Going to Surf Camp: Nosara Paddlesurf

A Week at Nosara Paddlesurf

Hello Mother, Hello Father,
Here I am at Camp Nosara (PaddleSurf)

I never got to go to “sleep away” camp when I was a kid. So being here at Nosara Paddlesurf’s weeklong, intensive, total immersion surf camp with Infinity’s Dave Boehne and Anthony Vela is like adult “make up camp. ” Except I’m not writing an impassioned plea for someone to come pick me up. Quite the opposite.

I don’t want to leave.

I’ll just cut to the chase right now

If you have any desire whatsoever to take your paddle surfing to the next level, to progress, or if you have never paddlesurfed but you really want to learn, you must come do this camp.


But if you have an aversion to warm water, beautiful coastlines, amazing people and instructors, plus incredibly good food, (and maybe Taylor Swift music) then this is not the experience for you.

The week typically starts and ends on Saturdays and in between you will do two sessions a day – morning and afternoon. You’ll get instruction in the water from Dave, AV, the camp’s excellent staff instructors, including owner Nate Smieja.  You’ll experience dawn patrols, surf breaks where there is no one else around but your small group from Nosara Paddle Surf, all timed just right according to tides and local conditions. And you’ll get a real feel for what Nosara is all about.

Daily Routine

Once you arrive at Camp, after about a 2.5 hour ride down from the airport in Liberia, you’re checked in by way of an introduction to your fellow campers – during which you’ll learn everyone’ nicknames.  You’ll likely have a beverage thrust into your hand and you know instantly you’re in the right place.

Concierge Angela gives you the lay of the land, and you soon learn that the daily schedule will be posted on the chalkboard next to the fridge.  One thing that becomes apparently after the first day, or maybe the second is that underneath the casual, fun, relaxed atmosphere, there is a well-organized, well-prepared machine that is going to make sure everything runs on time and that your needs are met, both on land and in the water. It’s subtle, very subtle, and it’s part of the reason why Nosara Paddlesurf’s operation is special and unique. With Costa Rica’s relatively consistent conditions, and Nate and his partner and spouse Leyla’s attention to detail, this is THE place to come for not just a paddle surfing experience, but for individualized instruction that will most definitely improve your skills.

Your boards and paddles are taken care of for the entire week, so regardless of if you bring your own or use the camp’s, you never have to think about your gear – except for sunscreen, sunglasses and whatever personal items you need to carry with you. That way, you are focused on just the learning.

On session days, you’ll eat a fantastic breakfast that almost always features fresh homemade juices, and hearty local specialities.  A van picks you up for your session – at a nearby beach break, and here’s where you might have to sing “Shake it Off” with Dave. I was unprepared.  Note to self: study up on your Taylor lyrics for next time.  Boards are waiting for you, all ready to go. After about 90 minutes, you shuttle back to the camp house. Between sessions, there’s time to relax in the pool, eat lunch or take a nap before your individual video review of your morning session with AV or Dave. Then, armed with the notes from your coaches, you’ll do it all over again at a different break in the afternoon. During some afternoons, you can attend a seminar with Dave on board design or on water reading skills, just to name a few.


The camp house is more than comfortable, and located just a short walk away from the beach. On your one off day, you can walk into the main section of town, hang out at the beach, or surf on your own. Or you might never want to leave the camp house, with its pool, lounging areas and always on pot of awesome local coffee. A bodywork session is included, and there’s a yoga room available for guest use.

A week-long session at Nosara Paddlesurf is more than just a tropical vacation with a little SUP thrown in. You are here to learn.  But it doesn’t matter what your level of experience is.  Nate, Dave and AV, plus Andru and Josu are going to make sure you are comfortable and are not in over your head.  Will you get challenged? Of course, otherwise what would be the point, but there’s no better way to do it then with these guys.

I’ll write more about what I learned when my week here is out…but I can tell you right now this is the best thing I have ever done for my paddlesurfing.  And in the best possible place.  I cannot wait to come back!


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