As I sit in my comfortable, air-conditioned office, I can’t help but think about what our surf coaches are about to embark on. It takes me back to when I was a surf coach going through the same lifeguard program. I remember thinking, “I’m in good shape. How hard can it be?”
Then you meet Captain Luis Hidalgo, President of the National Association of Lifeguards of Costa Rica. Always smiling, his demeanor initially evokes the typical Pura Vida attitude—until training begins. Seasoned coaches Carlos and Mateo know what’s coming, but for new coaches Cristopher, Valentina, and Oscar, their faces tighten as the reality sets in. For the next seven days, they’ll endure 4-5 hours of daily grueling physical training, performing rescues and resuscitation drills, followed by another 4 hours of afternoon classroom instruction on rescue theory and hands-on CPR practice for first responders—all under the watchful eye of Captain Luis.
And don’t forget, the Captain loves handing out push-ups—lots of them. Make sure to arrive early, as you’ll be doing 10 push-ups for every minute you show up late!
Disciplined and dedicated, Luis Hidalgo has spent the past 30 years developing this lifeguard training course. On a mission to raise awareness, he has trained over 800 lifeguards, with the primary goal of preserving human lives. He takes this whole lifeguard training program seriously, as he should.
The week-long course was one of the most physically and mentally demanding experiences I’ve ever encountered. It pushes you to your physical limit before immediately thrusting you into a rescue situation that demands critical thinking and decision-making skills. This course has stayed with me, and to this day it has helped me personally make and assist with ocean rescues.
Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is proud to share Captain Luis Hidalgo’s ideology. We want every guest to feel safe and comfortable in the ocean. Our surf coaches are not only experts in surf instruction, but every single surf coach must successfully pass the rigorous Costa Rican Lifeguard Certification program in order to become an official member of our team.
As we watch the new coaches tackle the course for the first time and our veteran coaches refresh their skills and knowledge, we want to congratulate this year’s coaches on completing the Costa Rica National Lifeguard Program. They persevered through the grueling week-long course, earning top marks and, of course, doing countless push-ups under the guidance of the respected and disciplined Captain Luis Hidalgo. We extend our gratitude to him for training our coaches and helping us contribute to his simple yet vital mission: preventing the loss of life on beaches in Costa Rica and worldwide.
So whether you’re a learning surfer, a family seeking a safe, fun surf adventure, or an experienced waterman looking for the inside scoop to Costa Rica’s best waves, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp is a great place for you. You can feel assured knowing that we take this whole safety thing very seriously. If there ever is an ocean emergency, you can feel safe knowing you’re surfing with lifeguards.
For more information about this course and future training dates, contact:
Captain Luis Hidalgo
WhatsApp +506 8829 3092
National Association of Lifeguards of Costa Rica’s Facebook page