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Is learning to surf on your bucket list?

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Surfing a Bucket List idea

A bucket list is simply a list of dreams and wishes that as yet remain unachieved in your life. If there are things you wanted to learn or an adventure you want to have, then perhaps learning to surf is one of the items on your list. As the old adage goes, “don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.” Each one of us has a choice. We can have a life filled with “what ifs” or one in which we grab each moment with gusto. Surfing is but one quest of many that could fulfill some of your wishes, and it’s certainly one filled with energy, natural beauty and the opportunity to challenge yourself in a different way.

Surfing has much in common with other sports. It requires a certain level of dedication, athleticism and practice not only for success but also for true enjoyment. There are certain sets of guidelines that experienced surfers are expected to follow, and different philosophies that create an entire surfing culture throughout the world.

Surfing vs Snowflakes

One thing you should know at the outset is that no two surfers are any more alike than two snowflakes. The way each takes to the water, a wave – they’re style and stance and how they express the art of surfing comes from something deep within. That means no matter how much you might admire a specific surfer or surfing instructor, the way that your experience plays out is going to be unique and very personal. That’s surfboards costa ricaalso what makes putting surfing on your bucket list so special. It’s an experience like none other that often defies written or spoken explanations.

From region to region you’ll find that certain slangs and terms change as do fashions – each of which reflects something of the local culture and the surfer himself. Ladies, don’t get hung up on the word “himself” many women have expanded their horizons to embrace water, sand and waves – seeking that great wave with ferocity and passion. For some, this becomes an on-going lifestyle choice while others use surfing as a hobby that alleviates stress, improves energy and affords a moment interacting with nature in a way that some people will never experience.

Mind you, as a bucket list item you’re probably not looking to spend 24-7 beach hopping. Beyond having a real life, full-time surfing can get expensive between travel packages, flashy boards and various accessories necessary to serious surfers. So the question then becomes, why did you choose surfing as a special activity? Are you looking for a thrill? Hoping to get some good exercise? Do you celebrate the artistic nature of the sport? None of these goals is right or wrong – they’re simply different and approached differently.

surfing stokeSurfing and the Ahaa! Moment

The very first time you stand on a board and actually catch a wave changes everything. There’s something spiritually exhilarating about it. It is a moment you will never forget, but just one of many other memories waiting for you on the water.

So where exactly might you go for this supreme, life-changing moment? Really almost anywhere. From the beautiful beaches of Costa Rica to other waterfront destinations around the world, there’s a wave waiting for you. Just be sure to choose a trip that suits your skill level. Costa Rica, for example, is favored by surfers of all different talents because of its consistent, medium sized waves along miles and miles of stunning coastline.

In terms of precautions, make sure you protect yourself diligently from the sun using waterproof sunscreen. Achieving one part of your bucket list does little good if you develop skin cancer. Pay attention to any surf warnings and announcements with similar care. These will tell you where the breaks are, and where things may be dangerous.

Plan your surfing vacation well in advance and prepare yourself physically. Surfing takes a lot out of your shoulders and lower back, so work on flexibility and strength in those areas so your lessons don’t land you in bed with stiff joints. Remember that it will take more than one lesson to learn to surf, most professional lessons lasting between 1 1/2 and 2 hours, so schedule the length of your stay accordingly.

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Greetings from Shaka, I just wanted to take a moment to talk about what we are doing and hope to be doing in the comming months leading to 2012.

Its currently the rainy season so its nice to have a slow down. It lets us refresh ourselves, reflect on the past year and do some maintenance, as well as dream and imagine possible new things and ideas that we would like to implement in the near future. Here is a summary of  things recently or in the near future

1. First off we had a good year so far. It was ou busiest year even in this down economy. Shaka as well as OHG is maturing and improving. We are excited to head into the new season right around the corner.

2. In August We started fixing and repairing surfboards, Our surfboard fleet was getting a bit dinged up and a our broken board pile was adding up. Shaka invested in the proper equipment and material to do proffesional board repair. The hassle, expense and delay of paying board fixers is now behind us. We now have Alejandro who has shown an instinctive talent in board repair and painting keeping us sharp

3. Ted a Volunteer with OHG has launched a campaign to get Shaka a SWIMMING POOL. You told me to hold you to it Ted, so here it is. I hear that he has already raised over half the money, so hopefully any one who visits shaka in 2012 will be able to enjoy this addition.

4. We plan on launching a project to turn the Rancho common area into a work of art incorporating Mayan, Polynesian and tribal style artwork. Headed By Chris. More info on this comming soon.

5. Our next OHG group is planned to take place in November just before the upcomming 2011 season.

6. Krista is putting together a yoga adventure package. All inclusive 7 day packages based at Shaka but daily yoga excursions to all the world class studios in the Montezuma, Mal Pais, Santa Teresa and Hermosa areas.


The Beauty of The Ocean

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Yesterday was what I like to think of as the perfect Shaka/Costa Rican day.  I was up by 5:00, finished my first cup of coffee by 5:30, and on my way to the beach for dawn patrol (early morning surf session before the sun rises) by 5:45.  The water was glassy and cool, the air was clear, and the sun had just begun to rise as I paddled out to the lineup.  I was the only one in the water for a good 30 minutes, making it feel like I had the entire ocean to myself.  I am always amazed by the constant intersection of natural power and beauty that occurs in the ocean.  There is something very southing about the end result of this collision that can’t be found anywhere but the ocean.

After breakfast I helped Mo’e give a surf lesson to a family of 4 from Long Island, NY, with a set of 8-year-old twins. Talk about high energy!  But I am fascinated by every aspect of surfing, and I know the teaching process will help my own surfing as well, so I stoked stoked to help out!

Later in the afternoon, Mo’e and I paddled out for a quick session before the sun went down.  I made the transition to what my friend and past Shaka volunteer, Katie Berky, would call a more “sporty” board, moving from a hefty 7’6″ Malibu down to a 6’3″ shortboard.  It’s a whole different ballgame riding a shortboard, almost like learning to surf all over again, but I’m already stoked by the different style of riding that comes with the smaller board.  Lots of hard work is ahead of me for sure, but it’s safe to say I’ll never go back!

Off for a quick surf, and then some ding repair this afternoon

Pura Vida!

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Hey everyone, John-Michael here, the new Shaka volunteer from Texas.

It’s my first time in Costa Rica and I couldn’t be more blown away by the natural beauty of the area!  I’ve been here at Shaka for 3 weeks now and I can’t figure out where all the time has gone. Zip-lining in Montezuma, snorkeling in the nearby tide pools, trying some of the local flavor, and surfing every day probably explains some of it.  JAWS 9 and 10 went off with huge success, bringing in 5 new participants and their families, along with a few returning veterans, to shred the waves of Playa Hermosa.  I have been working in the adaptive field for a few years now, but the JAWS program with Ocean Healing Group was my first experience with adaptive surfing.  I have never been so moved like I was that first day of JAWS 9.  There is so much therapeutic power in surfing, I wish everyone could experience it first hand.  I am incredibly thankful to Frank and Mo’e for letting me be a part of such a wonderful program, and I am excited to continue my involvement with Ocean Healing Group in the future!

A quick little note about the charming power of Shaka and Costa Rica:    One of the couples staying with us has fallen in love with the area and Costa Rican lifestyle that they are planning to sell their house back in the United States and move down to Playa Hermosa permanently.  How cool to think a vacation getaway could turn into a new beginning!  Costa Rica really is an amazing place!

Well, I’m off to the beach for a quick surf session.  Only 2 weeks left here at Shaka so I have to get in as much surf as possible!

Pura Vida!

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Well its been a while since our last blog. I thought i would mention the latest thing we have been experimenting with. Recently someone turned us on to the website . Basically its a website where you bid off something you would do for $5 such as video a short skit or taking a personalized photo as well as a variety of odd and crazy ideas. Its hard to explain so you’ll have to just check it out.

So as a kind of fun experiment we put up 2 gigs on  fiverr.

The first one is write your message in the sand then we take a picture of it and send it to you. This idea actually came from one of our guests about 5 weeks ago.

The second one is we film ourselves on a whitewater wave and announce your message or whatever and film it then send the short 12-15sec video.

Well the reaction has been far greater then we could have imagined. Almost every day now we are filling orders at the beach. It’s not that much money since since fiverr takes a dollar off every order, so we only get 4 bucks per surf video or writing in sand, but it pays the weekly beer bill. We actually got enough orders of writing your message in the sand that we decided to make it its own website.

You can check it out at  writing in sand You never know, it could end up being a good little side business.


Surf Yoga Balance Connection

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Now that the new Pranamar is opened next to Shaka we will be adding yoga retreat packages. Its an amazing studio facility that Shaka will be able to take advantage of.  I was doing some yoga surf googling and i found this video. It shows some interesting demonstrations on how to use yoga exercises to help prepare and improve various surfing situations.

It seems nowadays everybody wants to learn or try surfing. Stock traders, lawyers, doctors, business owners, college students and celebrities are all coming to Costa Rica surf camps to learn to surf. Even if you have never surfed you have probably worn surf clothing at one time. Does Quicksilver, Bilabong, Hurley, or Volcom sound familiar?

When we first opened “Shaka Surf Camp” in Costa Rica we weren’t sure what would be our main clientele type. Everybody we talked to said we should be targeting surf magazines, other surf communities and surfer related organizations. They couldn’t have been more wrong.

The majority of guests that show up at Shaka are business professionals who have very little or no surfing experience. They basically are looking for a fun, new, unique and exciting way to spend their vacation time. Something different then your typical boring commercial spa resort. And with Costa Rica’s tropical rainforests, abundant wildlife, and pristine beaches you cant go wrong. A common statement we hear is, “I’ve always wanted to try surfing”, and then a couple days later they say, “wow! it’s a lot of fun, but harder than I thought it would be”.

So why surf camp retreats? Because if your on vacation you don’t want to have to worry about all the logistics, like surfboard transportation, equipment selection, knowing where and when to surf and most important understanding ocean safety. At a reputable surf camp retreat they provide everything you need, so you can relax, make yourself at home, and get the most out of you surfing adventure.

Pura Vida,


Howler Monkeys at Shaka Costa Rica

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Male Howler in Canopy around Shaka

There seems to be a never ending supply of wildlife around Shaka to keep us entertained.

My favorite has to be the Howler Monkeys. You will often see them up in the tree canopy surrounding camp. They are usually moving from tree to tree eating some leaves and fruits. Even when you don’t see them, you will definitely hear them. For an animal that is only about 20″ tall weighing at most 15 lbs the loud bellowing sounds are quite something. The males make a deep roar or bark and the females make a higher pitched softer sound, all thanks to a small hallow bone set beside their vocal chords that acts like a drum. These loud calls allow troops of Howlers to communicate with each other, and also with surrounding troops. The Howler Monkeys that call the area around Shaka home usually wake you up just before dawn, followed closely by the local rooster population. It really is a great way to wake up in the morning and get you motivated to throw on your suit and head down to the beach for a morning surf.

Treetop Snack

Mom showing baby what and how to eat

All Photos Taken by Kelsey on the Grounds of Shaka Costa Rica

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