Archive for Surf Journal


Rainy Season? What Rainy Season?

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So, October is supposed to be the peak of rainy season but in this first week it has only really poured down once, while light showers have sprinkled down here and there every so often. The locals are a bit worried because their wells might run a bit dry this year, but I have no complaints because I was able to surf two solid sessions today. There was a light offshore during the morning that made available some speedy low/tide barrels. The sun got hot early and my back was feeling burnt approaching my second hour in the water. The afternoon session didn’t have such a fortunate offshore but it was still clean and  the swell filled in a bit more, offering overhead peaks up and down the beach.

surf all day

My psuedo- routine is slowly taking form here, surf, eat, chill in the hammock reading, random activity (see what Carlos the maintenance dude is tooling around with and if I can help, maybe bike around, go to the store in search of produce or little Tico snacks, maybe flip through some Spanish note cards, draft blog posts, etc) surf again, eat again, and so on.  You might think it would get lonely here by myself at night but the family dog, Vida, has taken a liking to me and has been chillin with me here just about every night. She pretty much does my job for me, yapping away at anything and everything that comes near.  There are also plenty of jungle noises like cicadas, howler monkeys and off/road vehicles to keep me company at night.

Everyone says the same thing about this place, but I am part of that everyone and I will repeat it, ‘the people here are really nice.’ This place is teeming with smiles, even if you cannot hold a meaningful conversation in the native tongue (I am working on it).  I know how to communicate to get what I really need, and I look forward to maybe someday having more philosophical conversations with the Ticos (regardless of the fact that the philosophy here doesn’t need to go much deeper than two words, Pura Vida).  That being said, did you know that many nonverbal communication scholars believe that smiles were originally a sign of either submissiveness or threat? Such has been observed in several studies of the ‘higher level’ primates and is assumed to be true for our early human ancestors. This thought popped into my head today after about my 36th smile of the day and was kinda trippin me out because I am sure some of my smiles have at least a little bit of that original submissiveness in them. I am still the new kid in the village, you know. (Note, I got my bachelor degree in Communication and one of my last classes I took was Nonverbal Communication, not just completely pulling facts out of thin air. Matter of fact, the air here isn’t thin at all. It is rich with damp, beachy, rainforesty oxygen).  Pure Life, Pure Life. Pura Vida.

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New Irish Volunteer at Shaka

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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.

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.

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,


The Balance Board at Shaka Costa Rica!

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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.



Bicycle surfboard racks Costa Rica

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Moe, Jed, Drew(2 guests here at Shaka), and I traveled to the hardware store yesterday to buy PVC pipe to create homemade surfboard racks for our bicycles. We got enough supplies for three racks (plus some extras) and the cost was around $15 per rack. The racks only took about 20 minutes to make and are expected to withstand the rain and mud from the rainy season. I would reccomend checking out this website for easy, step-by-step instructions! .


Great Times At Shaka Costa Rica

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Helllooooooo! It’s Brian, the new volunteer At Shaka Costa Rica

Well…. I’m on my 5th day here at Shaka Surf Camp and i couldn’t be more impressed with the waves, hospitality and presence of nature. On my first day, Chris and i surfed for a couple hours, (great waves, with not a soul in sight) walked up to our beautiful camp and were suddenly surprised by a 5.1 earthquake!!! It was my first encounter with an earthquake, so i didn’t realize exactly what had just happened! i looked around to see the expression of Chris’ face. He knew right away what was going on. We came to the realization that no tsunami was on the way and carried on our day as if nothing happened. We later took a ride to Cobano, which reminded me of Orlando or some other busy city. i couldn’t wait to  get back to Shaka, where time slows and we are surrounded by the peaceful sound of the ocean.

As of day five, i have been able to get in the ‘GROOVE’ of things and i couldn’t be happier!!! In my opinion, pure joy is listening to great music, catching great waves with a good friend, great comida (pizza), and just existing. I really enjoy the vibe that Shaka emits. Its a vibe of simplicity and can only be experienced by actually coming and realizing that life is much more simple than we are all  conditioned to think so!

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