I’ll start off by saying I’m a born & raised, cynical even by local standards, New Yorker. I NEVER go the same place twice. To me, life is too short and the world is too big. Sticking with the ‘life is too short’ theme, in November 2011, I decided that at 29 years old it was now or never to learn surfing. My friend’s mom recommended Witch’s Rock Surf Camp and a couple of phone calls later I was booked. Two years later and I’m counting the days ’til my 5th trip to WRSC, right after Thanksgiving.
As a beginner, Witch’s Rock Surf Camp was my first introduction to surfing, and what a great job they do at teaching the basics. Andres was my first instructor and gave simple, straightforward instruction. 20 minutes after paddling and popping up on land I was in the water trying to pop up on my own. The instructors do a really good job of gauging your needs so that you can progress as quick as possible.
As an intermediate surfer now, there is no better place than WRSC. Before you go to bed at night you look at the board in the lobby. There, you’ll find your name and your mode of transport ->“Joe by boat 8:30am”. This is amazing! The key is that the camp is situated near so many good and different surf breaks. They do ALL the work for you; you wake up in the morning and they look at the forecast, current winds, call up their friends and pick the break that’s going to be best for your group that day. Essentially, the chances of you not having good conditions at ONE of the many spots around the camp are so small. And what an amazing experience to be dropped off via boat at the exact right spot, at the right time for tides. As an intermediate, I have mostly gone with Flash and Pako, who are both awesome. Flash really gives great advice on how the waves are breaking and puts you in the best spot for your skill level. Pako is amazing, gives instant feedback and pushes you to advance from going straight down the line to turns and picking up your speed. They key to me is how hard the instructors root for you; cheering for you whenever you make a great wave.
I could literally go on for days about Witch’s Rock Surf Camp, but then it’ll get too long and you won’t read this. Bottom line: the staff is amazing and makes the place. From Shawna and crew booking to Sofia and company at the front organizing the surf trips, it’s the staff that makes WRSC what it is. They love what they do and it’s impossible for them to fake it. When you get back from a 4-hour trip with Pako and Flash, they’re sitting next to you eating breakfast with you giving you more tips, they both go above and beyond. Because it’s a surf camp, it’s filled with awesome, down to earth, tourists from all over. If you go alone, you will make friends, if you go as a couple, you will make friends, if you go with a group, you will all make friends! If you don’t make friends, YOU are 100% the problem.
Last story: It’s my last night there during my first trip and we ask one of the staff, “What should we do tonight? We want to do something different and authentic to Costa Rica?” She tells us she has just the thing. 20 minutes later, I’m in a cab that she set us up with to a rodeo about 30 minutes away. I watched bull-riding in a farm, got in the ring with the bulls, had amazing local food and got a ride back to camp with our cab driver who had waited there for the 6 of us the entire time. I think the whole night cost me $30 and never would have taken place if not for the thoughtful staff at WRSC. Surfing is amazing and addicting as hell but you’ll go there multiple times like everyone else does for the new friends you make, and the old ones that welcome you back every time you arrive.
Joe – NYC