Costa Rica has always been one of those destinations on every Canadian’s bucket list, its tropical, has a unique Spanish-influenced culture and for the young sports enthusiasts it is the ideal destination to chase waves. After a long winter of park laps on Ontario’s ice-ridden Niagara Escarpment myself and fellow rider Leslie Sparkes were drooling over the idea of margaritas, coconuts and surfer boys on white sand beaches.
Having grown up spending full summers on a lake in central Ontario I can count the number of times I have actually seen the ocean. That being said when we arrived I walked down to the beach carrying my giant long board thinking, this will be a piece of cake, I’ll be graduating to a 6’ board in no time. Ha. After front-rolling through about 50 waves wondering how the locals can stand up oh so effortlessly I gave up that dream pretty quickly. On a positive note I did manage to catch a couple small waves getting the infamous surf stoke.
The next day we were greeted by Canadian Pro rider Ashley Leugner who had been coaching at Paradise Adventures earlier that week in La Fortuna. Reunited, we pounded back a few Imperials and set out in search of the ‘bros’, our new found friends from the big city of Vancouver and Toronto. They had conveniently booked a package complete with surf lessons from the local ‘fabio’ and were oh so gracious to share their tips with us. However, more than often they hadn’t actually received any, since fabio was pretty consumed with giving the best tips to the girls in their group wearing string bikinis.
Patio beers, delicious dinner and a few Tamarin margaritas later, we headed out for bed so we could get up to ride high tide in the AM.
Most of the week consisted of surfing, napping, smoothie bar, napping, surfing then indulging in amazing food. A couple of times we decided to switch it up by visiting ‘Our Resort’ which wasn’t remotely our resort but a fancy 5 star all-inclusive just down the beach from our surf hostel. Most people require bracelets to enter, but I guess blond hair always has its perks. We walked right in after the the guard yelled ‘Hey!! Babies!!Babies!! You want surf lessons babies?”. We shut down that poor guard and headed straight to the pool which consisted of spouting monkeys and about 200 lounge chairs.
After a week of surfing, catamaran rides, Argentinean barbeque (which ultimately resulted in a full day ride on the porcelain train), Johny Turcott of Paradise adventures picked us up to head out to La Fortuna. Driving through the hills we watched the dry grass and smell of smoke slowly be replaced by clear volcanic streams flowing into Lake Arenal at the base of the Arenal Volcano. The Arenal Volcano is the 10th most active volcano in the world, we were actually able to see smoke rising out of it on numerous occasions.
We stayed at Johny’s cabin where we met his wife Sofia, who is a Costa Rican local. She showed us where to pick coco plants, and fed us white furry Guava fruit. I was pretty skeptical at first because it closely resembled a small hamster but it ended up being pretty darn good.
After a full day of zip lining, suspension bridges, rope swings and river lounging we prepped the boat to get out to the lake and ride. First sets of the season are always a little rusty but the lake worked its magic and we all got a few good hits in. You can never go wrong wakeboarding at the base of a Volcano. Overall it was an amazing trip, a special thanks to Johny and Sophia for the great hospitality and teaching us the Pura Vida way.