Costa Rica after 18 years away…

Good time to be monkeying around on some beach break in Centro. Photo: M-Dub.

Imagine seeing a friend again that you had not seen from high school, someone you were really close to…
For me that friend was Costa Rica. I had not been there in 18 years. My wife was pregnant with our middle daughter the last time I was there, said daughter is 18 now! Back then I was obsessed with Costa Rica, that trip in 2005 was my fourth trip to the land of Pura Vida. I would have moved there in a heartbeat, but I ended up going to Puerto Rico and seeing how easy it was and for a dozen other reasons moving to the Caribbean instead. So my relationship with Costa Rica got put on hold for a long time and in the interim, I heard many things about the country like ‘it got crowded’ ‘it got developed’, blah blah blah. So this trip was soaked in memories and nostalgia and totally surreal for me. One of the things that happens is after 18 years your memory gets weird and plays tricks on you and you think you remember roads, beaches, places- but it’s different than what you think it is… So TONY and I grew up surfing together. Many of you that follow this website know that we had done many surf trips together but just the same we haven’t been anywhere in 15 years. Well, he’s been down to PR to visit and I try and take time off so we can surf together and we caught WFL winter waves together also. So it was really good to catch up with TC. He ended up renting a car so he drove everywhere. I was just a passenger and I kept remembering things from 18 years ago so I would say ‘Tony, pull over’ and then ‘Tony, stop’ but he never listened to me- he just kept going 🙂 Tony is goofy foot and I’m a regular foot. He always wanted to go to southern Costa Rica because there’s so many good lefts there so we finally drove all the way down there, we took it in two days bc it was a 7 hour drive. We did two hours one day, surfed in the am ate breakfast and then drove the five hours the next day… My impressions of southern Costa Rica near the Panama border is nothing but good. I can’t believe the quality of the waves there. I should’ve gone along time ago, the place is epic. The vibe was really good, friendly… I mean there’s a lot of people there at the one spot. There’s probably 70 people out on a good day, but the wave is so spread out that it kind of doesn’t matter. You just have to find a hole in the crowd and get some separation just like you do here in PR. Plus that’s not the only wave around. That coast line is wave rich. We stayed with a good buddy named Eric who lives down there helping out a congregation. He is a high-quality person, a wonderful hard-working minister and a diehard surfer who used to live in St. Petersburg. Originally Eric is from Puerto Rico and he was our guide in CR. We just drove around and scored perfect waves day after day after day. I guess by the end, I might’ve got a little bit bored because they were all lefts and my favorite wave is a beachbreak barrel and if I’m going to surf left, I like it to be challenging, which for me is more like a peak and a bowl than a long straight line and we did find some waves like that so I’m not complaining at all. It’s just I was happy to shoot photos and the right barrel was not there… So like I said, TONY never turned… TONY would never turn or stop when I asked him to… Finally we’re driving home… well he’s driving home, got to catch a flight the next day. But we’ve got all day to work our way back to the central coast and there’s a left turn that leads to a 40 minute drive to a beach break that we had heard good things about. Finally, he listens to me and he turns left. We come to this beach and we meet a lady in a restaurant. The place is beautiful with tall coco’s lining a perfect beach. The waves out back look like the day of the year in Cocoa Beach. We asked the waitress where do people surf? There’s not a soul around… TONY walks back out to the beach and he’s looking down the coast line and sees a hollow right in the distance. We drive down this beach to where we think the waves going to be and pass through an access. While we’re passing through the access there’s a very tall almond tree full of red macaws so it’s just trippy and we walk out to the beach- Let me tell you there’s not another soul around. No surfers, no people- the only person was that lady in the restaurant. We walk out there and there’s this perfect beach break. It looks like we’re in France. It’s like head high, foot overhead, breaking about 40 yards off the beach at the most with some hollow sections and not closing out, just perfect. We felt like those two surf explorers back in the 70s. So I paddled out and got some really great beach break while Tony stayed with the gear, then he paddled out and we would trade off surfing perfect beach break well into the afternoon. It stayed glassy as the tide dropped out. For me this was a surprise session and the icing on the cake of an already great surf trip. So to summarize, Costa Rica is still an awesome country. Some of the stupid places like Jaco and Hermosa did get developed but I don’t care anyways because the majority of that country is still just vast open spaces… Beautiful mountains, lush, you know the amazing places. It’s still an incredible surfers playground, still awesome after all these years. There are still plenty of waves to go around, empty waves. You just got to look… The people were incredibly friendly. Still patient with my Spanish, all good vibes, good food, a little expensive, but just like that friend used to have in high school totally worth it.–

MW… we got some of the funnest beachbreak yesterday. Full report soon… Headed home today…

TC finally got to surf Pavones!! Cross it off the bucket list, such a perfect wave!! Photo M Dub..

TC finding his perfect wave in Centro. Photo: M-Dub…


Costa Friday am…

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27 thoughts on “Costa Rica after 18 years away…

  1. hd

    in no way do i take the gfs seriously beyond 5 days out but when it continuously shows a tropical wave pop up long term on every run for several days in a row its usually something to give a little consideration/attention to–especially when its located in our quadrant…

  2. Bubba

    From a slow winter to this long flat spell and now this gfs prediction probably just another heart breaker but its still going!

  3. Fuggin

    Scored some 1footers with the grom on the 11ft Hobie this am… sloppy and onshore but we had a blast!

  4. hd

    42036 has some 3 ft 5-6 sec s sw wsw range readings. potential something like that makes to it 98…

  5. hd

    theres rideable waves just not really working as good as it should on the usual south bar thanks in part to T.O.D. (trough of doom) too high tide and not enough swell. somewheres definitely fun but ive had covid past 3 days and beat from bs session, save it for tomoro.

  6. greg

    Did not look good at all but I did get a few fun little thigh high rides yesterday afternoon. Chop, slop and small but every now and then something to get on. Better than than nada right? North pine.

  7. Leonard Skinner

    Hopefully a little session gulfside now or later.
    Later, later I want some east coast tater.

  8. Higgy baby

    Slop chop but I got a few fun rides in T.I. not a bad father’s day, waist to stomach high for me at 6’4″

  9. Cb

    Surfed 5 days during this “event.” Not epic, but at the right time and tide there was some fun to be had. For the middle of June, I’ll take it.

  10. Al

    Got 7 surf sessions during last 5 days at TI.
    Cleanest waves were mostly at low tide.
    Nice week after going 6 weeks with no waves
    May 1-June 7.
    Today Friday the waves have faded, but it was good while it lasted this week.

  11. admin Post author

    A couple buddies gave me reports of fun surf all week- Tuesday/Wednesday was the best they said when it glassed off behind the storms, don’t look now but there may be a bump next week also, thanks for the event reports guys!

  12. Al

    Surprisingly nice wave sets were consistent at
    5-7pm on Saturday 7-8-23 at TI.
    Got 20+ fun slides all the way down the beach from
    Jetty to in front of mansions.
    Good call Micah.

  13. Ericito

    Saturday actually had a perf wave for surfers for autism! Morning was 1 to 2 and supa clean for the whole morn! Wind turned on and tide switched up in the afternoon but every kid got a session in while it was good! Nice call MW! Honestly couldnt of had better waves for those kids!

  14. hd

    was pretty fun at the s spot ahead of the squall line then the wind switched north and quickly funked it up/tide dropped. first time for me here in a couple months.

  15. admin Post author

    stoked you got some HD- i saw pics on socail media of lots of kids surfing yesterday, stoked…

    spirit had a 90$ flight to san jose… just saying

  16. hd

    one day for sure man ^ bout to start a new job tho so no time soon unfortunately. should be an active fall/winter here…

  17. Orewa Surf

    Reading about your reunion with Costa Rica after 18 years was truly heartwarming. Nostalgia and memories intertwined as you rekindled a bond that time hadn’t diminished. The journey down memory lane, with your friend Tony, exploring the waves and rediscovering the beauty of southern Costa Rica, painted an adventurous picture. It’s refreshing to know that despite some changes, Costa Rica’s allure remains intact – the welcoming people, stunning landscapes, and epic waves. Your surprise session on the perfect beach break, reminiscent of surf explorers from decades past, added the icing on this already incredible experience. A testament to the enduring magic of Pura Vida!

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