Costa Rica Surfing

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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That Costa Rica surfing is legendary should come as no surprise. Consider that this slip of a country in the middle of Central America has about 785 of pristine coastline. Two-thirds face the Pacific, one-third the Caribbean. Both coasts offer glorious beaches and produce wonderful waves. You want to be sure that the resort you select offers surfing nearby.

The major swell season is from April through October, but even saying that implies a restricted surfing season that Costa Rica simply doesn't have. The Caribbean season is indeed short, with large swells from tropical storms off Mexico. The Pacific season, by contrast, lasts the entire year. Its consistent surf comes from low pressure weather systems off New Zealand. Most Costa Rica surfing beaches lie on the Pacific. They begin with Nacasolo in the north and end with Zancudo in the south. In essence, the crisp blue ocean swell rolls the entire coastline, an arc of clear water, the crest of which is yours to ride to shore.

Learning at Costa Rica Surfing Schools

If you're lucky, you'll find Costa Rica surfing schools at or near your resort. If you've gotten this far in your life and haven't yet been surfing, this is a good thing. (We can't all be born to parents who settled on the north shore of Hawaii and gave us surfboards for birthdays rather than bicycles.)

These are where you'll learn about onshore, offshore, and cross shore winds, and the waves that they generate. You'll learn, too, that point break is a kind of wave--one that breaks on rocks--as are beach breaks and reef breaks. Reef breaks roll and break over a coral bed or rocky seabed. They produce the waves you see most often in surfing videos and photographs.


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