. This is achieved through a combination of cardio exercise and yoga-like stretching before and after sessions. Paddling, pushing up, standing and staying on the board requires your body to wake up and work out. Upper body, lower body and core muscle groups in your arms, legs, back and abs are all targeted when surfing. It doesn’t just benefit you physically either but also mentally, as surfing pulls you away from the stresses of everyday life and connects you with nature and the outdoors.

 

new year to learn something new

Resolution #3: TRAVEL
You made a promise to yourself that this year you’re finally going to take that vacation and explore a different part of the world. Keep your promise, pack your bags and let us take care of the rest! Our all-inclusive surf camp and ranch is hidden away in the beautiful and exotic destination of Nosara, Costa Rica. Private bungalows, freshly prepared meals, surf lessons, a lagoon-style pool and transportation to and from the airport are all included! Our private property is located just minutes from the stunning white sand beach of Playa Guiones where there lies a perfect, uncrowded, sandy bottom beach break. There’s also plenty of nearby entertainment and activities to soak up including world class yoga studios, fishing, horseback riding, snorkeling, turtle watching and ziplining to name a few.
For more information, please visit: https://www.surfschool.net/costa-rica-package/inclusive-costa-rica-surf-camp/

What are you waiting for? Give us a call and get started on your New Year’s resolutions today!

By: Alexis Folden