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
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!
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 www.fiverr.com . 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.
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, www.shakacostarica.com
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.
All Photos Taken by Kelsey on the Grounds of Shaka Costa Rica
Hi everyone, its Kelsey the new volunteer here at Shaka.
I’m a snowboard instructor from Whistler, British Columbia, Canada and this is my second trip to Costa Rica. I’ve been staying here at camp for just over a week and I couldn’t be happier! My first day here I took a quad to Montezuma with Brian, the previous volunteer, and it was a great way to get to know the area. On the second night a small earthquake shook the support beams of the rancho, my first earthquake ever! I’ve been surfing in the white wash, and waiting for the waves to calm down a bit to a size I can handle. The beach is so beautiful and has a nice sandy bottom, great for surfing or just relaxing and soaking up the sun. It took me two nights to master the Indo Board but I’ve got it down now; its a great way to keep fit and have lots of laughs with friends at camp once the sun goes down. I’ve biked into town to get groceries, including the most fresh and delicious pineapple I’ve ever had. Swinging on the hammock with a book in hand is a great way to relax after a day at the beach.
I have already met so many great people, both locals and expats, and I can’t wait to find out what Shaka has in store for me next!
The Balance board is a great way to gain core strength in the lower body. It simulates the rotation of weight from the back and front legs while surfing. It usually starts off with one of us crouching really low (as if we were inside of a barrel), and then doing a one-footed stance, and then escalates to using one foot and one hand to balance. I recommend balance boards at all surf camps because they are a great when the waves are not ideal or at night.