15 Years at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp

by: Maggie Smith

I have slowly gained many “big brothers” since 2003. I have watched the board cage move to 3 different locations, the hotel grow, another restaurant added, but most importantly, I still feel at home when I walk into Witch’s Rock. I think I have stayed in every room, multiple times with the people I care about most, and to think it started with my mom picking up a travel magazine in search of the next vacation for her and her two girls.

In 2003 we weren’t a family who surfed. To this day we still aren’t surfers but the happiness and memories we created here sometimes convince me that we are. This wouldn’t be possible without all my Costa Rican “big brothers.”

The last fifteen years have been full of vacations to Witch’s Rock where all of my friends and family joined one trip or another. Costa Rica has always been such a special place to me and I enjoy sharing it with the people I love.  I have had trips where I surfed until I couldn’t physically move from surfing all day, trips where I had too many beers to go out surfing the following day, even a trip where I insisted we do a different canopy tour each day after surfing. Maxi has watched me grow up and takes such good care of me I’m not quite sure what to do when someone instructs me to put wax on my board.

Growing up in Michigan you would think Christmas was full of snow but in reality, for our family it was filled with baby turtles, ATVs, my first granizado and the best waves of our lives. I specifically remember last Christmas when Johan and I convinced the family to rent ATVs. I had been living in Costa Rica for 6 months at the time and knew of a few more secret beaches my mom and sister should see. The combination between not having driven in six months and Johan insisting we go full throttle was thrilling and hilarious all at the same time.

In 2016, I graduated after 4 years of college escaping every chance I could to Witch’s Rock. After being offered my dream job in my hometown where life was comfortable and cold… I worried that I might be there forever and secretly applied for a job in Costa Rica.

Here I am, two years later still teaching first grade in Costa Rica making as many trips to the beach as possible. I continue to still be more of a floater and a chatter than a surfer however, I am not ready to turn in the surfboard or beautiful sunset for a white Christmas, as I spend my 10th Holiday season in Tamarindo.


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