Hola a todos. My name is Matt and I will be checking in with you as Shaka’s latest volunteer. Proudly hailing from the golden state of California (San Luis Obispo to be exact), I am here in Playa Hermosa for the warm surf and tranquilo lifestyle. I have been in Costa Rica for almost three months now, just recently returning from my first ‘visa run’ to Nicaragua. Prior to landing at Shaka, I was volunteering as a Research Assistant for PRETOMA, patrolling the beach of Costa De Oro for nesting sea turtles. Two months of long night walks on the beach, tagging and measuring turtles and collecting their eggs was unlike anything I have ever done in my life, but the surf wasn’t much to write home about. After being here in Playa Hermosa just two days, I have already caught some sick waves and am sure I have made the right move coming here.
Back in January, fresh out of college (USC) and free to begin my own personal endless summer, I started Google searching stuff like ‘surf work volunteer Costa Rica.’ This is how I found both PRETOMA and Shaka. So I did the whole 9 to 5 thing for a few months in Cali, to save up cash for the flight and whatnot, then hopped on a plane to Pura Vida land. I have been here since early July and not sure if I will be ready to leave when my time is up (though I always look forward to Thanksgiving with the fam when November comes around). Who knows, maybe I’ll skip the flight if I find another opportunity like the one I have here, near paradise. Vamos a Ver (We’ll see!)
For now, all I know is that I will be here for the whole month of October, holding down the fort as night watch while everything is closed for the rainy season. I’ve been hooked up with a bed in the ‘board room,’ access to the fully equipped kitchen and a laptop with fast internet, so, needless to say, I am stoked.
Hola! I’m Erica, Shaka’s first Irish volunteer. I’ve been here a few weeks and it’s been great. Playa Hermosa is like a desert island – coconuts and driftwood being lapped by the waves and howler monkeys swinging from the trees. The best view of the playa is from “out the back” beyond the broken waves, where I was catching (or rather attempting to catch) green waves with Chris, Shaka’s surf instructor and one of the guests last week. You can sit on your board and take it all in while you wait for the next wave…nothing but lush forest canopy from the hills to the shore. It was one of those perfect days – clean, consistent waves, not a cloud in the sky and very few surfers out. If only I could find me lucky charms that Chris winds me up about, every day would be like that!
Surfing here in warm water and hot weather is quite different to memories of surfing in Ireland – squeezing into wet, thick wetsuits, turning blue and numb, teeth chattering, and racing from the blustery weather for a hot shower! Ireland makes up for its weather in other ways, but I’m happy in Costa Rica for now and looking forward to improving my surfing
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.
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