** This is the first article in a series showcasing the most incredible people I’ve met while traveling around Costa Rica for the last 23 years. It will focus on locals and expats who have made a positive change their surf communities.
A hero to me is someone with courage, strength, wisdom, and compassion. Andrea has these qualities and many more. I met her 18 years ago when she was living in Playa Hermosa and still competing on the National Surf Tour. She had been a former champion and was sponsored by Quiksilver.
In Jaco she had started Waves CR surf camp and became an excellent instructor and tour guide. Eventually she moved to Tamarindo with her family and ran the camp from the office in front of the Best Western Vista Villas, a prime location for access to the beginner friendly beaches close by. There she started Surf for Youth – a program for local kids who did not have access to boards or transportation to the beach. The goal was to teach them self esteem, team work, health and fitness, and give them an fun outlet to enjoy nature.
In Tamarindo most Costa Ricans cannot afford to live in Tamarindo and so have to travel 4 km from Villareal to get to the beach. Andrea would arrange transportation, find the kids surfboards to ride, rash guards to wear, and snacks and drinks for before and after the surf session. She did fundraising to organize surf contests for the kids, which eventually led to the Circuito Guanacasteco – six surf contests each year bringing together kids from around the Nicoya Peninsula.
It was a competition with cash and prizes, motivating the kids to practice and stay healthy. It also allowed them to see other parts of the country and meet other kids and socialize in a drug free natural setting. Andrea was instrumental in its success and not only coached the surfers from Tamarindo, but taught them business skills to use for Costa Rica’s surf tourism industry.
She spent some time in Nosara as well, creating the Women’s Surf Retreats hosted by Safari Surf School. Those retreats were tailored to rapidly advance the skills of beginner surfers, while also enjoying the beauty of Playa Guiones. Andrea led classes in the pool on duck diving and breath holding, she gave advice while on the beach and in the water on how to find the best waves to catch, and she always had a smile on her face and guests left with a new lifelong friend.
Now she is hosting her own surf guided trips, still teaching private lessons in Nosara, and is now the lead instructor for the Women’s Surf Camp at Witchs Rock Surf Camp in Tamarindo. They host a one week program each month in 2020 and are guaranteed to sell out quickly. The reason is there are few if any better instructors than Andrea.
I do not know how she has the energy to stay so involved in the community and work simultaneously on her surf business, while raising three awesome kids at the same time. That is why she is one of my Costa Rica surf heroes. If you want to improve your surfing, contact us and we’ll get you set up with Andrea for surf lessons, a guided trip, or a week long retreat.