Tom and Jose of Tropical Surf Sup Acadmey posing for picture at Pacuare River.

Sup Surf Camp Costa Rica – Owners Story

SurfSUP Camp Owners in Costa Rica

When looking for an instructional service, the most important thing is going with a teacher or coach to deliver the professionalism and results needed. For all great coaches to provide and form a successful program, there always needs to be things run smoothly behind the scenes. Even more so when including the logistics of international travel to your sup surf camp.

When Tom Ranieri and Jose Ruiz met, this was the start of combining the recipes needed for the next great sup surf learning center.  The shared passion and experience for paddling was the perfect match for a sup surf camp to run at the highest level through and through.

Tom Ranieri - Pacuare Outdoor Center

Tom Ranieri is the Pacuare Outdoor Center (POC – Adventure Company & River Lodge) owner on the Pacuare River and has been running rivers in Costa Rica for the last 18 years. He has also been organizing adventure travel to every corner of Costa Rica during this time. His love for always getting involved in new things has led him to be often the one on the odd vessel going down the river. His curiosity to try something new was no different with paddleboards.

When SUP paddle boarding in the river started to make its way down to Costa Rica Tom wasted little time to get a few boards in the warehouse. Sure enough, guides and clients loved having a crack at riding a paddleboard down some rapids. With SUP’s in the river came SUP’s on the flats of Costa Rica. As a result, that only left one thing for Tom and the POC to add to their repertoire, sup surfing.

The nice part about this is that if you are reading this, you are likely interested in sup surfing. Maybe thinking about getting into the sport, and that is exactly what Tom still feels. He was at the age of 40 when he first sup surfed.  Being a river rat one might think Tom was worried about breaking into the surf world, nope. You always here Tom quoting the famous Gerry Lopez who once said, “the best surfer in the ocean is the one having the most fun”.   

Tom quickly fell in love with the sport and being in the adventure travel industry, he became more and more drawn to it. Seeing people have success at sup surf was like watching clients get through a class IV rapid for Tom. The fulfillment and smiles on people’s faces made Tom know he had to make sup surfing a part of POC. 

Jose Ruiz - Sup Surf Coach - Pro Sup Surfer

This is where Jose Ruiz comes into the story and the birth of Tropical SUPSurf Academy. Jose and Tom have one thing very much in common that drew each other’s attention. They both enjoyed seeing the people smile and feel that fulfillment of accomplishment even more than they enjoyed riding their next waves. They simply loved sharing the sport as much as they loved doing it. 

Jose is a natural athlete and coach. He gave up playing professional soccer in Costa Rica to pursue his sup surf teaching and competing career. He was fortunate to have walked into the sport at one of the most respected sup surf Paddling Schools on the planet (Nosara PaddleSurf) and from his start been surrounded by the absolute best when it comes to teaching and breaking down the science of sup surfing. He was a sponge during his years of working in Nosara, which is also his hometown. Jose has been competing as a professional sup surfer for many years and one of the top sup surfers in Latin America. While his competing resume is impressive; his passion for teaching is the badge he wears most proudly.

The Salt and Freshwater Paddling

Few people effortlessly have the patience combined with the knowledge to coach in the manner Jose does, and Tom knew and saw this from the first day they met.

It wasn’t until Tom brought Jose over to the POC Lodge, and he tested his river SUP Skills that Jose busted out with the biggest smile ever, knowing he found another passion in freshwater while he would have the chance to continue sharing his love for the saltwater. 

With this combination of love for water (fresh or salt), Tom and Jose launched the SUPSurf Academy. Their goal is to meet the highest standards of service, coaching, and at all cost get results of finding that smile of fulfillment in each and everyone one of their clients.

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POC Camp

The POC camp is an extension of the POC lodge and while the POC Lodge is located with vast views of the Pacuare River Canyon the POC Camp is down on the river’s edge. While it might not have the view of the POC Lodge it sits on one of the calmest sections of the river making the POC Camp home to one of the river Pacuare’s best spots for taking a swim and relaxing on the river’s edge.

POCsito is a favorite among so many of our guests. It is a glamping experience with some of the important comforts of home.

POC Lodge

Started in 2011 is the POC lodge. If you haven’t figured it out by now POC lodge is our own lodge and what we like to call the “baby” of the P.O.C. Adventure Company. We wanted a lodge on our favorite part of Costa Rica which is the Pacuare River and with the help of locally harvested supplies and labor, the POC Lodge was born.


This is a 180-acre property that runs over 1 mile of the Pacuare River. Our goal has always been to offer as much comfort as possible without steering too far away from our roots of just roughing it on the river’s edge. Our lodge has hot water, a splash of luxury in the rooms, and 5-Star service and attention to our guests.

Our favorite part about the lodge is that we built a short hike up from the river’s edge. We know we have the best views of the Pacuare River canyon and unfortunately pictures don’t even do it justice.

Arenal Paraiso, Arenal

Have you ever wanted to stay the night at the base of an active volcano? Well here is your chance. The Arenal Paraiso is located at the base of the Arenal Volcano with breath-taking views of the perfectly cone-shaped volcano.

Here at Arenal Paraiso’s, you will enjoy the beautiful property which offers much more than just a view. The property has numerous bungalows that offer a splash of luxury while surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. After a day of adventure, you will love making your way back to relax or hang out in the pool at Arenal Paraiso.

Shawandha, Caribbean 

Located at the edge of the white sandy beaches of Costa Rica sits the Shawandha lodge.  A perfect blend of eco-style luxury along with the sounds of the ocean and vibrant ambiance of the rainforest.

Shawandha lodge is set up with individual bungalows made out of local wood. You will be sure to wake up to the sound of the local residents such as the howler monkeys and green macaws. After your day of adventure, you will have a chance to relax and enjoy the beautiful swimming pool at the Shawandha Lodge.

Hotel Villa Florencia, Turrialba

Located in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by sugar-cane plantations and views of the smoking Turrialba Volcano sits an old plantation home that has been renovated into a beautiful small hotel named Villa Florencia.

This is a great hotel with a beautiful pool and plenty of space to take long morning or afternoon hikes. The Villa Florencia hotel is a chance to enjoy luxury while feeling like you stook back in time. While you are in the valley don’t forget to look up as the Turrialba Volcano can often be seen doing small eruptions from across the valley.

Casa Turire, Turrialba

Casa Turire has been one of our favorites since we started. The grounds are some of the lushest you will find anywhere in Costa Rica. Casa Turire sits in the valley of Turrialba surrounded by mountains and the beautiful Turrialba Volcano. The most amazing part about Casa Turire other than its great restaurant and home-made sugar cane ice cream is that it sits on a peninsula surrounded by Lake Angostura offering great morning hikes, birding, or SUPing around the lake.