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Old 09-02-2006   #1
Meng's Avatar
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 787
Place to learn to surf (board) in late November?

The GF and I are looking to take our winter break to the beach this year and learn to surf. It will be the last 2 weeks in November.

Considering Sayulita, Mex or Nosara/Malpais, Costa Rica.

Anyone have any experiences with these places or reccomendations on other places to learn board surfing that time of year?

A recent post about heavy localism exhibited by Sayulita surfers on their local forum has me a bit concerned: http://sayulita-mexico.com/index.php?showtopic=412

We definitely respect etiquette and locals but dont want to go someplace where we will be intimidated and threatened on a 2 week vaca that we worked our asses off for during the other 11.5 months a year.

Thanks in advance for any info!

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Old 09-02-2006   #2
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 3
I would consider Rincon, Puerto Rico in late November. Good swells are starting and there are several very good instructors on the beaches. Great community, unbelievable food, and water to die for. I try to get back regularly.

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Old 09-02-2006   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 97
I was down in Tamarindo, Costa Rica a couple of years ago in the middle of December and had a great time surfing. A couple of days the waves got a little bit big, but for the most part they were butter if you're on a long board. It make take a couple of visits to different surf shops, but somebody usually has a board that you can rent. Beautiful area too...
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Old 09-02-2006   #4
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Lakewood, Colorasta
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 843
Hey Meng, no worries on Sayulita unless your a total kook. Even if your a beginner its an easy longboard wave. There are a ton of beginners at Sayulita so you won't be alone. Just be cool and try not to drop in on the locals. If your nice and smile alot you'll be fine. Most of the heavy localism comes from the young punks. Sayulita is a super fun town with lots of great places to stay. We go there and take boats out to the reefs which are fairly uncrowded. The local break can be crowded but if you hit it at sun up youll get some waves. Most everyone in the water in the morning are middle aged gringo's. They keep to themselves and are fairly cliqueish, but they wont drop in on you or give you a hard time.

Have fund
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Old 09-03-2006   #5
Highlands Ranch, CO Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 482
I second Kent's advice, sayulita is sweet. If you don't want to get up too early you can wait till the tide is going out and a second break starts up just south of the main break and this second one is a sand break which is a bit easier on your body than the main rock break.

I am planning a second trip down there in october.

Have fun.
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Old 09-03-2006   #6
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 7

mal Pais is a really cool place but if your learning to surf there it can be very difficult to get out past the breaking waves. If your a strong swimmer you will have no problems. I got worked a few times on overhead days and it took me 20 minutes to paddle out beyond were the waves are breaking. Other than that there is no crowds. Stay at the Funky Monkey!
The higher you get........the higher you get!
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Old 09-03-2006   #7
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 39
Costa Rica is always dependable for surf...


If this will be your first time I'd recommend using a longboard until you get things figured out. I suffered for over a year in FL on a board that was too small to float me (just like a 40 gallon playboat won't work for a 200lb person). The second I switched to something larger everything clicked. Start with a big board...if you don't want the long board then a fun shape 7ft or longer would work as well. The waves will be easier to catch and you'll progress more quickly when you get long rides. If you will be renting then perhaps you can switch to 6'6" shortboard once you've got the hang of things. Shortboards will allow you to do a lot more, obviously, and are actually easier to get out on (duck diving) once the surf gets head high and above.

Have fun wherever you choose to go.

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Old 09-03-2006   #8
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 34
Costa Rica is a great place to learn to kayak. And since its the rainy season in November is cheap. Don't worry about the rainy season part either, it clouds up in the late afternoon and rains for an hour or so. Further inland its rains much more as the clouds run into the mountains.

Jaco is about a 3 hour bus ride from San Jose. Its a dirty resort town with really good surf. Maybe a little too good for the first time. Jaco was my first surf and I got one hell of a 10 hour beat down that day in 5'-8' breakers.

Tamarindo is a much nicer town and worth the extra time to get their from San Jose. It's an 8ish hour bus ride or 1 hour flight and half hour cab ride. The surf there is much tamer than than Jaco which bodes well for the beginner.

If you go all the way to Costa Rica, a couple day trip up to Turriabla to run the Rio Pacuare is a must.
"Forever indebt to your priceless advice" -KC
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Old 09-03-2006   #9
I'm wrong 50% of the time
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RFV, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 857
Everyone else has great advice...so consider mine with a grain of salt. Tamagringo CR is a dirty town as well. To much Coke and party to do any good for a newbie surfer. my favorite quote
Local "Coka? Coka?" (in a hushed voice)
Me "no thanks"
Local "$20 for my sister"

If you want good surf in a chill location go with your first choice. Nosara. Actually Guillones is the break, Nosara is the town. Fly to San Jose. Head north to Nosara in a rental car (rent online, take pictures of car before accepting it and have it washed before you take it back). get a palapa at Blue Dogs or the Golden Iguana for a week or so. (across street from eachother and 200 yards from the beach) Rally said rent car up and down coast. last few days drive south on killer dirt road to malpais. stay at bluebird lodge ( great screened cabins up on the hill, $30 night includes desayuno) to leave head across peninsula and take the ferry back to mainland. drive to San Jose/ Alluwela. Charle Browns in Alluwela is good for cheap flop near the airport. Be Stoked. as an asside...buy decent used boards here in the states and take them (20 in a single bag... claim it as 1 board for air transport). try to sell them before you leave unless you are relly attached.
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Old 09-04-2006   #10
Steamboat, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 92
Playa Guiones is gorgeous and a great place to learn how to surf. The Projects is the gringo surf area that's between Esperanza and Nosara, the actual tico towns. If you head for that area which is the closest to the beach, Juan Surfo (claims Surfo is his real last name and looks exactly like Spicolli from Fast Times at Ridgemont High) will be able to give you the best deal on lodging and board rentals in the area. Tell him Brit and Sarah from Colorado sent you and he may cut you a little better deal. Be prepared to pay a little more than you may have heard about Costa Rican prices if you go anywhere on the Pacific coast. I agree that Guiones is the best for learning to surf, with consistent waves and sandy ocean bottom to crash on. I have been to Rincon, PR too and it is the best part of the main island, but the break is on top of a reef and it's difficult to be a first time surfer and have as much success.

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