Without a Paddle
If you are one of those who dream about coming to Costa Rica to learn to surf, this blog post is for you. We are going to make an argument why there might be a better alternative.
There are many alternatives to regular surfing (kite-surfing, foil, wind-surfing, all of which have a high learning curve). While they are not as easy to find, there is one, in particular, that is becoming more common on the coastlines of Costa Rica.
This option is SUPSurf! The growth of SUPSurfing, as a result, is now practiced by some of the top surfers on the planet. It is quickly becoming “cool,” which is often a prerequisite in surfing. If you wonder what the difference is between SUPSurfing and regular surfing, it is just two simple things.
First, the board is slightly larger, gives you the option to stand up at times, and second you add a paddle.
We might be a little biased because we are advocates of SUPSurfing. We also run a SUPSurf camp in the Caribbean. But hear us out why we think learning to SUPSurf in Costa Rica has its benefits to regular surfing.
SUPSurf Class vs. Regular Surf Class
For years now, many visitors sign up for an hour of surf classes. During this hour, they learn the pop-up needed for surfing. This is starting from a laying down position. Once your board gains speed, you pop up and surf the wave. The pop-up is tricky for most unless you are an agile teenage kid. For beginners, this is done in what we call whitewater. Here is where you find small waves that have already broken.
We can not say much bad about this activity. It is an excellent way for kids and active adults to get in the water, You learn the basics of surf, and have some great pics for the photo album. This is one way to say you were able to learn to surf in Costa Rica.
Benefits of SUPSurf
But…we can say that SUPSurfing has its benefits, especially if you are a beginner. One of the benefits of SUPSurfing is that the board is larger and more stable, making it easier for those who struggle a little with balance. Because of the board’s size, you can be standing when the wave comes and don’t have to worry about doing the pop-up.
Another benefit is that the paddle gives you extra speed to catch waves. This can be beneficial for anyone who has shoulder injuries and struggles to paddle from a lying-down position.
If you decide to try SUPSurfing, you will soon find out that you can catch more waves. Having a paddle is like having a motor. If you came to the beach to surf, you mine as well catch as many waves as possible (assuming you are not on a crowded beach).
Why we Promote SUPSurf
We like promoting SUPSurfing over regular surfing because it is often a gateway event for an individual to take up SUP on flat water. They might enjoy an hour of attempting SUPSurfing and realize that they can do flatwater SUP back at home. This has a major benefit; it is for anyone living anywhere. It might not be surfing but flatwater SUP is still an affordable and great activity to get outdoors. Regular surfing is limited to riding waves and even more difficult for some having access to the beach. The SUPSurf industry now makes many boards that work for flat water and for riding in waves.
SUPSurf Class vs. SUPSurf Camp
Once you take a closer look at SUPSurfing and are drawn into the sport, you will have a few options to learn. Like regular surfing, you will find short classes or clinics. In SUPSurfing, you see fewer of these. This is mainly because while SUPSurfing is considered easier by most than regular surfing, it involves a few more things: the paddle and longer board. It also is done by older generations as the younger kids prefer surfing. These generations tend to have more money. Combining these two things apply an extra few hours of coaching than just your 1-hour quick class.
The first option would be a SUPSurf class. If you sign up for 1 hour, you found an outstanding coach. The reason is that there are many basics to cram into that hour. Ideally, if you have the time, you want to look for a full morning session to get you acquainted with the gear, safety, and basics in the water. If you have SUP experience on flat water, that would be ideal, and if not, you can always find a rental place or a class from the many flatwater SUP operations found anywhere in the US. Sign up for one of these classes before your trip just to get attuned to standing up on a board and paddling.
Your second option is what is becoming more popular. This is a SUPSurf Camp or, of course, the Tropical SUPSurf Academy here in Costa Rica. This is for those that are seriously considering adding SUPSurf to their family outings. If you have always thought surfing was not for you, you might be surprised after a SUPSurf camp.
While we can not speak for all the SUPSurf camps worldwide, we can say that Costa Rica has some of the best. They are professionally operated camps with coaches that focus on personalized attention and video analysis. Most camps have four or five levels of SUPSurfing.
One of our most popular options for SUPSurfing camps is the Tropical SUPSurf Academy on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica during September, October, and November. The white sandy beaches, sunny blue skies, and Caribbean vibes make it a secret oasis while Costa Rica has its rainy season.
Maybe it’s time to open your mind next time you search to learn to surf in Costa Rica. Try something different this vacation, and who knows; you might end up becoming a part of the SUPSurf lifestyle…yeh buddy!