Surfing: Why you should learn

Surfing is a sport that has mysterious and ancient origins — no one is exactly sure when or where it began, but it is something that has been practiced by humans (for pleasure!) for hundreds of years. Today, surfing is a very popular sport with an estimated following of over 2.7 million people and a multi-billion dollar industry pushing every aspect of surfing to the masses.

Surfing is unlike any other activity or sport in two major ways, in that:

  • It is completely dependent upon the cooperation of nature to produce adequate surfing conditions
  • The “playing field” is in constant motion

It requires skill, physical conditioning, and courage, and is unique because it attracts enthusiasts from all walks of life. Something that surfers of all types seem to agree on is that it is one of the most awesome and amazing activities that you can have the privilege of being able to do in this lifetime.

Why learn to surf

Both surfing and surf culture have a cult-like following that surrounds them. Surfing is one of those activities that people will schedule their day around, plan their travel to include, and even uproot their lives for. But what exactly is it about surfing that puts people under its spell? The reasons themselves are personal to each individual, but here are four of the most common:

  1. It’s really, really addictive, whether you go alone or with a crew, whether you brave the cold or are graced with sunshine and warmth, whether you’re going for to perform or to enjoy, just it hooks you.
  2. It’s great exercise for the whole body, and it doesn’t feel like exercise — enough said.
  3. It challenges you, it never gets old or boring, it makes you confront your fears, and despite at times being difficult, the feeling you get when you make progress is unparalleled.
  4. It connects you with nature in a way that you may not have realized you wanted or even needed, but once you experience it, it has the ability to change your life.

Why surfing is a special activity

Moreover, surfing is for everyone — kids, older adults, working professionals, students, retirees, city dwellers, outdoor enthusiasts, those who are landlocked, those who don’t consider themselves athletic, and even those who don’t know how to swim (while it’s not recommended, it doesn’t stop the truly motivated). For anyone who has ever had an inkling that they wanted to try, we wholeheartedly encourage that you to give it a go.

At Bodhi, we all have different surf backgrounds and levels (some of us have surfed competitively, while others pursue it as a low-key pastime); however, today, all of us share the belief that surfing benefits us most due to reason number four, that it connects us profoundly with our natural world. Much of what we now do at Bodhi Surf + Yoga has developed because of this point, and it is one of the strongest reasons that we want to introduce new people to the lifestyle of surfing; so that they are able to have this incredible experience in nature, and are thus inspired to go above and beyond to protect it.

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Learning to surf at Bodhi

You may have found Bodhi because you want to learn to surf. You may have heard that Costa Rica is a beautiful, clean, and safe country, that the water is warm, and the waves plentiful. You may have researched further and read some testimonials that can attest to the fact that we have have taught many people how to surf over the years, and that there’s something special about the way we do it. The truth is that we have been open to growing, developing, and improving, since our inception in 2010. For that reason, we have put together the best surf and yoga camp, a 7-day intensive camp with a tried and tested surf curriculum that is designed to help you achieve your surf goals.

But the true Bodhi experience is so much more than just about surfing. We are proud to be a surf and yoga camp, and our weekly camps feature an equal number of surf and yoga sessions. Over the years, we have seen just how beneficial surfing and yoga are to one another, both physically and mentally, and especially during the learning process. Yoga provides strength, flexibility, and mental clarity, and allows students to push themselves for a whole week of surfing. It also allows students go deeper — to ruminate on themes of letting go, confront self-doubt and self-imposed limitations, and recruit the strength of the mind. All of these qualities are great to master when learning to surf, and are even better to master for life.

Obstacles to learning to surf

Surfing is one of those activities that, because it is so unique, requires a good teacher. People who try to teach themselves will struggle for years to accomplish what someone with a good teacher can achieve in a week. Most of surfing’s obstacles can be overcome (and in a much quicker timeframe, if you have a good teacher. Unfortunately, there are many bad teachers and countless surf “schools” that will give their clients brief coaching on how to stand up, push them into waves, snap a picture or two, and yet never really teach them any of the fundamentals or provide them with information that is conducive to learning. For these individuals, their surf lesson will neither teach them to surf independently nor successfully.

Here are some of the common obstacles to learning to surf:

  • The conditioning required for surfers is much different than that of practitioners of other activities: swimmers, runners, Crossfitters, etc.
  • Outright fear of, or simply lack of comfort in the ocean and its waves.
  • Lack of opportunity or difficulty of surfing near one’s home is a huge deterrent, whether you live far from the coast or near a beach that is crowded.
  • Time, because whether you’re busy with work, family, or life in general, it’s difficult to make very much progress because of the lack of consistency.
  • Self-doubt, that little niggling voice in the back of your head that says “you’re not going to be able to do this!”

You can learn to stand-up in a day, but the fact is that it takes time to develop into a surfer; attaining knowledge of the ocean and its waves can take hours and hours of time in the water. So really, if you want to learn to surf despite its obstacles, the best tips are to find a good teacher and a good place, and invest a week into learning the fundamentals because after that you'll be hooked!

Benefits of learning to surf in Bahia Ballena

Bahia Ballena, Bodhi Surf + Yoga’s home community, is an unparalleled place to learn how to surf or to sharpen your surfing skills. The local beach where surf lessons occur is within a marine national park, a pristine and clean environment where crowds are very minimal except for during Costa Rican holidays. The topography of the break makes it ideal for learning, practicing, and developing surf skills. One of the most awesome features of this area is that the water is deliciously warm all year round!

At Bodhi, not only are we proficient surfers ourselves, we are also teachers who, between us, have decades of experience, and are highly invested in helping you achieve your surfing goals, regardless of your level. We don’t just want to see you stand up on a board, we want to see you become independent surfers. For that reason, we have designed a surf curriculum that, in just a week, walks our students through the basic knowledge and skills required to get them on a path of progression towards becoming independent surfers, and gives them ample time to practice and repeat. Likewise, for those who already have surf experience, we can help them refine their existing skill set, correct bad habits, and provide them with the tools to continue improving.


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Learn what makes Bodhi different from other surf and yoga camps