Learning To Surf in Playa Samara in Costa Rica

You’re Never Too Old… Right? Writer and Photographer Ben Barnhart goes to this quintessential beach town in search of a cold beer and a palm tree to lie under. Instead, he decides to try his had at surfing one of the most popular spots in Costa Rica for novice and seasoned surfers alike. Bellow is some of what he experienced.

Perfect Place to Surf
“Samara is the perfect place for teaching and learning,” Charlie explains. “There are very few beaches on the west coast with a protective reef like that,” he adds, pointing to a row of volcanic rocks rising out of the ocean a quarter-mile offshore.

“And this is a great, quiet little town,” Foerster continues. “Lots of Costa Ricans come here for holidays and it still has a very local feel.”

Indeed, as dusk falls on Samara the beach becomes the town square. Kids ride bikes along the sandy flats and a fierce local soccer game plays in the fading light while tourists and town-folk gather to watch the day end in a brilliant display of color. The Samaran sunsets are as consistent and gentle as the waves.

“Paddle, paddle, paddle!” Samurio is lying on a surfboard in the sand and demonstrating how to get out to the breakers to catch a wave. “When the wave comes, you need speed!”

Quickly and deftly, Samurio leaps to his feet on the center of the board and strikes a surfing pose. “Now you try,” he says.

Showing the techniques on the beach.
Showing the techniques on the beach.

On my belly with the board beneath me on the sandy beach, I definitely feel like a fish out of water. A few half-hearted breaststrokes and I awkwardly jump into the air and plant my feet trying to remember the technique Samurio has just showed us.

Like a drill sergeant, Samurio walks in front of each board and studies our position. He picks up my board by its nose and, off-center and off-balance, I wobble for a moment then plop into the sand. My first wipeout and we’re not even in the water yet.”

Read more about it on GoNOMAD!