Do you dream of learning how to surf in Costa Rica? You’re not alone. Year after year, travelers from all over the world plan a learning vacation to a surf camp in Costa Rica. And every time, they leave with some unforgettable memories, a bit of a tan, and new skills on the water.
Here are five things you’ll learn at a surf camp in Costa Rica.
Pop Up (Without Using Your Knees)
One of the most common mistakes beginner surfers make is using their knees when standing up on their board. Using your knees (or knee) adds an unnecessary step and can throw off your balance. Instead, you should use one fluid motion to pop directly from your board to your feet. Learning how to pop up takes practice, and patience, but it is an important skill to master early on. To practice, lay your board on the sand and place your hands on the rails (sides) of your board. Practice jumping to your feet in one fluid motion until it becomes second nature. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and be perpendicular to the centerline (stringer) of your board. Once you’re able to pop up to the correct position on land, then you’re ready to try it in the water.
Paddling is a crucial aspect of surfing. Not only is it important to help you get in position to catch the waves, but it also helps you propel you forward to get a good start. To paddle, cup your hands keeping your fingers together, and dig deep. Make sure that your board is level with the water—with the nose not underneath or sticking too far up out of the water. Practice maneuvering your board in a circular motion, both lying down and from a sitting position, before picking out a wave.
Choosing a Wave
Knowing how to select a good wave will save surfers the energy and frustration of paddling for lesser waves. Many factors—from tide conditions and weather to wave shapes and consistency—impact wave selection. Learning how to properly choose a prime wave from a local expert is one of the biggest reasons surfers should attend a surf camp in Costa Rica.
Catching a Wave
Once you’re comfortable with the basic technique of paddling and learn how to select a wave, you have to catch it. Turn towards the shore, paddling hard, and don’t stop until you feel the wave pick you up. Once you feel the wave thrust you forward, you can pop up into position and ride the wave.
Learning how to turn your board allows you to lengthen your ride time. After you catch the wave and are standing on your board, you’ll have to determine if the wave is going to break left or right and angle your board accordingly. To turn your board, shift your weight to your back foot and lean in the direction you want to go. Your shoulders should turn first, and your body will follow.
Want to learn more about surf camps in Costa Rica? Check out School of the World’s Surf Camps for both Beginner and Intermediate/Advanced surfers, or build strength and balance with a combination Yoga/Surf camp.
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