Surfing Etiquette and Pointers – Costa Rica

Hot Surfing Spot

Hot Surfing Spots

So your finally going to be surfing in Costa Rica,  well here are some pointers that will make your trip a life time experience.  First, most first-time surfers see these sparkling sand beaches, awesome waves and chattering English, they instantly think heaven and/or Hawaii. Always remember, Costa Ricans by nature are easy going, friendly and generally eager to help you.   But if you become the “Ugly American,” expect to be treated like one!

Grom Surf Camp - Playa Jaco

Grom Surf Camp - Playa Jaco

Remember, you are in a foreign country whose  legal system is based on Napoleonic law and that means, guilty until proven innocent. In otherwords, if the cops think or some local claims you have done something wrong, expect the worse and the next thing you will need is not a cold beer or surf wax,  but a  Costa Rica attorney.

If you decide to go surfing with a bunch of your excited buddies and it seems somewhat crowded, do not all jump into the water at the same time. It makes it look like an invasion … don’t paddle  straight to where everyone is, wait on the side and take your time.

Once you get into the lineup, made sure you say, “Hello or Buenos Dias” to the others, even if nobody answers back. What counts is giving your respect to those around.

Big Wave Riding

Big Wave Riding

Don’t wave hog and always wait your turn! Do not paddle towards the inside for priority. If it looks like you want to catch all the waves, don’t be surprised if someone drops in and cuts you off. Or expect your tires to be flat on your SUV or robbed when you come out of the water.

When you paddle for a wave … catch it! If you refuse to go without a good reason, the locals will not give you another chance. It is always better to wipe out than missing a virgin wave.

Respect authority! The surfer who stands up the closest to the peak has priority.

When you paddle back to the line up, be aware of others. The ones surfing the waves have priority, and if you have to change directions, paddle towards the white water, its your way of telling the surfer, you are giving him or her head way.

Try not  cry out or shout when catching, riding, or missing a wave. And don’t keep calling to your friends while in the water. Most of the surfers like to concentrate, while waiting for the next set, and the shouting can be distracting and/or it means you are in trouble;  something like, “Crying Wolf!”

When about to be creamed by a huge set and you have to let your board go, be real careful that you don’t ditch your board right in front of someone – be aware of what is around you.

Always, always make it at habit of picking up a few items of trash before you enter or leave the water. This is a win-win situation and you will probably get others thinking the same.

Respect the locals and your surfing will be more enjoyable and you will make new friends and have a great time.

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