Give thanks, give thanks, give thanks… What are you thankful for? Today is Thanksgiving and most of you reading this blog have a full day of NFL football, Turkey, pumpkin pie, and a Tryptophan comma ahead. Although this is technically a “Gringo holiday” Thanksgiving is celebrated in many countries where there’s a prevalent expat population including Tamarindo Costa Rica. It’s important to give thanks and gratitude everyday, but let’s take advantage of this date to share 10 things we’re thankful for here at Witch’s Rock Surf Camp.
1. Meeting people from around the world
Tamarindo is a melting pot of cultures. Yes, our biggest demographic is from the United States and Canada, but we’ve met some of the most interesting people with unique backgrounds from all over the world. Off the top of my head, I can remember guests from Argentina, Peru, Brazil, Portugal, Ireland, Pakistan, Japan, Holland, Russia, Galapagos Islands (just to name a few). Everyone has a story worth sharing and we’re lucky to have heard so many
2. Sharing the stoke of surfing
Surfing is the best feeling in the world… Wait scratch that… Teaching someone to surf and sharing surfing’s natural stoke has got to be the best feeling in the world. As a beginner surfer, finding your balance on the board for the first time and riding that wave nose-first into the sand is an unforgettable experience. As an instructor, the most rewarding feeling is when we’re working hard with a student, making minor tweaks with each attempt, and finally helping an eager student succeed in catching their first legitimate wave. The ecstatic look that follows and heart-felt, “Thank you” makes it all worth it.
3. Offshore winds
The wind is always the “x factor” in any surf session. The swell can be pumping, the tide could be rising, but if the wind is blowing the wrong direction, it can feel like a damp cloth has been thrown over your session. In surfing, there are only two wind directions that matter: onshore and offshore. Onshore winds are when the wind is blowing onto the shore and causes the wave to prematurely break with choppy surface conditions. Ideally, surfers want offshore winds which is when the wind blows (you guessed it) off the shore and against the grain of the oncoming surf. Offshore wind groom the waves and allow them to break perfectly and offer the occasional tube section. Our region of north-west Costa Rica is known for offshore winds enhanced by Lake Nicaragua to our north. Check out the in depth Surf Science article here about Costa Rica’s offshore winds.
4. Veranillo Season
This is the favorite season of the locals. The rainy season lasts from May – October, but there is a secret window within those months that locals call the “Veranillo” which means mini-Summer in English. From the beginning of July until roughly the end of August, our region of Costa Rica takes a break from the rain and we’re blessed with blue skies, offshore winds, and pumping Southern Hemisphere swell. This is the time when you can score the waves of your life with tame crowds. Check out a full analysis of Costa Rica’s secret season here.
5. Howler Monkeys
They may be the second loudest animals in the world, but no one seems to mind… Howler Monkeys are everywhere in our region and are quite majestic to see coursing through the trees with their pack. Howler Monkeys travel in predetermined routes gathering food. We’re also thankful for the good people of Tamarindo who are active in maintaining the Howlers’ natural route with monkey bridges to keep them off the telephone lines. If you’re staying at Witch’s Rock for 7 nights we GUARANTEE you’ll see at least 1 Howler Monkey or your money back… Just kidding… BTW, the Sperm Whale is the loudest animal on Earth if you’re still wondering.
6. Volcano Brewing Company’s IPA
Oh the delight of a post-surf cerveza… Up until about 10 years ago, Costa Rica was dominated by Imperial and Pilsen, basically Coors Light of Costa Rican beer. Yes, Imperial and Pilsen are thirst quenching, but there’s something missing for those with a more refined palate. In 2014, Witch’s Rock head honcho, Joe Walsh brought Volcano Brewing Company to Tamarindo with 4 delicious craft beers made by the beach. I’m sure you’ve tried the deliciously nutty Galo Malo, the refreshing Witch’s Rock Pale Ale, the magnificent Magdalena Blonde, or the delightfully bitter Indian Pale Ale. Is it 5:00pm yet?
Costa Rica ranks within the top 20 countries with the richest biodiversity in the World. That’s saying a lot when you consider Costa Rica’s land area is about the size of West Virginia. For this reason, 25% of the country is protected by national parks and public zones. In fact, the first 50 meters from the high tide line is considered the maritime zone and can never be built upon and is publicly owned land. Let’s give thanks to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) who are responsible for the maintenance of sustainable conservation and advancement of the biodiversity in the country.
8. Gallo Pinto
Have you had your life changed by the Costa Rican breakfast of Gallo Pinto yet? This typical breakfast eaten around the country is a hearty plate of rice and beans (Gallo Pinto), eggs to your liking, platano maduro, and a whopping piece of fried cheese. This plate will vary from place to place but this combination is our favorite. Disclaimer: you’ll need to wait 20 minutes after eating a Gallo Pinto con huevos before attempting to surf…
9. Warm Water
Surfing in boardshorts is a luxury that few destinations enjoy 12 months of the year. With the ocean water hovering around 80°F, Costa Rica is known for boardshorts and bikinis year round which can make for some spectacular tan lines. Not only is the water warm, but it also has a majestic blue/green hue that will live up to your preconceived postcard images of Costa Costa Rica.
10. Robert August
Even at 74 years old, Robert can be seen around Witch’s Rock Surf Camp every day shaping boards, doing seminars (you MUST see his live narration of the Endless Summer on Tuesdays) and telling stories of his early pioneering days. Yes Robert is a bonafide surf legend and we’re lucky to have him at our camp. Let us know if you’d like to get a custom board from Robert. Whether you want to hang 10 or hang it on your wall, you’ll own a piece of surfing history.