Archive for Surfing Techniques


Montezuma Waterfalls

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Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to go see the waterfalls in Montezuma with our new guest Steve and Shaka family member, Jerry. Steve is a firefighter from Canada and Jerry is a yacht captain from Florida. Both pretty cool dudes. Jerry has been coming down to this area for years now so he has been more of a host than a guest since being here. He bought a clean ’91 Isuzu Trooper with 4wd so we have been able to mob around a bit like yesterday, to the waterfalls!

The sun was up and shining bright and early, perfect for a little field trip. We mobbed through fresh green landscape, up and down steep hills covered with fast-drying mud. Perfect conditions for a full on test drive of Jerry’s new Trooper.

test drive terrain

This allowed me to put my 2 dollar “tico squeek” shoes to the test. (I have some nice 80 dollar Teva sandals my mom bought for me but I feel too touristy when I where them, sorry Mom). When I first visited the waterfalls in July there was much less water and it was much more brown. Now, after all the recent rain, the agua is falling at full force and looks clean enough to drink (not tested). There was a misWe dropped into Montezuma, a cute little fisher gone tourist town just on the other side of the peninsula from here, and went straight for the falls. The waterfalls are just a stones throw up a fresh little river that drains into the ocean at the entrance of town. The trail is pretty much just the river, which you follow up from the road about half a mile.ty gust that blew off the pool at the bottom of this 100 and something foot gusher.

the trail

Above this big ‘fall is a big pool and another 40 something foot waterfall. Both upper and lower pools have ledges and ropeswings to fulfill whatever thrill seeking needs you might bring with you. Yesterday, after the warm, rock hopping hike up the river, we just chilled at the foot of the falls, absorbing the cool mist sprinkling off the pool.

On our way back we stopped in Cobano so Jerry could get his new cell phone dialed in. We had lunch at a little ‘soda’ for lunch, picked up some cheap supplies at the big grocery store (beer was like twice as cheap there than here) and mobbed back to home base.










Categories : 360s, Uncategorized
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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.


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.



Top Ten Ways to Prepare to Learn to Surf

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1. Book a 2 week surf package at Shaka Beach Retreat(of course we gotta plug ourselves). If its your first time 1 week will go by fast and just when you start to get it ya gotta go.

2. Make sure your surf instructor is Mo’e or one of his good friend instructors.

3. Facebook all your friends tell em your going surfing in Costa Rica at Shaka. Rub it in and make them jealous

4. Start working on dropping any extra pounds if ya need to. The lighter and fitter you show up the easier it will be for you as well as your instructor.

5. A simple exercise regimen 3-4 weeks prior will do wonders for your stamina. Push ups, pull ups, crunches, and lying back extensions are great, if you work with weights utilize circuit training. work more medium to light weights with high repetitions progressively decreasing rest time between sets,  also give some good attention to your posterior deltoids.

6. Upper body cardio is king. Any type of cardio is good, but if you can do some upper cardio such as paddling, Rows, boxing aerobics, Swimming laps etc.

7. Get an Indo balance board. Indo boards are great for practicing weight distribution and relaxed balancing. They also will help get your legs toned and in shape. They come with dvd’s to show you how. You can do 10-15 minutes a day in your living room on the carpet in front of the TV easily. You should be able to find one at any board sport or sporting good store.

8. Make sure you can hold your breath for at least 20 seconds. When you start you will be in shallow water(about 4-6 feet deep), but a wipe out can still put you under for a few seconds and the more breath you have the more relaxed you’ll be.

9. Flexibility: If you do yoga that’s great or just a simple 10 min daily stretching regimen focusing on limbering your legs, chest, arms, and back

10. Educate your self. Go google crazy. There is tons of info online about surfing tips, ocean knowledge, surf reports, surf equipment. Follow our blog because i will continue to put up tips and info about surfing and the area. Finally leave Comments on this blog and ask any questions you may have, all are welcome.

Pura Vida & Aloha


Why do we say surfing is the hardest board sport in the world? In actuality it doesn’t take any longer to learn to ride a surfboard than any other board sport, but in surfing because of the elements of the ocean the amount of stand up time you get in an average surf session is miniscule compared to say snowboarding or skateboarding. For example I’ve been surfing for over 15 years and am pretty efficient with my time in the water but still in a 3 hour surf session with perfect conditions and no crowds i might still only get 5 minutes total on my feet.

 Point#2 Learning the ocean. Before you even get to practice surfing you have to learn about the ocean, tides swings, currents, how to deal with endless oncoming whitewater or waves, and to top it off you need the strength and endurance to paddle back out then catch a wave over and over. To make things even more confusing every surf spot will have a huge range of changing characteristics such as ,reef break, point break, sand bar beach break, high tide wave, low tide wave, onshore wind, off-shore wind, rip currents, channel or no channel and the list goes on. One of the first things people realize when they take their very first surf lesson is how difficult it is to balance just lying down on a surfboard with the motion of the ocean.

Point#3 The hunter element. In surfing we essentially become wave hunters. A. First you have to find a good hunting ground or as we call it beach. B. Then you have to watch carefully to see where the waves are running, how long the set intervals are and where there are not already to many other hunters getting in your way or stealing your catches.  C. You then need to make sure you have the proper equipment to catch the waves. D. Finally you need paddle out, wait in the line-up, identify an incoming wave, position yourself at the peak, pick the proper direction left or right then finally the chase is on. 

 All of this makes surfing the hardest board sport, but the challenge, the ocean medium, and the lifestyle makes surfing the most addictive board sport as well.

Pura Vida & Aloha


Surfing, and Costa Rica tides explained

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Well, as head surf instructor for Shaka beach retreat talking about and explaining the tides has  become an everyday task for me. Many people come to the beach and they don’t understand why certain times of the day are good for surfing and other times are considered bad.  The beach is the beach, so what difference does it make when i go surfing? So anyway the purpose of this blog is to explain how the tides affect our beaches here in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica.

1. High tide & low tide. About every 6 hours the tide switches from low to high and vice-versa. The tide goes out for 6 hours then the tide comes in for 6 hours. So if low tide is 6am and rising, then mid tide is around 9am, and high tide  is 12noon then it turns around and goes back out. An interesting thing to note is when the tide switches directions the waves can go completely flat for 15-20 minutes. This can give a false impression of wave size and conditions to someone who arrives to surf right at that moment. I always advise beginners to watch the waves for 10-15 to get an accurate assesment before jumping in.

2. Here in Costa Rica the tide swing is pretty big around 8-9 feet difference between low and high tide. An interesting thing is every coastal area around the globe has different levels or measurements of tide swings, some ranging to less then a foot to over 20 feet. Variables such as the the moon phase, time of year, and geographical location greatly affect day to day tide levels. On any given day here the low or high tide can vary 2-3 feet so its important to check the local tide chart as well as a visual check.

3. Every day the tides move up about 1 hour. If high tide comming in Monday is 8am, then Tuesday high tide will be 9am then wednesday 10am and so on. So the 2 things to think about are that tides switches aproximately every 6 hours from either low or to high and roughly every 6 days the time of a high or low tide will completely switch.

Here is a tide chart for July 2010 to show the changes

Day High Low High Low High Phase
Fri 01 02:36 AM 9.60 ft 08:52 AM −0.47 ft 03:11 PM 9.25 ft 09:10 PM 0.02 ft
Sat 02 03:27 AM 9.91 ft 09:40 AM −0.85 ft 03:59 PM 9.73 ft 10:02 PM −0.32 ft
Sun 03 04:17 AM 10.03 ft 10:28 AM −1.04 ft 04:48 PM 10.04 ft 10:53 PM −0.47 ft
Mon 04 05:06 AM 9.95 ft 11:16 AM −1.00 ft 05:38 PM 10.12 ft 11:44 PM −0.42 ft
Tue 05 05:57 AM 9.64 ft 12:04 PM −0.75 ft 06:27 PM 9.98 ft
Wed 06 12:36 AM −0.16 ft 06:49 AM 9.16 ft 12:54 PM −0.29 ft 07:19 PM 9.65 ft
Thu 07 01:31 AM 0.25 ft 07:43 AM 8.57 ft 01:46 PM 0.29 ft 08:14 PM 9.20 ft Last Quarter
Fri 08 02:29 AM 0.71 ft 08:42 AM 7.96 ft 02:42 PM 0.92 ft 09:13 PM 8.73 ft
Sat 09 03:32 AM 1.12 ft 09:46 AM 7.47 ft 03:44 PM 1.48 ft 10:15 PM 8.34 ft
Sun 10 04:38 AM 1.38 ft 10:55 AM 7.18 ft 04:50 PM 1.86 ft 11:19 PM 8.10 ft
Mon 11 05:45 AM 1.43 ft 12:02 PM 7.14 ft 05:57 PM 2.01 ft
Tue 12 12:20 AM 8.04 ft 06:46 AM 1.30 ft 01:02 PM 7.32 ft 06:58 PM 1.95 ft
Wed 13 01:14 AM 8.11 ft 07:38 AM 1.07 ft 01:54 PM 7.60 ft 07:51 PM 1.76 ft
Thu 14 02:03 AM 8.26 ft 08:23 AM 0.80 ft 02:39 PM 7.93 ft 08:36 PM 1.51 ft
Fri 15 02:46 AM 8.42 ft 09:02 AM 0.55 ft 03:19 PM 8.24 ft 09:16 PM 1.25 ft New Moon
Sat 16 03:26 AM 8.56 ft 09:38 AM 0.36 ft 03:56 PM 8.49 ft 09:54 PM 1.04 ft
Sun 17 04:04 AM 8.62 ft 10:12 AM 0.26 ft 04:32 PM 8.66 ft 10:31 PM 0.89 ft
Mon 18 04:40 AM 8.58 ft 10:46 AM 0.26 ft 05:06 PM 8.73 ft 11:06 PM 0.83 ft
Tue 19 05:16 AM 8.43 ft 11:19 AM 0.37 ft 05:41 PM 8.70 ft 11:43 PM 0.87 ft
Wed 20 05:52 AM 8.18 ft 11:53 AM 0.58 ft 06:15 PM 8.58 ft
Thu 21 12:20 AM 1.00 ft 06:29 AM 7.84 ft 12:27 PM 0.86 ft 06:51 PM 8.40 ft
Fri 22 12:59 AM 1.19 ft 07:08 AM 7.46 ft 01:04 PM 1.18 ft 07:30 PM 8.18 ft
Sat 23 01:42 AM 1.41 ft 07:51 AM 7.09 ft 01:46 PM 1.50 ft 08:15 PM 7.97 ft First Quarter
Sun 24 02:31 AM 1.60 ft 08:43 AM 6.80 ft 02:36 PM 1.77 ft 09:09 PM 7.80 ft
Mon 25 03:29 AM 1.70 ft 09:46 AM 6.66 ft 03:37 PM 1.94 ft 10:12 PM 7.77 ft
Tue 26 04:35 AM 1.60 ft 10:56 AM 6.79 ft 04:47 PM 1.88 ft 11:20 PM 7.94 ft
Wed 27 05:42 AM 1.27 ft 12:05 PM 7.23 ft 05:58 PM 1.53 ft
Thu 28 12:26 AM 8.34 ft 06:45 AM 0.71 ft 01:06 PM 7.92 ft 07:04 PM 0.95 ft
Fri 29 01:26 AM 8.88 ft 07:41 AM 0.06 ft 02:02 PM 8.71 ft 08:03 PM 0.27 ft
Sat 30 02:21 AM 9.42 ft 08:33 AM −0.58 ft 02:53 PM 9.46 ft 08:57 PM −0.37 ft Full Moon
Sun 31 03:12 AM 9.85 ft 09:22 AM −1.08 ft 03:42 PM 10.06 ft 09:47 PM −0.83 ft

Many beaches here are categorized as tide optimal breaks; for example Playa Carmen is a mid/high to high tide break, Santa teresa, La lora is mid to mid/low break.

Depending on what time a particular tide is, what the current wind direction is, as well as the swell direction and size  will completely dictate the schedule for an entire day or even week in the eyes of a surf instructor or experienced surfer.

Pura Vida!


surfing, how to Hit and destroy the lip

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Definitions: What is hitting or smacking the lip?

The “lip” is the highest point of the wave just before it falls or breaks. Depending on the wind strength and direction, a lip can have many characteristics. For instance Read More→

Categories : off the top-Snaps
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Fins out snap into reverse 360

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This trick I really wanna get down. I can get my fins out and I’m pretty solid at snaps, but the whip the fins out into a 360 is beyond me. I’m gonna watch this clip Read More→

Categories : 360s, off the top-Snaps
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